Your Guide to Using Scrum and Kanban Jira Boards

by Jasmin Iordanidis, Product Marketing Manager

30 May 2021

Project management has many moving parts, and team collaboration and integration of these moving parts is quite challenging. Without intuitive software to guide projects, managers and team members can easily end up shaking their heads in utter confusion.

Software development and other project management teams need all the help they can get when managing these complex projects. Enter the Jira board.

Before we delve deeper into the Jira board, please understand that the topics we cover are just the tip of the iceberg. But unlike the Titanic, there is no room for disasters here — only streamlining your successes!

In this article, we'll cover what Jira boards are, how to create, configure, and navigate the boards, and how to approach reporting, project sidebars, the cross-project board, and using the Scrum and Kanban backlogs.

Adopting Jira boards increases productivity, promotes teamwork, and improves the overall management of any Scrum or Kanban project.

With this kind of support, it's easy to produce outstanding outcomes.

Overview of Jira boards

The Jira board is an Atlassian creation that has become the go-to tool for team collaboration. Jira boards are versatile and practical, allowing teams to streamline their WIP limits and optimize their workflow.

Teams welcome software like Jira to help them control the iterative nature of their projects. The upshot is that project teams deliver high-quality work and exceed customer expectations. Not bad, right?

Anyone can create and use either the Scrum or Kanban Jira board to support their agile methodology and manage iterative, constraining work-in-progress, and monitoring of project processes for optimum value-driven outcomes.

There are two Jira boards: one for each of the Scrum and Kanban agile methodologies. Each software automation board provides an overview of the project, making it easy to see a status snapshot of the work in progress.

Scrum teams work in sprints where individuals must complete tasks in realistic timeframes. Team members capture all backlogs, sprints, and reports on their boards, making work collaboration and integration more straightforward.

Similarly, teams using the Kanban agile methodology get to experience the benefits of Jira boards and reduce their amount of work. Kanban boards also focus primarily on the backlog and reporting functions.

But the difference between the boards for these agile methodologies is that Scrum highlights iterative work, and Kanban focuses on the workflow, which means managing the workload through work constraints.

Navigating the Scrum and Kanban Jira boards

A Jira board shows everything you need to know about a software project. You need a board to track team software activities and collaborate accountably. As any team member knows, this is the backbone of working well together.

In case it isn’t yet clear, these boards help you achieve those goals.

Both these methodologies work for Jira boards, whether your focus is on sprints or constraining the current work.

If you select Kanban for your project, you must enable the backlog feature. Whichever methodology your team prefers, you can use the issue detail view to determine progress immediately and enhance functionality.

Let’s take a look at what the Jira board offers.

1. Jira software board creation

Once you start a project, the software creates a Jira board template automatically. You will need to activate the “Create Shared Objects” feature to allow access to the new board. Alternatively, you can use the 'View All Boards' feature to copy an existing board.

You don’t need to adjust sharing permissions for an existing project board, as the software automatically creates a board for a new project. Once you create your new project, you add the relevant team members to the Jira board.

You also don’t need sharing permission if you copy a board, as all the original users can automatically access the copy until you make changes in line with permission parameters.

However, you’ll use the same issue filter when copying an existing board. You will be the board's administrator, but you may want to select a new filter, as you can't change the original one. Additionally, you can create custom fields to sync with project requirements.

Remember — choose one methodology before you create a board, as it is not possible to switch after starting a new project.

After creating a board, you can share the link with the team, which you will find under the “View All Boards” tab. Best of all, you save all your projects in the Jira software cloud, lowering overall project risks and saving space.

2. Board configuration

Configuration allows you to express your creativity in new and practical ways that benefit the overall project. Only Jira or board administrators can configure Jira boards.

You get to customize the board to align with project outcomes, and you have several configuration options to meet your goals.

You can literally configure everything on the Jira board, from the filters to the ranking, columns, swimlanes, issue detail view, and other elements. This is your chance to shine as you use the tool to express your creative side.

Have fun mapping the workflow on the board. Keep track of statuses, and use color to enhance the board’s readability so everyone on the team can see what they need to do and when. Plus, board configuration is intuitive, making it enjoyable to use this software.

3. Using the Scrum backlog

In the backlog, you have two sections — the sprints and the backlog. You can create issues and keep these current or delete them when complete.

Because Jira is user-friendly, you can drag and drop any issue into rankings, sprints, organizing stories into epics, or anywhere else you wish to assign them.

Only specific issues are visible in this section. For instance, issues such as sub-tasks or those that sync with a saved filter are visible. But if you map the status of all the issues to a specific column such as a Done column, they won’t be visible in this section.

When planning a backlog, note that various functions have different permission requirements. Only project administrators can initiate sprints, for example, but they can grant permissions to others.

4. Active sprints

The Scrum board uses active sprints, whereas Kanban uses a “monitoring work” feature. Active sprints on the Scrum board deal with current teamwork iterations. As with the planning mode, administrators can manage issues, dragging and dropping them into the workflow or elsewhere as necessary.

These boards update twice every minute, and the same concept applies as in the plan mode. Some issues on the active sprints will be visible, and others will be invisible. Software developers should be able to figure out the differences quickly, since they deal with this kind of thing regularly.

Again, this part of the Jira board is comprehensive. active sprints allow you to generate and move issues to different columns. Managing active sprints keeps the project current and informs team members of the status of each issue, whether in transition, flagged, or if there is a change in its ranking.

5. Getting familiar with the Kanban backlog

Image credit: Atlassian

Remember that the Kanban backlog is only accessible when the software administrator enables this feature for an assignee.

A small number of issues are easy to manage in this section, but as these increase, it becomes more challenging to address them. This excess volume of issues is a nightmare without software, but you can escape this drama with ease. Easy Agile has a suite of products aimed at helping you manage project issues.

Administrators can create and plan their Kanban project as they want by moving the issues to the hidden Versions section or Epics in the expanded panel. You can also move issues between this section and the “Selected for Development” areas per planning requirements.

Like Scrum, some project board issues in Kanban will be visible or invisible. Visibility and invisibility of issues primarily depend on filter, issue matches, and this section's status.

Team members can concentrate their efforts on their current work separate from the planning section to avoid distraction. The separation of these elements helps team members to focus on issues that need immediate attention.

But none of this information should come as a surprise, as Atlassian has invested more than a decade into developing precision software to make your job much easier.

6. Kanban monitoring

Instead of active sprints, Kanban monitors project progress on its principle of continuous delivery. The project administrator tracks tasks and works in progress to ensure that team members stay in control of their software development.

Use this board if your team focuses on managing and constraining work-in-progress.

Many other actions are possible on this project board, including estimating stories (this is one of the really fun parts), user stories, creating sub-tasks, filtering, releasing, and hiding issues.

As team members complete tasks, the administrator pulls new ones from the work in progress section to constrain pressure and support quality deliveries.

Like active sprints, the administrator can prioritize and rank issues for their Kanban project.

The Kanban software administrator can also maintain complete control over a board or allow specific permissions for editing, as with the other board.

Ultimately, the Kanban board presents a bird’s eye view of the project in progress, allowing for close monitoring of issues at any point.

As hinted at earlier, little of the project board’s potential can be explained in one article. If you want to upskill yourself on this software, many sources can help you achieve your goal.

7. Reporting

One of the most fundamental aspects of projects is reporting (as y’all should know). Luckily, Atlassian allows for a comprehensive reporting function on Jira boards for both Scrum and Kanban.

Some of the Scrum reports include the burndown, burnup, and sprint charts. You will also find control charts, epic reports, the cumulative flow diagram, velocity chart, and a version report available, among others.

Kanban reporting features encompass the control chart and the cumulative flow diagram.

Additional general reports like the recently created issues report, time tracking report, and many others are available for general issue analyses.

The change log and status report are available in Confluence if you connect your Jira software to other programs.

As you can see, reporting is an inherent feature of the Jira board, which helps you connect with and inform everyone of a project position at any point.

8. Using the project sidebar

The project sidebar on the top-right of the board is your go-to section for everything about your project.

Select any tab in the project’s sidebar to view the backlog, reports, or anything relating to the current project. You can view most project details from this starting point, including epics, stories, issues, and more specifics.

Get familiar with the instant filter in the backlog to search for issues with a search term such as “issue type” or “issue key.”

A quick filter is also available to narrow your search for software work items that you are handling, including WIP limits, use cases, and more, adding to the overall versatility of the Jira board.

It should be clear by now that these boards are as creative and versatile as any project team — take advantage of the opportunity to up the ante.

9. The cross-project board

A Jira board may include access to a software project add-on that does not work with Jira software. Either methodology board might also have multiple projects.

When you see additional projects linked to a software board, you can navigate to the one that interests you. Select the project header and choose the cross-project tab, which will enable you to view project details in the sidebar.

Alternatively, you can navigate to a cross-project from the top-right board header. Using this option means that you won’t see details since the program cannot read project info from this perspective.

Adopting the Jira board: A new world of possibilities

If you’re looking at improving team collaboration, project software integration, and management, the Jira board offers a new world of possibilities.

When you want your team to master a popular agile methodology, the Jira board promotes learning and productivity, whether you opt to use Kanban or Scrum.

If you want to become an expert in Atlassian Jira software boards, take your projects to a new level with Easy Agile apps for Jira.

Easy Agile apps such as the User Story Maps, Roadmaps, and Easy Agile Programs make it practical and simple to engage with Jira boards by offering flexible and collaborative solutions.

Software developers also get the benefit behind years of developing these apps to support the creation of quality solutions for their clients.

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