How can a Kanban team prioritize a single backlog with multiple projects?

We have a Kanban team responsible for developing/maintaining several projects. I'd like to know if there is a way in JIRA/Greenhopper to create a single backlog showing issues for all projects. Ideally, I could pull up this backlog in our prioritization meetings and re-order our issues as needed. The Greenhopper Planning Board is exactly what I need - except it only shows one project. The plan mode of the Rapid Board sounds like it would do multiple projects, but it only works with scrum boards. :(

1) Does Atlassian plan to enable the Rapid Board plan mode for Kanban boards some time in the future?

2) Does anyone have a good way to address multi-project backlog prioritization until they do?



3 answers

1 accepted

Hi Jason,

The easiest way is probably to have two Kanban Rapid Boards, one for planning and one for day to day work. Both boards would use the same filter (and look at the same issues) but have different columns. The planning board might have two columns (for example 'Untriaged' and 'Triaged') while the work board might have many (for example 'Triaged', 'In Progress', 'In QA' and 'Done).

If you wanted to you could use the Scrum Rapid Board plan mode for this. The plan mode will show all issues that are not in a sprint but are in any status that is mapped to the work mode of the board other than the last column. So you could have a Scrum Rapid Board and put columns on its work mode that match your 'for triage' states with the 'done' state of your Kanban issues as the last column.


Thanks Shaun! I understood how to set up and use the boards, I just needed a little guidance on handling Kanban w/multiple projects. It looks like for now I'll have to use the Scrum board for prioritization, and a Kanban board for tracking work on each project.

Is there any plan to enable a multi-project Kanban rapid board?



I'm not sure what you mean Jason, all Rapid Boards support multiple projects. You can just go ahead and add all the projects you need to your Kanban Rapid Board (in this respect the Kanban and Scrum Rapid Boards are identical).

We'd like to add a plan mode to the Kanban Rapid Board, but it would probably end up being identical to what I've described above on a separate board (i.e two columns with Untriaged and Triaged on it).


Hi Shaun,

Thanks for the info! Also - I think I understand your confusion about my question. When I say "Planning Board", I'm not referring to a Rapid Board. I'm referring to the 1st option under the "Agile" menu item. Unless I've missed it, the Planning Board in JIRA 5.1 will not display issues from multiple projects simultaneously. I tried setting up filters with "All issues from All projects", and yet in the Planning Board I can only see the active project.

Yes, that's absolutely true, the Planning / Task / Chart and Released boards can only ever show one project at a time. We're not actively improving those boards and eventually plan to move everything to the Rapid Board.


I believe Kanban still does not support the Plan Board. If you want to plan your backlog, you should use Scrum. This is working for us in Jira 5.0.2 with Greenhopper 5.10.

I understand scrum boards support the plan mode, but we aren't a scrum team (and don't want to be). I just need a prioritized list so developers can pull the most important issues off the top as they finish old issues. Can we use a scrum board for prioritization and still work as a Kanban team?

In that case, you can stick to Kanban and use drag and drop to prioritize the tickets and move them through your workflow statuses. You can modify the filter used by your Kanban board to include multiple projects and also you can create swimlanes in case you want to group tickets based on, let's say, their jira priority or assignee.

You can find a short video on how to use Greenhopper for both Kanban and Scrum here:

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