In Kanban, how can we break down work? Lets say we have a task of setting up a new server. To do so it requires some investigation, a purchase, physical mounting, configuring the software etc.

When placing this task in a Kanban, how do we handle the sub-tasks of the main task? Should we divide the big task into many small tasks and drag those through the system or should we just keep the big one (with no subtasks) and drag that through the system?

  • Who does these different steps? Will the team with the workflow represented on the board be doing all of these or are there multiple teams involved? Also, how different are the subtasks at different types of work? Are these really subtasks or steps in the workflow?
    – Thomas Owens
    Nov 4, 2021 at 12:26
  • @ThomasOwens The same team will do all of the tasks, but one team member will do sub-task A and another sub-task B. They are more sub-tasks than workflow, as we do not only setup servers. We are a testing team that builds and configures tests systems for different reasons, performs testing, writing test cases, handles bugs etc.
    – Michael
    Nov 5, 2021 at 12:31

1 Answer 1


In Kanban, how can we break down work?

You first need to answer

In Kanban, why do I break down work?

Is there any specific reasons to break down the work? How would this help your team?

Then, for each reason, you might want to answer:

  1. How can I restructure my Kanban so that I can cope with this problem?
  2. Can I address this specific problem instead of work around it?

As a side note, the approach might slightly diverge if you're using a physical Kanban or a Virtual one.

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