When it comes to tracking work, we created a simple way to link cards in all 4 directions (up, down, left, right). As shown in the image below, the card in the middle is linked using all 4 link types.

Kanban Zone - 4 way linked cards

In project management terms, we offer the ability to track parent/child relationships (up/down) and successor/predecessors dependencies (left/right).

We built Kanban Zone with Portfolio Kanban in mind as the most effective way to track work that is broken down into smaller more manageable chunks of work (cards). This offers users the ability to track work across multiple processes or teams while getting full traceability back to their overarching goal, project or initiative.

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Although the linked cards can all be within a single board, in Kanban Zone you have the full flexibility to create links across any number of boards. This is especially helpful in the case of multiple teams using different boards. We made it simple to create these connections and each card can visually display the number of linked cards per link type, as well as their overall progress. This helps to signal when other linked cards are progressing between the following states in Kanban Zone: To Do (blue), In Progress (yellow), Done (green).

Portfolio Kanban Linked Cards - Kanban Zone

In the illustration above we show 5 different boards. In this example, the board in the middle acts as the highest level Portfolio Kanban board that tracks all of the deliverables. The other 4 boards hold cards that are connected to a single card on the portfolio board. As the linked cards progress on their respective boards, the parent card keeps track of all it’s linked cards. The progress bars for each type of link keep the users on the main board informed about the overall progress. Once all the linked cards are in a Done state in their respective board, the progress bar is fully green. This is a clear signal that all linked cards are now completed.

Please find below a short video to illustrate this concept of linking cards…

We continue on our journey to help organizations find better ways to visualize their work using Kanban, and with linked cards, all work is clearly connected and tracked. Don’t forget that our team of Kanban experts can help you organize your work in a way that is more Lean and Agile. Our goal is to instill the spirit of continuous improvement within specific processes or the entire organization… so that you can also become super effective.

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.