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I am using kanban methodology with the board in the below state.

TO DO DOING BLOCKERS DONE
Task4 Task3 Task2 Task1
Task5

Once Task2 is unblocked: Should I create another column 'UNBLOCKED' so once I have completed task3 I can pick up from there instead of from the 'TO DO' queue? What would be the best way of managing this unblocking of task2?

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  • Assuming the To Do list is in priority order, couldn't you just move task2 to the top of the To Do list? Feb 5, 2023 at 22:55

2 Answers 2

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Different tools offer different ways to visually represent this. Let's agree that on our board, a red circle means a blocked item (visual signal + policy). Then you keep the workflow clean and know where exactly cards are stuck.

TO DO DOING DONE
Task4 Task3 Task1
Task5 🔴 Task
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  • Is there any way to add a red circle in Jira?
    – Javi Torre
    Feb 1, 2023 at 7:02
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    @JaviTorre, in Jira you can add a flag to a ticket. It is not literally a red circle, but is a similar way to indicate something is up with the ticket. Feb 1, 2023 at 10:52
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This board structure doesn't make sense. The columns on a Kanban board represent the steps in the workflow. "Blocked" and "Unblocked" aren't steps in a workflow. You can identify work that may be blocked by looking at work item aging and cycle time metrics and historical data and visualizing when a work item is approaching or exceeding the expected duration.

Since you probably have WIP limits, blocked work in a given state would prevent new work from being pulled into that state. The team carrying out the work should swarm to remove the impediments and get the work flowing through the process again.

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  • But if the product owner is on holidays and there is a blocker because some clarification is needed, I cannot have the WIP limit block the development resources.
    – Javi Torre
    Aug 3, 2022 at 13:39
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    @JaviTorre Anything else would be masking problems in your workflow. Kanban offers transparency and visibility. If cases arise like the team has a dependency on a single individual for information, that could raise questions like why the team started work with a high amount of uncertainty or why there's a single point of failure for information and clarification. Perhaps the team can make the conscious decision to break their WIP limits temporarily, but use the Kanban board the way it was intended.
    – Thomas Owens
    Aug 4, 2022 at 14:56

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