This is Part Two of a three part blog series highlighting a few lesser known but can’t-live-without features in GreenHopper, our agile planning tool for JIRA.

Each part is based on events cycles in a project. In my first post, we walked through the project planning session for the subsequent phase of work. Part Two will focus on the actual work – users working on individual tasks.

The GreenHopper Task Board is your home base when you’re working on a project. Pull up the Task Board to view open issues, log work, and transition issues through your workflow: from Open to In Progress to Done. Team leads and project managers can quickly see the status of all issues in this cycle of project work.

Viewing what I want to see

As a user working on your own tasks, use the Quick Filters at the top to show only issues assigned to yourself. A project or team lead’s top concern are the To Do issues: those that have yet to be started – they can hide the ‘Done’ column to see only open tasks.

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Making the columns relevant to my project

Project Administrators can create Versions for a project (phases or milestones) and also tweak many of the project’s individual settings within GreenHopper – the most important being the columns in your Task Board.

By default, GreenHopper will show 3 columns:

  • To Do (status Open or Reopened)
  • In Progress
  • Done (Resolved or Closed)

However, you can change these to match your unique business process! If your project is using a custom JIRA workflow the Task Board is the best bird-eye view of issue status. GreenHopper is flexible: add or remove columns, or change the mapping to fit any project. The Task Board columns are a great way to get a quick glance of a project’s different steps before things are ‘complete’.

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Remember, team members not in QA can easily hide QA-related columns on their own Task Board, so each user has the most flexible view relevant to his or her work.

Work-In-Progress limits

WIP limits ensure your team doesn’t take on an unreasonable amount of work – why have 10 issues in progress at once for a team of 3?

One new-to-the-game but sensible way to handle workload comes from Kanban: limit work in progress. The idea is that each column can only have a certain number of cards at any time – for example, In Progress has a limit of 5. Once 5 issues are in that column, it is full. To start progress on another card, a user will have to take one of the cards from In Progress, finish the work, and move it to Done. This way, cards blocking the flow must be handled and work flows through to the last column.

The idea of WIP limits may mean some behavioral change for many teams, so the concept isn’t for every team. But for teams interested in Kanban, or those looking for a way to make sure ‘blocker’ issues get done sooner, WIP limits can be a great solution for better ‘flow’ during project work.

We’ve just taken a closer look at the every day project and issue features that the GreenHopper Task Board provides. Watch out for part three coming soon, when we’ll talk about tracking progress and walk through the Chart Board.

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