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Sam Swinton
Sam Swinton

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Kanban: The End Of Status Updates

The Problem.

There are stakeholders who ask for status updates in every tech project. Whether they are managers, project managers, or investors, someone always wants an answer to the question: "Where are we now with this project?" The common solution is to get everyone together at the same time to discuss the project status, sometimes known as a "status update meeting".

Why are status update meetings a problem? If the project's developers are in a meeting then they are not writing any code. However, the various stakeholders can have good reasons to want to know the status of an ongoing project. Any solution to this problem must balance stakeholder concerns with maximizing development speed.

The Solution.

The kanban board is an effective solution to status reporting that removes the need for a status update meetings entirely. The general idea of a kanban board is to always have an accurate summary of the current status of the project.. Therefore, if a team has a kanban board, then status may be communicated through the board rather than in a meeting.

A basic Kanban board will organize all project tasks into three categories: To Do, Doing, and Done. Every time a developer starts or finishes a new task, they will update the board to reflect this status change. If a stakeholder wants to know the big-picture status of the project at any point in time then they only need to look at the board.

Example Kanban Board

Kanboard boards can be physical or virtual. Many ticket tracking software solutions have built-in kanban boards that update automatically to reflect the status of the corresponding task ticket. Does your team's software not have this feature? No problem! A kanban board can be as simple as putting stickey notes up on the wall of an office!

After you adopt a kanban board, please resist the urge to have daily status meetings where everyone reads the kanban board together! This practice is still a status meeting and eliminates all the benefit that a kanban board can provide while adding the extra work of building and maintaining a kanban board.

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