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Using SmartView - Part III

In my last two posts we discussed the basics of SmartView and how to start using the Story Map and creating releases.

With the releases in place it is time to start working on the Backlog and the Kanban Board to view and manage our workflow.

Populating the Backlog

Now that we have the stories assigned to releases it is time to start working on them. To do so we need to assign stories to the Backlog.

The Backlog is the entrance port to the Kanban Board and contains the stories that have been chosen to start working on immediately.

To move a User Story to the Backlog you can open the Backlog and drag and drop the story into it, or using the story menu you can click on the icon to send it directly.

Here we see the Backlog with two of the stories already assigned:

Kanban workflow

The Kanban Board helps us model the workflow you and your team use to visualize the status and progress of the current stories.

The first step is to make sure the board reflects the workflow your team uses for software development. Once we model reality then we can focus on how to improve it.

The Kanban Board comes with three phases by default: Ready, Working and Review.

In order to customize your Kanban Board, from the menu access Settings and choose Process to access the Kanban Board workflow.

Backlog represents the input queue of the stories to start working on and cannot be modified.

Done represents the phase of stories that are completed (completely done, deployed, etc.) and cannot be modified.

All the other phases can be removed, renamed, etc. For this example, I am going to use the workflow that my team uses: Analysis, Working, Review and Deploy.

The final workflow looks like this (I will ignore WIP limits and capacity for now—we will discuss them in the next post in this series):

Using the board

With the new phases in place using the Kanban Board is just a matter of moving the stories between phases (by dragging and dropping) to show that the story is being worked on and is closer to being completed (or, in our case, deployed).

Here we see one story left in the Backlog, one in Analysis and one in Working.

Assigning work

All the team members are listed on the Kanban Board. You can see the default people icon with a random colour or the picture of the teammate if he chooses to change his profile picture. I do recommend changing profile pictures as soon as possible since it is much easier to identify members of the team with pictures than with just a generic icon.

To assign a story to a team member we can drag and drop the team member into the story. The member will appear assigned to the story in the top right corner.

Following the progress

When a User Story is changed from one phase to another the status is reflected in the Story Map as well, so it is easy to identify which stories are being worked on and what the progress is.

The stories that are assigned to the Backlog will show the Backlog icon.

The stories that are being worked on show a series of small squares that represent the phases of the Kanban Board (other than Done and Backlog). For each complete phase a green square is shown.

The stories that are completed (done) show a green check mark .

What’s next?

In the next post in the series we will explore how to define the WIP (work in progress) for the board, discuss capacity and take a look at metrics.

In the meantime feel free to take advantage of the interactive guides that come with SmartView to learn, in a series of steps, all the other functionalities that the application has to offer.

To access the Guides just move your mouse to the bottom left corner and click the icon inside the orange speech bubble.