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How to Create Kanban Boards in Jira

Jack Wallen will show you how easy it is to create a Kanban board for your Jira project.

Workflow concept vector illustration
Image: Visual Generation / Adobe Stack

If you’re looking for a project management platform that includes every bell and whistle you can imagine, Jira should bubble to the top of your list. With this service, you get access to guidelines, backlogs, project pages, automation, templates and more.

And, of course, no project management tool is complete without my favorite feature: Kanban Boards.

See: Hiring Kit: Project Manager (Tech Republic Premium)

If you’ve never experienced a Kanban board, they are one of the simplest and most effective tools in your project management toolbox. Kanban Boards provide a visual representation of the status of each task in the project and allow you to drag and drop those projects into the milestone timeline.

For those who work with Jira, Kanban boards can be an important feature you use. However, with Jira, Kanban boards can be a little tricky because it depends on how you set up your project.

For example, if your project is a software project type and includes sprints, you can’t work with boards until you start your first sprint. On the other hand, if you are working with a non-software project type, boards are not built-in, they are added by default and ready to go.

With that said, let’s walk through the process of creating a new Kanban board in Jira. I demonstrate using a standard business plan that does not rely on setting up and launching Sprint first.

What do you need

All you need is a Jira Account. You can use a free or paid plan as it includes Kanban boards.

How to Create Your First Kanban Board

As I said, most of the projects you create in Jira are already built with Kanban boards. In fact, if you go to the features page for your project (Figure A), You find that you cannot disable the board feature.

Figure A

The features section for the software project includes boards, which cannot be disabled.

In the project sidebar, you’ll notice that the board option is already available (Image b)

Image b

This is a business project sidebar that already includes boards.

Another thing I want to mention is that at least on the Business Project page, you don’t have access to the feature selection, which means you get what you see.

Click the board in the left sidebar to reveal the default Kanban board layout (Figure c)

Figure c

Our default Jira Kanban board layout.

The first thing you need to do is click Create your first item and then type some details for the function (Figure D)

Figure D

Adding the first item to the Kanban Board.

Here we face our first problem: columns. Whether or not you can customize the columns for your board depends on how the project is created.

If you want to customize your Kanban boards, click the Projects drop-down and select Create Project from the menu. You can then click on the Kanban option and then select the Company-managed project and make sure to click (Picture e), Which gives you the option to customize the board.

Picture e

Creating a company-managed plan in Jira.

Once you’ve created a plan, you should see a three-dot menu on the top right of your board. Click it and select Board Settings (Figure f)

Figure f

Accessing the Board Settings window on the Jira project.

In the result window (Figure G), Then you can add as many columns as needed and rename existing columns.

Figure G

Customizing the Jira Kanban Board.

Customization of Jira Kanban Boards is the only thing that can break you with the service. Other than that, using the Jira Kanban option should be as simple and powerful as you have ever used it.

It may take you a while to build and customize your boards, but once you nail that process, these boards are stellar to work with.

For all the latest technical advice from Jack Wallen to business pros, subscribe to How to Make Tech Republic’s Tech Work on YouTube.

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