Where should an Issue with sub-tasks be in a Kanban board if all the subtasks are in different states?

Hey Guys,

We have recently moved to using a Kanban board in JIRA. Many of our engineers use sub-tasks to organise their work and each of these sub-tasks could potentially be in a different swim lane. My question is where the parent task should be during this time? So, lets take an example:

  • Story X - ???
    • Sub-task 1 is In Progress
    • Sub-task 2 is In Code Review
    • Sub-task 3 is Blocked

What status should Story X be in at this point?

Any advice or recommendations would be much appreciated.

Cheers, Phil.

3 answers

I can tell you how we handle this at my company;

SubTasks are considered very small units of work that make up a story, that in themselves can not really be tested. Therefore they only have To do, In progress and Done status. (This is an important def.)

Stories go through a full 'life cycle' adding QA, UAT and planned for release. i.e. we test/implement at the Story level, not the subtask.

With this in mind, any time a subtask is moved to 'In Progress' we consider the Story 'in progress'. The Story can not be moved to QA until all subtasks are completed (Done), and yes, If a subtask is 'blocked/flagged' so is the Story.

If you define subtasks differently, this approach will need to be modified.

Hope this helps.

0 votes

That depends on the workflow for the Story and how you want to handle it!

Story X there is clearly not in a "to do" or "done" column, but I don't know what your process for stories is, so I can't tell you where it might best land.

Thanks Nic. I guess the fact that the sub-tasks are all in progress means that Story X is in progress but should it remain there if sub-task 3 is blocked? It feels like Story X maybe shouldn't be on the board at all but then it is difficult to identify the sub-tasks with their parent.

That's the difficulty for me - I don't know what your process is, or how you want to represent issues that have a mixed set of sub-tasks!

My instinct would be to keep the stories on the board, and script something that sets the "impediment flag" on a parent whenever a sub-task is transitioned into "blocked" - that way you still get to see everything

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