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Your org goes agile.

You decide to make every process explicit. My understanding is that each process is a kanban board. One organization will have many processes and thus have many boards with work flowing through.

I am trying to map teams to processes (boards) and determine which is higher in the hierarchy.

Does each team own a set of boards (e.g. processes)? This means each team is autonomous, capable of managing and burning down its own backlog.

The alternative is that one board needs serviced by members from multiple teams.

In the first case processes have to be segmented according to team boundaries. In the latter ownership of the process (board) becomes vague. When there's no clear owner responsibility is less likely to be taken.

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Why not both?

Most decent Kanban softwares (e.g. Jira) will allow you to separate boards so that you can have one task appearing on multiple boards.

Thus, each team has its own board, and then you can combine them into an 'overview board'.

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Ideally, each team should have one Kanban board, with multiple swim lanes representing each process they support (or each service they provide) - for example, New feature development, maintenance, support, etc. in the case of a software team.

Professional Kanban tools such as SwiftKanban, Kanbanize and Leankit provide support for multiple swim-lanes, with each having its own unique process. This way it makes it far easier for them to manage their work and provide visibility to their stakeholders.

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You can then combine complex/ multi-team processes with a "portfolio kanban" board that combines the work done by these teams into a single value stream at a higher level, where each column represents the work done by one of these teams.

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You can imagine that each column on the higher board can be exploded into its own board, with each card at the higher level expanding into multiple cards at the lower level.

If you'd like to take a look at a guide on how to design your initial Kanban board(s), there is a decent guide available on our website here. One of the best-known techniques it references is the STATIK - or Systems Thinking Approach to Implementing Kanban, which was originally coined by David Anderson and written about in detail by Mieke Burrows in his book "Kanban from the Inside".

Ultimately, of course, Kanban is all about experimentation, feedback loops, and improvement - so no one way is best!

  • Is this spam? It looks like spam. – Adriano Jul 18 at 0:50
  • Why do you think it is spam? – Mahesh Singh Jul 18 at 5:12
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    Strikes me as a potentially helpful answer with links to different tools as examples. As links to tools can get stale, it may be worthwhile to remove the links and simply mention that some modern tools offer those capabilities. – Mark Phillips Jul 18 at 12:57
  • Thanks, Mark - appreciate your feedback - will edit as you suggested. – Mahesh Singh Jul 18 at 17:21

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