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Agile Kanban Board - Improvements Required

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Level 4

01-05-2020

Hi there,


Please can you dedicate some resources to Agile? The functionality is buggy, inconsistent, and user flows lack behind free alternatives like Trello or Microsoft Planner.


Right now, my personal journey has been approx 18 months trying to implement Agile well within workfront, specifically with a large number of calls and threads to WF support staff in the past 3 months. A typical response to my bugs flagged and suggestions have been "we're just not really setup for agile here" or "here's a really complicated workaround" that, when I've tried to implement, I've struggled to get my team to understand and implement - something that should be simple and intuitive needs 10 clicks between multiple pages and reports to function.


If Workfront can replicate something like Trello, with the back end powerhouse of the WF platform that exists already, you'd be in an extremely strong position in the enormous, and growing, agile space. Right now, Agile functionality isn't there (apologies), so this doesn't get much attention.


Here are some specifics that I think would help:


Features:

  1. On each card it says (for example) "4 / 10 Hours Complete". The maximum value here needs to be editable. A fundamental of agile is that scope changes, estimates shift as you plan to deeper levels through the process, and the contingency is in the number and prioritisation of tasks (MoSCoW). It's essential that the "10" value here is editable on the card (for users / designers as well as PMs) to be a collaborative tool.
  2. On the Kanban board, when you filter by user / designer, at the top it should show the total number of hours complete / total / remaining for each column.
  3. Create a burn down chart - type report so it's easy to see how much work each resource (and the whole team) has in the current sprint. Similar to the Scrum one (but less painful. 😉 ) For example, my team works in 1-week sprints and the admin involved to set these up and move tasks from sprint to sprint isn't worth the effort (last I checked, anyway).
  4. Allow us to sort cards by due date on the kanban board
  5. Allow us to assign labels to cards, and filter in the same way as we can filter by "assigned to" on the kanban board. See Trello's labelling functionality.
  6. Right now, if 1 person creates a card, another user (on another PC) can't see that card until the platform is refreshed. On Trello / other web based apps it appears automatically. Even google docs etc works like this.
  7. If someone mark "10 / 10 Hours Complete", the system marks it as 100% done, and moves the card in to the "Complete" column automatically. Please can we turn off this auto updating? We often have designers who have spent the original allocation of time, but need more time as it was a bigger task than originally estimated (which is ok). In this instance, they update the task to be accurate - "10 / 10 Hours Complete", but then they lose the task from their list as it is auto marked as done.
  8. Adding a customisable pretty picture in the background of the app (like Trello / Google suite, MS Tasks etc), is a simple way of making the app *feel* much more accessible and more user friendly.

Bugs:

  1. Fix the need to refresh every time when you move from the backlog to the kanban board. i.e. if you move something from the backlog to the kanban board, and then click to see the kanban board, the card won't show up on the kanban board until the page is refreshed.
  2. Projects that have a project status set to the the equivalent of "On Hold" or "Planning" won't show in the backlog.
    1. Your support team tells me this is by design, and I disagree. The backlog and Kanban board should be the source of truth for all projects in the system. Right now, as some don't show up, we have to check multiple places, which means things get lost and dropped.
    2. This also means that, if a project is already on the Kanban board (ie it was added in an "active" state), and then is put into "on hold"; when we try to move the Kanban board task back to the backlog, Workfront shows up an error saying something like "the task can't be moved to the backlog as the project is on hold". So the only option is to delete the task in the project and let the project get lost (not on backlog or Kanban board)
    3. The WF support team told me previously that the reason projects in "planning" don't show up on the backlog is because the backlog is designed to be only for projects that are fully scoped and ready to be worked on. Personally I disagree with this, and to some extent you to too, because you also have a "Ready" flag to be ticked in the backlog. ;). Also though, in agile, details are constantly changing. That's the point. Per DSDM Atern Agile, you plan to the "appropriate level of detail, and to the latest responsible moment" to mitigate this.
  3. When moving a card from one column to the other, it's not possible to move the card if you're not directly below the last card in the next column. So, say you have lots of cards in "In Progress", but only a couple in "To Do", you can't move cards into "To Do" without first moving the card to the top of the list, and then across columns.
  4. When you enter information into the description field, or any of the custom fields of a task, the task disappears, until the page is refreshed: https://share.getcloudapp.com/WnuGx9N9

Many other Kanban bugs have been fixed in the past months as I report them, but being completely honest, I'm frustrated of acting as Workfront QA.


Don't get me wrong, the current Kanban implementation is on the right track, and just needs some small tweaks to make it a powerhouse. Honestly I think if you allocated 1 UI/UX designer, 1 front end programmer, and 1 QA resource to this and told them "Trello is your base mark: Go", you could iterate on the current Kanban status to build a wonderful product with the Workfront Backend.


Feel free to reach out, I'd love to see this work out.


Thanks,


Sam

14 Comments

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Level 4

02-09-2020

Agreed on all of this! Also, the ability to bulk edit items in the Kanban board would be amazing (similarly to how you can see all items in an iteration in a list and bulk edit). This would ideally include the ability to bulk edit custom forms, planned completion dates, change status, change card color, mass move to backlog). Right now once items are added to the Kanban board, you have to manually edit every single item, unless you create a separate report to bulk edit from.

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Level 5

05-10-2020

It's not to defend Workfront, but I have to say that there are some misconceptions in the post above.


The cards are customisable, you can add custom form fields there (but indeed further customisation would be more than welcome eg. add more than 3 customisable elements and allow switching of standard items). Enable colour coding based on Project priority not only Task priority.

Also Expand/Collapse ALL card content could help tremendously!

Planned hours is not something that should be altered by a worker I would NOT want them to be able to alter it.

On Hold and Planning Projects should not be there - why anyone should bother with not actionnable cards on a Kanban where you try to determine what got stuck and why, what needs to be worked on first etc.?

Kanban is not designed mainly for Workers (logging hours), but Planners and not to cover "everyting as well" for them (for Workers Home view is much better, in order to pick up work yes, they could use Kanban as an option).


Pretty pictures are nice, but move away the focus from what really matters on a REAL Kanban board. Imagine if you had "pretty pictures" on a Kanban of an ER reception, I personally hated this function on Trello because sometimes part of the stand up went on "let's see what background image we should use" - WHAT? Come on... Kanban and standups are not for socialising!


Filtering by Job Roles could bring in a lot for sure.

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Level 2

28-10-2020

there are a lot of related ideas around Scrum and Kanban. I wonder if WF has considered corralling them all and creating one initiative to improve the functionality in WF overall?

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Level 4

09-07-2021

I've been forcing myself to explore Kanban more, hoping to develop a deep enough understanding to recommend the process to a few of my teams. The #1 issue that prevents me from pulling the trigger is how things get stack ranked. These teams handle tasks and issues. Both, maintain two separate 'order' values. I'm actually fine with a task order #1 and an issue order #1; I don't care to pull both into a single backlog and re-order - though that would make a little more sense to me as an agile planner. And honestly, that might solve the pain point I have... turning on the capability to auto-add the next backlog item NEVER pulls the order #1 issue. Instead it pulls order #2 task. In our world, there might be hundreds of tasks that get assigned to the team. Operationally speaking, the team would need to potentially complete Task order #150, before Issue order #1 gets added. In my environment right now, a team's kanban board would have them work on Task #34 - #117 BEFORE the 4 issues in the backlog (#1-#4). So...

  1. Should be able to configure how the backlog gets stacked. In our environment, the backlog ought to be ordered by planned completion date; not sequentially based on entry date.
  2. When displaying the backlog on the kanban board it ought to sort strictly by order so that Task Order 1 and Issue Order 1 show up at the top.
  3. Auto-adding the next card would then pull the lowest ordinal value between the two; regardless of it being a task or request/issue.

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Level 1

08-09-2021

I would also love if when displaying the backlog on the kanban board, the "assigned" filter filtered through the backlog as well.

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Level 2

18-10-2021

With some of the updates this year, the kanban, scrum, agile boards are almost unusable. Getting a card to actually move between columns can take 10 or more trys until you get it lines up just right on the screen so that the card actually moves.

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Level 1

04-02-2022

Our orgs' pain points with Kanban board:

  • Backlog --> Kanban does not preserve the prioritized order
  • Horizontal scroll bar at bottom of page means you have to scroll vertically to even see the option to scroll horizontally (workaround is to click on the board and use keyboard arrows)
  • Difficult to re-order/rank tasks. Often takes several tries and requires refreshing.
  • Moving cards between columns can take multiple attempts.
  • Must refresh to see updates (unlike Trello where you can see updates/movement in real-time as users make them)
  • Backlog: Really difficult/time consuming to re-order tasks compared to 'classic'.

WIsh List:

  • Ability to create and use 'Swim Lanes' to group tasks together.
  • Ability to update and log time directly from the task on the Kanban Board