How to limit TODO items on a kanban board

Hello! We are a team working on different projects and different versions at the same time. Release cycles can be as short as few days or as long as few months depending on particular project and item. We use Kanban board to plan and visualize our workload. However we have a problem - there are too many todo items on the board. Every assigned item which has not yet started becomes a todo item and for some items we would like to assign well in advance (even if assignment can change later). We have no way to pick items from backlog to put them onto the board so the whole backlog with assigned release versions appears on the board.

Without actually having any "sprints" we would like to identify a number of items to be displayed as a set of next "todo" items. How can we do this efficiently? We are considering labels like "TeamName ToDo 1st half of may 2015", "TeamName ToDo 2nd half of may 2015" and updating the filter on a kanban board every 2 weeks. Are there any better options? How do most of Kanban users limit their "TODO" section?

2 answers

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You've sketched out one way that people do it - a board filter which says "show me issues in status new with field = x, and all issues in other status"

Another option is the workflow change - you have a distinct "new" and "to do" status - don't put "new" in the to-do column, people have to accept new items into the backlog by moving them into "to do" status.

However you do it though, you are committing to a process that means you need to do a manual "triage" of items to make sure they are flagged for appearing in the todo list somehow.

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Triage is good. If you want some extra filtering, I have an additional suggestion.

If you maintain Due Dates for your issues, you could set up a quick filter (or set up a swimlane, it's up to you) that shows you only issues that need to be done in the next 2 weeks or so. No need to constantly update filters either if you do it like this: 

status = "To Do" AND duedate <= 14d

 

 

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