Kanban Swimlanes

    Kanban Swimlanes

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    The Kanban Board is a method for improving productivity by utilizing limited products in the process. By arranging a limited number of tasks in a row, the Kanban Board can visualize the workflow in a short time. The Kanban Swimlanes is an essential part of the Kanban board. Suppose you want to make the most of it. It is because, even with a multi-column Kanban board, it will still help to organize and improve your work, but adding a Swimlanes can further improve your process management. On the Kanban board, there are three columns, each of which can contain many “sticky notes.”

    • To do
    • Doing
    • Completed

    As you progress through tasks using the Kanban Board, you will be moving tasks and using different methods to optimize the visualization of your workflow. We decided to break the original columns into parallel lines to represent project milestones and create the Kanban Swimlanes.

    The Kanban Tool with Swim Lane is essential to visualize the entire process on a single board and distinguish which parts are going on simultaneously.

    ü WIP Limits

    The Kanban Swimlanes is a vital element for visualizing and streamlining the process flow. However, Kanban uses WIP limits, another essential characteristic that helps teams optimize their flow and process visualization. As you already know, WIP limits apply to all stages (or columns) in the process.

    Also, just as you apply WIP limits to each column on the board, you must apply WIP limits to each Swimlanes. The WIP limit for each swimlane should not exceed the sum of the WIP limits for the columns.

    ü Swimlanes Categories

    The categories of Kanban Swimlanes vary depending on the project, but here are the most common ones.

    • Team/Dept/Individual
    • Features
    • Recurring task
    • Priority base

    In Kanban, it is essential to apply In-Process limits to each column. WIP limits must use for each swimlane in the process state. It is recommended to keep the WIP limit of the Swimlanes low so that the overall WIP does not swell.

    1. Team/Dept/Individual

    When various companies, departments, and individuals are liable for entirely different duties, it executes sense that each has its Swimlanes. It empowers team members to concentrate on the work items that are most appropriate to them while also keeping track of the project’s overall progress.

    2. Features

    Also, some projects have large teams working on the same tasks, but these tasks need to arrange in parallel, not one after another. It is often the case for Kanban teams that need to work with multiple features together. Using the swim lane to separate each function visually makes it evident.

    3. Recurring Tasks

    Some teams use the Kanban Swimlane to separate the tasks. That needs to be done once and those that need to do repeatedly. By setting WIP limits on both types, you can prevent the maintenance work you need from being delayed while your team is working on new features.

    4. Priority base

    Priority-based swim lanes (sometimes called service classes) are used to categorize work items based on urgency. You can use it in addition to other types of Kanban Swimlanes if you want. For example, a single board can display both function-based and priority-based swim lanes. In priority-based swim lanes, it is essential to note the total WIP limit. If you put many “urgent” items on the board at once, the team will not catch up, and the average throughput will decrease.

    Bottom Line

    With the Kanban swim lane, you can further distinguish tasks and items in the work process, improving organizational efficiency. The Kanban swimlane is a visual element on the board that classifies projects and articles. It is intended to distinguish and group tasks and items in a process that flows horizontally and requires more flexibility. It provides a better overview of projects and work processes.

    Article by

    Divy Patel