Category Archives: Kanban & Lean

Posts related to Kanban and Lean methodology.

How to manage a Grant Pipeline for Nonprofits

A large number of our users are from small nonprofits (and they get free use of Kerika under our Academic & Nonprofit Plan!) and to help these folks manage their grant pipeline better we have create a new template that’s available to everyone:

Screenshot showing Grant Pipeline template
Click to view this template

This simple, yet very flexible, template lets your nonprofit team track all the grant opportunities that are out there, and make sure they get attended to as they go through the process: Prospect → Qualified Lead → Prepare Grant Application → Await Response.

As the possible grants move through the process, for each opportunity you need to track at least this information:

  1. Name and contact details for donor.
  2. Organization (include specific department or program office if you are dealing with a foundation).
  3. Key motivations: what’s the donor’s known mission, and how does your nonprofit fit within that vision.
  4. Likelihood of donation: this is something that you update as the task moves through the process.
  5. Pitch process: smaller donors may have an information process, but larger donors are likely to have intermediaries like foundations or family offices that have a specific process they like to follow before they will commit to a donation. Make sure you follow their process!
  6. Expected Date: when you think the donor might make a decision.
  7. Fiscal Year: which fiscal year the grant will come in, for your nonprofit.

Not all of this will be available in the Prospect stage, but it needs to be gathered in the Qualified Lead stage for sure: otherwise, your lead isn’t really qualified, and you are not going to be in a good position to win that grant.

Creating this, and other templates for nonprofits, are all part of our “social good” mission.

Check it out and let us know if we can improve it.

How to organize a Campaign Photoshoot

We have a new template for folks that need to organize a marketing campaign photoshoot, or any other professional business photoshoot:

Screenshot showing the Campaign Photoshoot template
Click to view the template

The template contains a step-by-step guide, with each task laid out as a separate card on a Task Board. Here’s an example of a task:

Screenshot showing an example task from this template
Example Task

As you can see, this template contains not just a list of tasks, but also useful links for folks who are doing this for the first time.

Cards also contain a checklist of subtasks, where appropriate:

Screenshot showing the checklist of subtasks
Example Checklist

Check this out, and let us know if it needs improving!

Some improvements for Task Auto-Numbering

We got feedback from some users after our last big release on how we could improve the user experience for folks who like to use the auto-numbering feature for Task Boards, and we have made these changes:

When you open a task, it’s number is shown (but can’t, of course, be edited)

Screenshot showing the Task Details dialog with numbering turned on
Editing a Numbered Task

You can now search for a numbered task simply by typing “#number” in the Search box

Screenshot showing how search by task number works
Search by Number

A more space-efficient layout for Task Boards

We have redesigned the Task/Card details dialog to provide a more space-efficient layout, so you can see more of what you need without having to scroll:

Screenshot showing the Task Details dialog
Task Details

What used to be vertical tabs for Details, Chat, etc., is now a compact horizontal tab; this frees up a lot of space to see the details of the tags.

The other big change we made is to make the Priority setting separate from other Tags:

Screenshot highlighting position of Task Priority field
Task Priority flag

Clicking on the star will bring up your task priority options:

Screenshot showing possible values for Task Priority
Task Priority

Moving entire columns of tasks (cards)

We have added a new function to let Board Admins and Team Members move an entire column of tasks (cards) with a single action, within a single board or across multiple boards in the same account.

The function can be accessed by from the  menu that appears as a pop-up when you click on the dots on the top of each column, as well as when you use the right-click mouse action on any cards:

Screenshot showing the Task Options menu
Move entire column

If you choose the Move to another column action, a pop-up dialog appears that lets you choose the column you want to move these cards to:

Screenshot showing the Move to Another Column dialog
Move to another column

If you choose the Move to another board action, a new dialog appears that lets you choose the board where you want these tasks to go to:

Screenshot showing moving cards from one board to another
Move to another board

After selecting a destination board, you can then pick the exact location of the column you are moving, relative to the columns that are already on that board.

And, as you can see, from the screenshot, you are also able to move columns from boards in one account to another account where you are also an Account Member.

We are moving away from Scrum Boards

We are transitioning our Scrum Board users to Task Boards: the Scrum Boards are used only by a tiny portion of our user base, who overwhelmingly prefer using Task Boards and Whiteboards.

Background

For many years now we have offered both Task Boards and Scrum Boards, but the relative popularity (and implied usefulness) of these two are lopsidedly in favor of Task Boards.

The main difference between Task Boards and Scrum Boards has been the use of a shared Backlog: a column of cards that can be shared by several Scrum Boards at the same time.

In Scrum Boards, the Backlog appeared fixed in the leftmost column of the board, and like Done and Trash, it couldn’t be be moved, renamed or deleted.

The Backlog was “live” all the time in the sense that any change made by one attached Scrum Board to the Backlog was immediately reflected in every other Scrum Board that was attached to the same Backlog. If Scrum Board A added a card to a shared Backlog, it immediately showed up in the Backlog column when viewed by Scrum Board B and Scrum Board C.

The Problem

This wasn’t a good way to implement Scrum Boards, as we found out ourselves during our internal use of these boards. It’s principle weakness was it led to a proliferation of Scrum Boards, since each Sprint required a new Backlog. (Our own development team is currently on Sprint 180 so we experienced this proliferation early on.)

We though the general feature in Kerika that lets accounts archive old boards would help, but this just pushed the proliferation problem to another area; it didn’t really fix it.

The Solution

We are just going to have Task Boards (and Whiteboards) from now on. At some point in the future we may completely rethink, redesign, and rebuild a new kind of scrum boards, but it doesn’t make sense for us to continue offering the current version.

As a consequence, all existing Scrum Boards will be converted into Task Boards. Here’s how that would work:

Consider an existing set of boards that all use the same shared Backlog: Board A, Board B, and Board C.

Right now all three boards see the same Backlog, at the same time: if cards are added or moved away from the shared Backlog by any board, this view is immediately updated for all three boards.

When we transform Scrum Boards to Task Boards, each of Boards A, B, and C will have its own local copy of the Backlog.

From this point on, any changes made by any of these boards to their local copies of the Backlog will not affect the copies that were made for the other boards. Each board, then, becomes independent and can proceed on its own path, without affecting any other board since there is no longer a shared column of cards.

Questions?

We have already been in touch with active users of Scrum Boards and have not heard any concerns from them about this proposed change, so we are confident that we are making the right decision. If you do have any questions, please contact us at support@kerika.com.