In our team we are working with system integration testing only. This means that we don't have any development tasks, just testing tasks and tasks related to preparing our heavy systems for test.

We are looking into if Kanban is a good process for us, we think so. But we often have chains of tasks, for instance revert system X to previous version, then upgrade to current version, then backup the system, then perform some test.

Can such chains of tasks be handled in Kanban, and how if so? Is there a way to indicate the relations of those items in the Kanban board?

  • Did you see this: de.slideshare.net/ddegrandis/bay-lisadec2012? If your related tasks are (usually) similar to each test item, use the tasks as swim lanes and the test items as "tasks".
    – Tob
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 4:38
  • No, I did not see that before. But it is an interesting idea: To drag the system through different tasks, rather than dragging tasks through different systems! I wonder how it can be combined with tasks that are more specific and only occurs one time.
    – Michael
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 20:10
  • You could use a default swim lane 2nd row on the board. I am interested to hear how it worked out...
    – Tob
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 20:13
  • Tobias: Maybe put that in as an answer and bulk it out a bit more.
    – Daniel
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 13:55

2 Answers 2


There are various ways of chaining tasks in Kanban. Assuming you are using a whiteboard and sticky notes, then two popular ways are:

  1. Annotate each task with the names of tasks on which it is dependent and that depend on it. When picking a task, first you check that those upon which it is dependent are already done.
  2. Stack the tasks; literally stick dependent tasks one on top of the other, in the order in which they are to be tackled (top one being the first to be worked on).

If you are using a software Kanban board, then it becomes a case of investigating its features to see if it supports anything like the above.


We use the concept of a "To-do" list behind each card on the Kanban board. Each item in the "to-do" list represents a step in the execution of the card. Each to-do can be linked to a specific Board column to make it easier for team members to understand what is the expected work to be done in each column.

If you want to get even more organized, you could have different color cards for different work-types - and have a templatized to-do list for each card-type.

The board swim-lane organization really depends on your business and how many products/ apps you are working with. It may be by product or by customer or by class of service, which is critical when you are committing to specific SLAs for different customers. So, my personal preference is not to organize the Kanban board by tasks/ task-types. If you are collecting lane-wise metrics, much better to organize lanes by 'business-relevant' factors.

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