Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Converting A Kanban Project into A ScrumBan Project with MS Project 2019 Agile


Two most used Lean-Agile frameworks are Scrum and Kanban. Many teams use either of this framework along with engineering practices of eXtreme Programming (XP). It’s also possible that they may be working on such projects, along with Waterfall/Predictive work. 

In this article, we will see how to convert a pure Kanban project into a ScrumBan project, i.e., Scrum combined with Kanban. We will use MS Project 2019 Agile software for this purpose. Agile features are available in MS Project Online Desktop Client. 

The content of this article has been taken from these two courses:

Now, let’s start with our current scenario. 

Our Scenario

A team is working for a support project, fixing tickets raised by its customers in Kanban mode. The team started off with the Kanban framework, which is basically about visualization of work, just-in-time planning (by pulling the items from the Backlog), planning based on capacity and availability of resources, among others. 

When the tickets are getting fixed, the team is also getting some Enhancement Requests for the available features. The management team may want to deliver some items every four or six weeks. 

However, the Kanban framework doesn’t come with any iterations. Hence, the team decided to deliver only the Enhancement Feature Requests in Scrum mode, using Sprints or iterations. 

Let’s take a simple Kanban project to understand, visualize and manage.

The Kanban Project

Below is our Kanban project with its Gantt Chart view. As shown, it’s a simple project with a few tickets assigned to the Agile team members. The team has been fixing a number of tickets raised by the customers. 

As and when new tickets come-up, you will add those new tickets into the Kanban Backlog. Next, you will assign the team members based on capacity and availability (calendars). 

This can be seen in the Task Board Sheet view or Backlog Board Sheet view. You can visualize these views by using View tab > Task Views group > Task Board command > More Views… and choosing the Task Board Sheet or Backlog Board Sheet view. 


I've selected the Task Board Sheet view for this article. As shown in the above figure, our simple project has a few tickets raised (total five currently) and these will be fixed by the team members. As the Kanban team started working on the tickets, the Agile Project Manager (APM) started tracking them on the board, i.e., the Task Board view. The Task Board view can be selected by going to View tab > Task Views group > Task Board command directly. Currently the (Kanban) Task board looks like the one below.

As you (the APM) track the ticket items on the status items, one item is “Done”, a couple of items are “In progress”, and one in “Next up” state. As the items move across to “Done” state, a tick mark is added to the top right corner of the card.

The Status Date is on Friday, 23rd September, 2022. In the above figure, the status date has been highlighted. Remember tracking always happens with respect to the status date (or a particular date).

New Feature Requests

Along with the support tickets, the team is also getting feature enhancement requests from the customers, which are added to the Backlog. Currently, the features have high-level planning. This resulted in the following one in the Gantt Chart view.  

In the above view, the feature enhancement requests are part of the Summary Task – New Feature Request.

With the new feature enhancement requests coming, as we know earlier, the team decided that:

  • Tickets will be fixed in Kanban mode (because you have to take them up immediately).
  • Enhancement requests will be delivered in Scrum mode (with Sprints/Iterations).

With this combined Kanban with Scrum mode, a number of questions comes up:

  • Can one convert a part of the Kanban project into Scrum?
  • Can the Sprints/Iterations be added into this project?
  • Can one manage both these frameworks – Kanban and Scrum – together?

The answer is yes!

When you manage both frameworks together, then you are in ScrumBan mode. Let’s see how we can do this via MS Project Agile tool.

Converting into ScrumBan Project

First, we are going back to the Task Board Sheet view from the Gantt Chart view. 

Now, in the above view:

  • All tickets are managed with Kanban Task Board Sheet view.
  • Currently, the enhancement requests are also part of this Task Board Sheet view.
  • There are no Sprints currently available at all in this project.

However, we don’t want to manage and track the enhancement requests in the Task Board/Sheet view. Because these feature requests will be delivered via Sprints in the Scrum framework. So, what to do?

For that, we have to convert the current project into the Scrumban project with the following steps.

Step – 1: Add the Sprints

To add the Sprints into this Kanban project, click on the “No Sprints” column and select any one cell. Next, choose the “Add Sprints” command in the drop-down list as shown below. 

When you execute the “Add Sprints” command, it will pop-up the Manage Sprints dialog box. Here, you have to add the Sprints and give the dates. I’ve added three Sprints and the associated dates as shown below.

 

After you add the Sprints the project will get converted into ScrumBan project. This is important to know and understand:

  • Earlier, the project was a pure Kanban project. We had no Sprints at all. 
  • We added the Sprints directly from the Task Board Sheet view.
  • As we added the Sprints, the Sprint Tools along with the commands associated with Sprints are now visible, which is shown below. 

Now, the project is no longer a Kanban Project, but a Scrumban Project with the addition of Sprints. Do note that we are still in the Task Board Sheet view. 

Step – 2: Associate with the Sprints

Next, we will take the feature items and associate them with the Sprints, which in our case are Sprint 1, Sprint 2 and Sprint 3. You can associate the Feature Enhancement Requests with the Sprints in the Task Board Sheet view. 

To perform the association, we will again use the “Sprint” field and select needed Sprint in the No Sprint’s drop-down list option. This is shown in the below figure.

As you associate the view for Task Board view will be modified as the following one. 

As you can see, the three enhancement requests (Enhance Request 1, Enhance Request 2, Enhance Request 3) are associated with three Sprints -Sprint 1, Sprint 2 and Sprint 3, respectively.

Step – 3: Add a Custom Field and Associate

Next, we are going to distinguish between the Kanban and Scrum related work items in the Backlog. This can be done by adding a custom field, which is flag custom field: “Only Sprints”. 

This custom field has to be associated with work items in the Task Board Sheet view. After you associate, the Task Board Sheet view will come as shown below.


As shown above, only for the feature enhancement requests, we have enabled the “Only Sprints'' custom field to Yes. For the Kanban tickets (Ticket 1 to Ticket 5), there is no Sprint association, because these tickets will continue to get executed in Kanban mode.

Step – 4: Create the Needed Filters

Next, we will create two Custom Filters, with the above custom field of “Only Sprints” being used as a condition. The filter with its condition set to “Yes” for this custom field. This will be applied to the Task Board related views. 

The other filter will be with the reverse condition. This will be applied to the Sprint Board related views.

Step – 5: Manage and Track the Scrumban Project

Now our overall project is ready. We will track the Kanban and Scrum items separately:

  • Scrum/Sprint related work items will be tracked via the Sprint related board and sheet views. 
  • Kanban related work items will be tracked via the Task/Backlog related board and sheet views.

When you go to the Task Board view, apply the filter created before with the “Only Sprints” flag being set as NO. Because, here we want to see the Kanban related ticket items. This is shown in the below figure. 

To see the Sprint items, you can use the Sprint Planning Board or the Current Sprint Board. Do remember to apply the filter with the “Only Sprints” flag being set as YES, specifically for the Sprint Planning Board view.

The Sprint Planning Board view for the ScrumBan project will come as shown below. 

As shown in the above Sprint Planning Board view, we have three feature items spread across three Sprints – Sprint 1, Sprint 2, and Sprint 3.

If you want to see it in the Current Sprint Board, you can go to this view from Sprint Tools > Sprints tab > Sprint command list > Current Sprint Board command. 

In the Current Sprint Board view, you need not set any custom filters. Because this view’s in-built filter – the Current Sprint Filter considers only the current Sprint work items. It’s designed that way.

Conclusion

It’s highly possible that many projects can operate with Scrum and Kanban together. In fact, I know of projects being executed in this manner. As informed earlier, such projects are known as ScrumBan projects – the word Scrum is taken fully, along with the last three letters of Kanban. 

As explained in this article, one can convert a pure Kanban project into the ScrumBan project. 

The reverse is also possible, i.e., we can take a Scrum project and convert to a Kanban project. To do so, you can follow similar steps for your project.

Finally, our integrated ScrumBan project view is shown below in the Gantt Chart. I’ve highlighted the Scrum part of this ScrumBan project using filter highlighting.  


This is for a simple project with a few Kanban ticket items and a few feature items executed in Scrum mode. You can very well expand this plan to go for a project with a large number of tickets and feature items together. 

 

References

1. New Course: Mastering MS Project Agile (Scrum and Kanban), by Satya Narayan Dash [Link]

2. New Course: Certified Hybrid-Agile Master (Theory and Practical), by Satya Narayan Dash [Link]



No comments:

Post a Comment

Sign- or Log-in and put your name while asking queries in comments. Any comment is welcome - comments, review or criticism. But off-topic, abusive, defamatory comments will be moderated or may be removed.