How we structure a Kanban board to help ourselves facilitating Holacracy tactical meetings
A Kanban board is an agile project management tool designed to help visualize work, limit work-in-progress, and maximize output. Kanban boards use cards, columns and light workflows to help teams commit to the right amount of work, and get it done!
Holacracy is a system of organizational structures, with a decentralized organization in individuals who do not have qualified positions and with decision-making authority and distribution among a self-organized team.
A “Circle” is a Role that may further break itself down by defining its own contained Roles to achieve its Purpose, control its Domains, and enact its Accountabilities. Circles have recurrent "projects/activities".
We started to engage in holacracy this year and we lead our projects in a agile way. When you talk about recurrent activities to follow up to an agilist the first idea that pops into his/her mind is "kanban!". So the question arises, how to use kanban to follow the activity of a circle? And how to introduce the kanban review during an holacracy tactical meeting?
How we structure Kanban boards to follow our Holacracy circles activity.
We use a basic kanban on Trello to which we added a couple columns. Now it looks like this:
Let's describe how we use the columns in our weekly tactical meeting :
Recurring: after the check-in, every tactical meeting has a checklist and measures review. We put tickets for recurrent tasks and measures in a "recurring" column in which tickets are semi-permanent and regularly updated. Some examples are: make resumes, benchmark one competitor, social media statistics, sales report, etc.
Picked up: This columns starts working when the tickets on Ideas are assigned to people, and it means assigned members take the responsibility of the action, they fully know how to do it, and they engage to start it during the next week
Ongoing: After a ticket is picked up, the persons assigned to it moves it to ongoing when it is actually being done.
Done?: After the work on the task is done the ticket is moved to this column. Why the question mark? Because the task will be reviewed by other people to share their opinions, submitted to a Definition of Done checklist, or wait for an external reaction. This will determine if it is really done or if it should go back to ongoing.
Done!: Once the action in the ticket are completely finished and verified they will land in this column. Time to celebrate! Btw, we should probably celebrate more.
Tensions: During the week (or during the first phases of the meeting) people put their tensions or ideas in this column assigning it to themselves. During the "triage tensions" step each ticket is assessed, refined, dismissed or accepted and added to "Ideas", perhaps with some new assignment. At the end of the triage step the column is empty.
Ideas: Here we put tickets that were previously on Tensions. It corresponds to the classical "backlog" column. At the end of the "project update" step we quickly review every ticket here to see if some of them can be picked up for the next week. We don't mind having lots of "Ideas", they give us a good perspective of what we can do in the middle term.
All in all, we think this mapping is really natural for people used to kanbans and it helps us to clearly visualize the work we are doing and effectively manage our circles activities.
Do you also use kanbans for circle activities? If not, why? How do you do it instead? If yes, do you do it differently?