Follow the Sun: Handoffs via Kanban within VSTS or TFS

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Do you have a global software development team? Do tasks get passed daily from work site to work site around the world?

Task handoffs can be tricky when team members are many time zones apart. 

You can try using email to communicate work assignments, but emails can be overlooked and emails lack trackability.

You can try a shared spreadsheet of work items, but the spreadsheet can be cumbersome and time-consuming to maintain.

There is a better way! Both VSTS and TFS afford an easy way of managing and tracking the flow of work: the Kanban board. And you can tailor the Kanban specifically to help facilitate collaboration among your geographically dispersed team members. 

Use card styling and/or tags to draw attention to particular work items. When team members start their workday, they can go straight to the Kanban board to see what needs their attention, immediate or otherwise.

For example:

  • Card Styling: You can create a styling rule to set the color of a card to red for items that are priority 1. The project manager can assign a work item to a developer and set the priority to 1. The Kanban will display the importance of that item to all viewers, including the developer.

  • Tags: You can create a tag labeled Needs BA Clarification, and set the Kanban board to display tags and to color that tag blue. If a developer has a question about something in the work item, they can post the question in the work item and add the tag to the work item. Later, when the BA comes on duty, they can readily see on the Kanban that the item needs his attention, and can post the answer in the work item and remove the tag.

 

Go to https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/docs/work/customize/customize-cards for procedures and more ideas to tailor the Kanban board in VSTS/TFS. Determine the things that are important to highlight for your team, and customize your Kanban for maximum communication and efficiency.

 

About the Author:

TopLine Strategies delivers the complete integration and development of sales, marketing and customer service technologies that enable corporate clientele to improve revenue streams and strengthen customer interactions. Our project management and consulting is designed to achieve timely delivery, 100 percent user adoption of the technologies we implement and deliver measurable returns on investments for our clients.

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