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Use Agile Cards to avoid double entry !

 

Visual Management and JIRA : Don’t waste your time with double entry !

 

Agile coaching usually begins with the establishment of a Visual Management.
This first step will improve the team communication and collaboration but you won’t probably stop there.

IMG_1366 (1)

The second step could be to measure Kanban metrics in order to :

  • Measure your team efficiency evolution
  • Be able to plan your releases : measure the workflow speed, the cycles time, waiting time, …
  • Detect bottleneck in your flow and adapt your plan to bypass the problem

You can measure these metrics manually, which is time-consuming, or you can use a tool to measure them automatically.

Moreover, depending on your context, if you have remote contributors, you may probably want a tool to manage your Product Backlog that can be viewed by everybody and not only by people next to the Visual Management.

These reasons may prompt you to use JIRA in addition of your Visual Management, but this solution has a drawback : the information double entry.


Indeed, a recurrent problem in this situation is the lack of rigor of the team when updating JIRA status : some members will do it at the end of the task, other will forget to do it. It result in unreliable automatic metrics – and this have no value.

Enter the same information twice is a waste of time, a source of error and a Lean antipattern. That’s the reason why I’ve tried a JIRA addon called « Agile Cards ». This addon is newly available on Atlassian Cloud – since September 30th 2015.
It is very simple to configure, to use and there is a free evaluation licence.

The first step is to install the addon

Let’s see the official documentation here
Once it is done, you’ll have a new button « Agile Cards » in the right top corner of JIRA

addon

Then you have to configure your physical board

To do this, go to « Agile Cards » > « Configure physical board ».
You have to configure the swimlanes to match your Visual Management workflow. Then you only have to print the splitters and paste them on your Visual Management.
In my case I only have 4 steps : « Backlog » | « Selected for development » | « En cours » | « Fini ».
splitter
The rule is one splitter between 2 columns, each splitter has to delimiter the top and the bottom region of your board.
You can also put a QR Code to identify your board.
So there will be 3 top & bottom splitters and a QR Code on my physical board

Then, create your physical User Stories on JIRA

You can print them using Agile Cards (« Agile Cards » > Print issues »). You can configure the addon to customize the printed User Stories display
In my case, the User Story looks like this :
story

And my digital board :
table

 

Place your printed User Stories on the Visual Management

Like you will do in Daily Meeting
photo

Take a photo and upload it on JIRA

Go to « Agile Cards » > « Upload board photo ».
It will automatically detects  your columns, your stories and their status.

update
Here, you can check the detected datas and validate them.
Once validated, User Stories status is updated on JIRA :

jirupdate

 

Conclusion

Agile Cards addOn is really interesting because it saves time by avoiding double entry.

However, the concept does not go far enough because there is still a manual step : the upload of the board photo. The MVP is provided but an interesting future development could be to connect a webcam and schedule automatic update frequency.

For more information, you can go to the addOn homepage.

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