Welcome to the second installment of Deviniti Guide to Jira – a series of articles that provide you with everything you need to know about this software. If you’ve missed our previous post in this series, have a look here for the basic glossary of Jira concepts. Today, we take a closer look at Jira Software and bring you the second part of our basic terms glossary to help you get familiar with Jira and see what kind of benefits it may bring to your organization.
Let’s start with Kanban itself.
What is Kanban? Kanban is basically a system for visualizing the workflow of the team geared at limiting its work in progress. Thanks to Kanban, teams can reduce waste and concentrate on delivering top customer value. Kanban workflow is usually represented as a board. You can create a Kanban board from the corresponding preset in Jira Software. Kanban boards are just perfect for teams that need to reduce the amount of work in progress.
On such a board, tasks are never planned in advance using specific time periods or versions. That’s why these boards are visible in Jira Software in Work mode, but not in Plan mode.
When to use a Kanban board? Many agile teams use Kanban for fixing bugs or maintaining releases, where they triage incoming tasks and then work on them according to their priority. Once there are enough completed tasks that constitute a value, teams can release a minor version. Boards also come in handy to DevOps or agile delivery teams that decide when a project is done and deliver value directly to customers.
So what exactly you can do on Kanban? Here are the basic functionalities of every Kanban board:
- Visualize your workflow to see what the team is currently working on;
- Limit work in progress by specifying column constraints to boost your cycle time. Your team will know when a restriction was breached and then take action;
- Make sure that your team works on issues – all it takes is for a team member to choose the highest ranking issue in the To Do column and drag it in the In Progress column. When the issue is completed, it can be dragged to the Done column;
- Measure your cycle time – this term refers to the amount of time it takes your team to complete an issue. If you’d like to see that metric for a particular board, simply go to that board and select Reports. The Control Chart will show you your cycle time. You can filter it to see how long an issue spent in a particular status (for example To Do or In Progress) on average.
By using Kanban boards, you can limit the work in progress to reduce waste, foster a better workflow across the board, and deliver value to customers faster.
Scrum is a part of the Agile development methodology, where teams complete their work iteratively over a number of time-constrained periods called sprints.
Scrum is a framework that helps project managers organize a team’s work by breaking their project into tasks which are to be completed within sprints. Project managers can easily track progress and plan each day in a short stand-up meeting called daily Scrum.
Scrum is an integral part of the agile methodology, which we examined on multiple occasions. For example, check out this post to see what the Agile approach in business looks like and why you should get interested in it.
So what’s the difference between a Kanban board and a Scrum board? A Scrum board is a board teams use to plan their work in time intervals known as sprints (more about these later on). You can create both Kanban and Scrum boards in Jira.
A sprint is part of Scrum, and it refers to an iteration (usually 2 to 4 weeks long) during which the development team implements and delivers product increments.
You can plan sprints in Jira Software efficiently. All it takes is going to your board in Plan mode to create a sprint, choose the issues, and initiate the sprint when you’re ready. Then you switch to the Work mode, where you can resolve issues and complete the sprints. Finally, you can overview the completed sprints in the Sprint Retrospective Report.
An Epic is a more extensive user story that captures a broader body of work. It can be broken down into a number of smaller stories. Since it’s a large piece of work, it may take your team several Sprints to complete a single Epic.
Epics come in handy because they offer teams an extra measure of hierarchy in story management, helping in planning guidance for groups of issues inside your projects. Product Managers and Scrum Masters can measure important groups of issues that are all related to one another by one common theme.
A user story (known simply as a Story) is a requirement of a software system expressed in a couple of short sentences, ideally in non-technical language. In Jira Software, a Story is represented as an issue that contains sub-tasks which are part of the Story.
A Story is basically something the user wants to be part of a software system. Writing down user stories allows teams to organize their work according to well-defined priorities.
We hope the second installment of our glossary helps you improve your work with Jira and take your teams to the next level.
One of the essential tasks in teams that work with Jira is issue creation. If your team needs to create a lot of issues that are similar to one another, it makes sense that you provide them with Issue Templates. Our app allows to create templates for issues and their related sub-tasks, and even Epic templates that contain Stories to make your team even more productive. Check out Issue Templates for Jira in a free 30-day trial and experience its possibilities yourself.