Category Archives: Kanban

Posts related to Kanban. See also Lean.

Updating the look of Board Settings

One final (?) bit of restyling, to make all of Kerika consistent with our new look-and-feel, has been updating the Board Settings dialogs.

Board Settings
Board Settings

The functionality is essentially the same, but the appearance is cleaner, lighter and more in keeping with the Material Design standards we have (mostly) adopted.

(We say “mostly”, because there are some elements of Material Design that we find unattractive.  For example, for the on/off toggle switches we prefer the iOS style buttons.)

Column Settings
Column Settings

The Column Settings dialog has also been restyled, and looks nicer and cleaner. The example above shows a board that uses Work-In-Progress Limits.

Tag Settings
Tag Settings

And the same with Tag Settings: we have a restyled color picker, and better messages for warnings when tag names or colors might clash.

Enjoy.

New feature: alpha sort of cards

At a user’s request, we have added alpha sorting of cards on Task Boards and Scrum Boards:

Sorting alphabetically
Sorting alphabetically

This is most useful if combined with the Auto-Numbering feature in Kerika, that can automatically insert a number at the beginning of each new card: the alpha sort will sort all the cards in the column by their number.

New feature: partial sorting of cards in a column

We have improved the sorting feature for cards on Task Boards and Scrum Boards to allow for partial sorting: if you select some cards within a column and then do a sort, the sorting action will apply only for the selected cards.

Sort options
Sort options

This will make it easier to organize very large boards, e.g. where a single column may contain a hundred cards or more.

New feature: we made it easier to use Card URLs

Every card (and every canvas) on a Task Board or Scrum Board in Kerika has a unique URL, but most of the time you might not notice the URL shown in your browser’s address bar is changing as you open one card after another.

(And if you are using Safari on Macs, you definitely won’t notice this since Safari hides most of the URL anyway.)

These URLs can be helpful in many ways: Kerika recognizes them as pointing to other cards or canvases, and makes these links an easy way to connect up different work items.

Here’s an example of a card URL that’s referenced in a chat message:

Referencing Card URL in Chat
Referencing Card URL in Chat

Any URLs that are included as part of the chat or details of a card, that reference other cards, canvases or boards within Kerika, are automatically recognized and presented as useful links as you can see from the first chat message shown in the above example.

To make it easier to get these card URLs (and to help you notice that they are important in the first place), we have made it possible to grab any card’s URL with a single click:

Card URL button
Card URL button

Clicking on the new Card URL button that appears on the top-right of each card’s detail view makes it possible to see, and copy, the card’s URL with a simple click:

Getting Card URL
Getting Card URL

We have made it easier to grab the URL of an entire board as well, from your Home Page:

Board URL
Board URL

Try this way of creating links between related work items, across all your Kerika boards.

An improvement to Views: eliminating Templates

As one of our users pointed out, Kerika’s ViewsWhat’s Assigned to Me, What Got Done, etc. — shouldn’t include any cards from templates, just regular boards.

People who use templates on a regular basis often pre-assign cards in the template: for example, an employee on-boarding template that involves HR tasks may be preassigned to a specific HR employee.

Our initial implementation of Views included cards from Templates as well, which led to a misleading impression of the amount of work, particularly unscheduled work, that was waiting for a particular person.

That’s fixed now: Views will automatically exclude cards from Templates.

Helping people parachute into projects faster

In many of our customers, we find there are specialists who get pulled into many different projects (boards) at the same time, to do very specific tasks.

An example would be an security specialist who is called in to do a vulnerability assessment on every development effort that’s underway within an IT organization. Or, corporate counsel who are asked to review final drafts of every contract, after everything else about the negotiation has completed.

In all situations it’s important to help new team members come up to speed as quickly as possible, but for situations where people are parachuting in to handle specialist tasks, the motivations are a little different: the specialists often don’t care about every detail of the board — which means they don’t care for most of the cards that are already on the Task Board or Scrum Board.

Instead, they want to quickly see what’s been assigned to them, get these work items done, and (hopefully) get out quickly.

So, how can Kerika help people who parachute into projects in mid-stream? By drawing their attention to what’s expected of them.

Here’s how it works:

When you invite someone to join a board’s team, their status is shown as Pending invitation in the Board Team dialog:

Pending Invitation
Pending Invitation

Kerika lets you pre-assign cards while you are waiting for the new team member to join: in the example above, Dennis could be assigned cards while the team is waiting for him to act upon the invitation.

When Dennis does accept the invitation, the Kerika welcome dialog works to guide him to a fast start in his new project:

Welcome message for invited users
Welcome message for invited users

The welcome dialog starts by giving the new team member a quick overview of the project’s state: how long it’s been going on, how many cards are on the board — and, critically, how many cards are already assigned to the newly arrived team member.

Clicking on the See My Cards button in the welcome dialog provides a fast way for the new user to see what’s expected of him/her in this new project:

Highlighted cards
Highlighted cards

This feature will be especially useful for specialists who are called in to handle specific tasks on many simultaneous projects: they won’t care about all the cards on each board, just what’s assigned to them.

Get in quick, get your work done fast, and then get out again.

Visitors can view chat on public boards

Some of our users are working on open-source, advocacy, or volunteering projects, and for these people privacy is less important than publicity: rather than hide their work, they would prefer to have as many people as possible view it, in real-time, so they can build momentum for their initiatives.

Here’s an example of a public board:

Example of public board
Example of public board

We have always accommodated such users, by offering an Anyone with link option that Board Admins can use to make their boards accessible by anyone who has the URL of that board, even if they aren’t Kerika users:

Making boards public
Making boards public

When a board is made public, all the files attached to and all the chat as well can be viewed by anyone.

As with any other Visitors, members of the public cannot make any changes.

Our latest improvement to this public boards feature has been to make the chat also viewable by anyone who has the URL of the board.

Note: a Board Admin can change their mind at any time, and revert a public board back to one that’s restricted to the board team or account team.

 

Changing the Owner of a Board

People usually don’t pay attention to the question of who owns a particular board, but it is an important question to consider when you create a new board: the Account Owner owns not just the board, but also all the files attached to cards and canvases on that board.

This is not always important (and often not important in day-to-day use of Kerika): our deep integration with Google and Box ensures that everyone who is part of the board team has automatic access to all the files needed for that board, with access permissions managed according to each individual’s role on the board: Board Admins and Team Members get read+write access; Visitors get read-only access.

(And, as people join or leave board teams, or their roles on a particular board’s team changes, Kerika automatically manages their access to the underlying project files, regardless of whether these are being stored in Google or Box.)

But when someone is planning to leave an organization, the question of ownership can suddenly become important: you don’t want an ex-employee to continue to own critical project files.

Changing ownership of boards was not something that was easily done in the past — there were workarounds, but they were fairly cumbersome and obscure — and we mostly handled these as special requests, on a case-by-case basis.

With our newest update to Kerika, this is no longer the case: changing the ownership of a board is a simple process that can be initiated at any time by the current owner of a board:

Change Board Owner
Change Board Owner

You can ask any other Kerika user, who has signed up the same way as you did (i.e. either as Kerika+Google, Kerika+Box, or by directly signing up) to take ownership of a board. Because this is a consequential action, not something you should rush into, you are asked to confirm your intention by typing the word “YES”:

Confirming change in ownership
Confirming change in ownership

Once your request is sent off to the other user, the board is in a frozen state: existing members of the board team can continue to view the board, but no one can make any changes:

Board waiting for new owner
Board waiting for new owner
Board frozen while waiting for new owner
Board frozen while waiting for new owner

If you change your mind, you can cancel the request before it has been accepted.  This can be done by selecting the board from your Home Page:

Cancel ownership request
Cancel ownership request

You can also find your pending request in your Sentbox, and cancel it from there:

Cancelling pending request
Cancelling pending request

Note: once a board’s transfer is complete, it can’t be undone by you. If you really need to get ownership back of a board, you will need to ask the new owner to transfer the board to you.

An important caveat for Kerika+Google users

We try to ensure that files attached to a Kerika+Google board have their ownership changed at the same time as the board itself is transferred, but there are some limits to how Google will allow for a change in ownership:

All Kerika-related files are stored in a set of folders in a user’s Google Drive, organized by account and board.

Google let’s us change the owner of a folder, so we can make sure that when a board is transferred the ownership of the associated Google Drive folder is also changed.

However, for the individual files contained within the folder, Google only allows for a change of ownership of files that are part of Google Docs: documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, etc.

Files like images (.jpg, .png, .gif), zip files, and PDFs, for example, retain their old ownership between the Google API doesn’t let Kerika change the ownership of these “non-Google-formatted” file types.