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Manage your backlog with the Kanban board

You can use the Kanban board to view work in progress, who's doing the work, what needs to be done next, and what's been accomplished.

To use the Kanban board, get Visual Studio 2012 Update 2.

  1. If you don't have a backlog yet, create one.

  2. Open your team's backlog page. The product backlog items page shows all items that aren't done. If you don't see a link to the backlog page, you don’t have full access. Either get it, or skip this topic and manage backlog items from the work item query that displays your backlog.

  3. From the backlog, go to the Kanban board. (This is the only way to open the Kanban board. All other board links open the task board, not the Kanban board.)

    Open the Kanban board

    The first column shows 20 backlog items. If you don't see a particular backlog item, it probably isn't in your top 20. (Haven't prioritized your backlog yet? You can find out how here.)

    View of the Kanban board
  4. To change the state of an item, move it into a column associated with that state.

    Move an item to a different column

    Working states vary, depending on your project template. All the examples in this topic are from a Scrum project. Your column titles can also vary.

  5. You can assign an item to someone, or set an estimate.

    Give the item an owner or an estimate
  6. Now try dragging items to the Done column.

    Most recently completed items appear at the top

    This column displays 20 completed items, with the ones you completed most recently at the top.

  7. You can review progress over time by expanding the chart. The cumulative flow diagram (CFD) shows up to 30 weeks of data:

    Open the cumulative flow diagram

    View the cumulative flow diagram

You can change the Kanban board to better reflect how you like to work. For example, you can alter the work in progress limits for a column, add or delete columns, or rename them.

  1. Open the customization dialog.

    Change column limits

    Change the title of a column. For example, you can change the title of the New column to Proposed.

    You can modify the names of the columns
    TipTip

    Tip: Are you not sure what a field means, or what it applies to? There are descriptions, such as Title, on the side. Not all field customizations are available for all columns. For example, there is no WIP limit for the first column, and you cannot change its underlying state from New.

  2. Set a workflow limit by specifying the number of items that can be in a column. For example, change the limit for the Approved column to 10 items.

    Set limits to the number of items in a column

    You can also reorder the columns by moving them to reflect your workflow, or change their associated work item state.

  3. Now let's add a column. You'll need to give it a title and assign it to a corresponding work item state. These states vary, depending on your process template. You can have more than one column with the same underlying work item state.

    Give it a title and assign it to a work item state

    You can also delete columns, as long as there are no work items assigned to that column.

    You can't delete columns with work items
  4. Once you've customized your board, try moving items to those customized columns. When you move too many items into a column, a couple of UI changes alert you. The column title changes color and the number changes, too.

    Change column limits

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