Visualizing Workflow

Making work visible to ourselves, as well as our stakeholders is imperative in our workflow management process. People are visual beings. Workflows give everyone a sense of ownership and accountability.

Make use of a Kanban board

Kanban boards help you to make work and problems visible and improve workflow efficiency.

Kanban boards are a recommended practice for all agile development methods. Kanban signals your availability to do work. When an individual pulls something from the backlog into progress, they are committing to being available to do the work the card represents.

With Kanban boards, your team knows who’s working on what, what the status of that work is, and how long that work has been in progress.

Building a Kanban Board

To make a Kanban board you need to create lanes on your board that represent your team’s workflow. Adding work in progress (WIP) limits to swim-lanes will enhance the visibility of your team’s workflow.

The team only works on cards that are in the “Ready to Start” lane and team members always pick from the top. No “Cherry Picking”.

The following is a good starting point for most teams.

  • Backlog
  • Ready to Start
  • Development
  • Ready to Review
  • Blocked
  • Done


Track everything:

  • Stories, tasks, spikes, etc.
  • Improvement items
  • Training development
  • Extra meetings

Work is work, and without visibility to all of the team’s work it’s impossible to identify and reduce the waste created by unexpected work.

Bring visibility to dependencies across teams, to help people anticipate what’s headed their way, and prevent delays from unknowns and invisible work.


As a development team, we want to visualize our workflow, so that we may improve workflow efficiency.

Acceptance Criteria

  • Use a visual board
  • Show any and all work


Making Work Visible - Dominica DeGrandis

Last modified December 15, 2022: Fixing some typos (#28) (9efde39)