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Jan 13

What’s hiding behind the idea of Agile boards?

As we know by now, Agile is an iterative, flexible and collaborative approach to project management, which allows the workload to be divided into smaller chunks rather than one large and complex task. So, dive into our article, which will explain more and help you understand the whole concept of Agile boards.

Agile board: What is it, and what is it used for?

Essentially, it shows a board that is divided into columns, which indicates the progress of each task by its stage of completion. For example, you may find columns such as: To-do, in progress, completed. This type of workflow allows everyone on the team to have a shared view of the stage of each task. Such as, which ones are complete and which haven’t been started yet. You may use it not only to see the current state of each task but also to group activities that are similar. It’ll also allow you to assign effort estimates, and monitor the development of each job toward completion.

A very simple representaation of an agile board. 3 rectangles with small squares inside which represent the "To do", "In progress" and "done" columns

What types of Agile boards are there?

There are two types of boards. A Kanban board and a Scrum board. Both of them are methodologies which are held under the Agile umbrella. They are used to monitor the progress of projects from their creation to conclusion. This involves developing clear objectives, assigning tasks, and charting workflow. However, even though both of these fall under the Agile approach, they are quite different.

Let’s dive more into the details of these two Agile boards.

Scrum vs Kanban board

Scrum

A Scrum board is more focused on learning via experiences and through visuals. It starts with a well-structured plan and bases on a sprint in order to deliver work regularly. Scrum is also stricter as it has a regular and fixed-length sprint. It also consists of continuous planning, reviews, sprints, daily meetings, and sprint retrospectives. What’s more, a scrum board has a scrum master as the leader and is owned by only one scrum team. There is also a strong focus on cross-functionality.

Kanban

When working with a Kanban board, you start off without a plan and work in a continuous flow, rather than in sprints with strict deadlines. It is overall a more flexible approach. It not only doesn’t have deadlines, but also no mandatory meetings and doesn’t require roles, such as a Scrum Master in the Scrum approach. By using Kanban, you can shorten the time it takes to complete a project.

A graphic showing a difference between a scrum board and a kanban board.

Side by side comparison

Two columns of text which briefly specify the differences between a scrum and kanban board from different aspects

Now that you are aware of the differences and variety of advantages each board can offer, it’s time to ask…

Which one is suitable for you?

To establish the right board or methodology for you, you should start off by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What is the size of your project? – Is it small and simple or rather big and complex?
  • Have you already got a plan of action, or do you only have an idea?
  • How often will the product be released?
  • Will the project requirements change frequently or rarely?

These questions can help you decide which approach would be best for you depending on your requirements and the project outlines. So, even though both of the methodologies were created to increase efficiency and productivity within teams, the differences between them can be crucial in the development of your projects.

So, if you care about customer feedback, need a sense of completion, are looking for clear roles within teams, and are working with a deadline – it is better to pick Scrum.

However, if you’re looking for an approach that is more flexible and more visual but also adapts quickly to changes and has teams working continually on tasks – choose Kanban.

A lady standing next to two boards - kanban and scrum deciding which one is a best suit for her

What is an Agile board in Jira?

Agile boards – whether Scrum, Kanban, or any other approach can be made in the Jira software. You can choose the essential features from the backlog, add appropriate graphs, and track the progress of the iteration in a variety of different ways, which suit your needs. However, in Jira, there are certain limitations. For example, it doesn’t allow you to look simultaneously at all the processes from a larger perspective.

Agile boards and BigPicture

Agile Board in BigPicture doesn’t only offer the advantages listed above. It also provides swimlanes for Assignee and Status, which makes it possible to track the project progress of a given iteration. What’s more, it offers reports which show the progress of each sprint. The collation of sprints next to each other makes it much easier to verify what has been delivered in past iterations and what may be pre-planned in future iterations. Additionally, the ability to fully customise the task view also allows the visualisation of any fields for the purpose of tracking many task parameters, which are required by the processes of a given company. Agile Board in BigPicture also works great as a board for simultaneous planning of many iterations in the SAFe framework by several teams (working remotely or on site), along with the ability to draw dependencies between tasks.

A BigPicture Board module

About The Author

A content writer at BigPicture. Aleksandra has experience in copywriting for a wide variety of topics. She is passionate about creating educational content regarding any subject and finds joy in explaining complex topics in a more approachable fashion.