Working with Kanban Boards

The Kanban board is populated with work items, external items, or accepted items from a backlog.

Use a Kanban board to:

Navigating a Kanban Board

The following diagram shows a Kanban board used for tracking issues from a backlog to completion. Refer to the legend below to learn more about using a Kanban board.


  1. Sort

    Use the sort field to organize the cards on your Kanban board by one of the system fields or by a card attribute such as Card ID, Card Title, or Card Status. If you are using a Backlog view as one of your data feeds for the Kanban board, you can sort by backlog priority.

  2. Search

    Use the search field to perform a local search of the Kanban board and display specific cards. For example, you can search for cards by owner, ID, or keywords in an item's title. In this example, only cards with the BUG prefix are displayed.

    If values are mapped to the Status Indicator field, you can search by status value as well (if the values are different). If active and inactive values are mapped, a search for active displays both active and inactive items because inactive contains the word active.

  3. Copy

    Click the copy icon to create a new Kanban board based on the current board.

  4. Settings and Refresh

    Click the settings icon to change the Kanban board's current configuration (feeds, columns, swimlanes, and more). Click the refresh icon to update the view if any of the cards have been changed.

  5. Columns

    The Kanban board is divided into columns that you define when you create or alter the view. In this example, four columns (Candidates, In Development, QA Testing, and Done) have been defined and state field values for the work items are mapped to one of the four columns.

  6. Work in Progress (WIP) Limit

    Each column on the board has a defined WIP limit. In this example, the number of items that are considered "In Development" (25) currently exceeds the WIP limit that has been assigned to that column (5).

  7. Collapsed Column

    Click a column header to collapse a column. The short name that you assign to the column is displayed when you collapse a column. In this example, the Done column is collapsed in order to provide more space for the other columns on the board. You can still see that 6 items are considered to be "Done".

  8. Sub-Columns

    Columns can be divided into multiple sub-columns if multiple statuses apply to a given phase. In this example, issues that are in the Coding and Peer Review states are both considered to be "In Development".

  9. Swimlanes

    You can optionally organize cards into separate horizontal swimlanes as well. In this example, the creator of the Kanban board decided to use the Severity field to group critical items into one swimlane and high severity items into another. You can scroll up or down to view each swimlane and collapse them as necessary. If you move a card on the board and it is suddenly no longer visible, try looking in a different swimlane—the field used for organizing swimlanes might have changed during the transition.

Viewing Cards

When you are viewing a work item card:


When you are viewing an external item card:


Moving Cards

You can drag and drop work item cards from one column to another on the Kanban board (though not from one swimlane to another). If the columns on the Kanban board correspond to workflow states in SBM, moving a card effectively transitions the item from one state to another as long as all required fields are entered and the corresponding transition is available from the current state. Available columns are visible as soon as you begin to drag a card; columns that are not available are grayed out and a red icon appears on te card if it cannot be moved to a particular column.

When you drag and drop a work item card to a different column, a transition form appears to the right of the view if there are any required fields that you must complete first. Toggle the list of fields that are displayed by clicking Item Details, All Fields, Required Fieldsor Invalid Fields.


Click OK when you have completed all required fields to finish moving the card. Click X or Cancel to stop and send the card back to the original column.

If you move a card within the same column and the column represents one or more State field values, you are prompted to select a transition to use. If your columns are organized by a field other than the State field, an update transition is performed in this scenario and you are prompted to select an applicable field value for the column instead.

Note that when you drag and drop cards, any applicable decision points that are built into the workflow are honored. This means that if you move a card, but a decision point overrides that move, the card is automatically moved to the column according to the decision rule and a message appears that explains the card was redirected to a different column based on a decision point set by your administrator.