How we use Kanban with small tasks

A while ago, I asked a question on Stack Exchange Project Management about how to use the Kanban board for very small tasks. Let me explain what I mean about small tasks:

We do development of some products (web-applications) which are used by our clients. Some clients use our generic products, and some others have a customized version. Mostly in the -week before release- we get several test-run remarks from our client. Those are (mostly) some small things like some CSS tweaks, some formatting, changes in the list-orders and so on.. Nothing big..

I was struggeling about how to translate those issues to our Kanban board. Do I have to create a ‘post-it’ for every issue? If yes, I suppose it will take longer to create a post-it, attach it to the right column, let the dev fix the issue and then let him move it to the testing/done column. Another thing is the board overload.. Ok, you have the WIP limit some columns, but in the end all the done items are there, and the board will look very overcrowded. Also the WIP of the ‘selected’ column is less than the number of items to fix.

So, how to handle situations like this? As I really want to visualize the issues and have a reference to the Kanban board.

I found the answer on Joakim Sunden’s blog. (Thanks to Pawel Brodzinski for the link). The concept he explains is to have a dedicated log for such tasks. The only thing in this log is an issue ID (wich can be the TFS workitem number, or a task-management/bug tracking tool ID). The ID is crossed out once the issue is fixed. If you keep this log close to your Kanban board, you have a clear overview of the open and fixed issues. The other nice thing is that you can easily move items to the Kanban board which do need more work than initially thought.

Personally, we did choose for a project approach to group our issues. Each project has a column, and this colum does only contain a list of issue ID’s. You could also create columns for each individual person in the team. It’s up to you to decide. If someone is working on one of the issues, you can add a sticky to the correct column on your Kanban board with some information about issue fixing of product X/Y/Z


We can also analyze the issues list. A lot of the issues are created because the product did fail to deliver the actual value the customer was waiting for. By collecting the data, we can get to the root cause of the issues, and we can find a way to reduce the number of such items. This gives us more resources to focus on delivering a good product.

We are using this approach for a while now and it seems to be working well! I’ll keep you posted about the evolutions we make with our Kanban board and the issue list! Thanks for reading!

Written by
Alexander Vanwynsberghe
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Alexander Vanwynsberghe

Belgium-based entrepreneur. Into technology, innovation and a bit of cycling and running too. Evangelist for everything related to smart-tech.