If you have been using Kanban for a while now, then you are becoming better at identifying patterns and opportunities to improve your overall process flow. A key area that sometimes does not get enough attention is when the Kanban card is created at the intake step. By simplifying and standardizing the information captured at card creation, requesters will save time and the cards will have everything needed to flow more efficiently. This is why we added the card templates feature in Kanban Zone.

Below is an example of a card template for a user story, a common type of card for Agile teams.

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Instead of requesters typing whatever they want in the description, create a standard description like “AS A role (WHO), I CAN activity (WHAT), SO THAT value (WHY)”. On this card the standard user story format is captured in the description. The user will more naturally follow this standard description as they see it more often on cards.

Standard Fields

There are many other elements that you can set on a card template. For example, this user story template can also set the following information within the card:

  • Card Label is shown in the example above is set to the “Feature” green label.
  • Owner and Watcher can also be set to specific users. This is helpful when it’s always the same people who either own a card or are involved in watching that type of card.
  • Relative Due Date is a great way to set a specific due date based on the time the card gets created. This can be helpful if you have specific Service-Level Agreement (SLA).
  • Size and Priority are also quick signals that can be set by default on a card template.

In addition to these card fields, you can also leverage Checklists, Attachments, and Links. A huge time saver is to create cards that have standard checklists. Once a type of card has been delivered a few times on your board you might start seeing the same common tasks. This is your trigger to standardize your tasks into single or multiple checklists.

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Standard Checklists

User stories in Agile should also always have acceptance criteria to help set the boundaries of the work. This also keeps the requester honest on exactly what it will take to for the work to be accepted. You can easily provide a standard format for your requesters to follow. In the screenshot above, you can see a checklist called “Acceptance Criteria” and a standard task to show the user how to most effectively capture acceptance criteria using the “Given, When, Then” format.

These simple ways to show how to best create a card will help everyone be more efficient and over time create a consistent way to create cards. Not only do the requesters save time and provide better information on the card, the team members working on the card benefit from the standard format. This provides everything needed to consistently hit the target.

In the screenshot below, you can see how easy it is to use these templates. Once a card template has been created by an administrator in Kanban Zone, users will see the list of available templates when adding a new card. In this example for an Agile development team, we created three templates (Story, Defect, and Spike).

Card Template

Watch the video below to fully see how easy it is to create and use card templates in Kanban Zone.

The card template feature is included in our paid plans, so take advantage of this great way to save time and deliver cards faster. This is the perfect feature to help your organization work smarter.

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Once you start visualizing your work in Kanban Zone, you will be surprised how much faster it gets done!

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About the Author: Dimitri Ponomareff

Kanban Coach Dimitri Ponomareff
Dimitri Ponomareff is a Coach. Transforming organizations to deliver value faster since 2005, using Agile, Scrum/XP first, and then blending Lean and Kanban. Dimitri has the ability to relate and energize people. He is consistently recognized as a very passionate and successful change agent, with an overwhelming capacity to motivate and mobilize teams on their path to continuous improvements.