Kendis is the one place to plan and track program level releases, manage dependencies and mitigate risks. It is equipped with a flexible board that displays work items from your ALM projects. This is done by using filters, or boards of ALM (Agile Lifecycle management) tools and provides a holistic view of the teams items.  

Kendis integrates well with Atlassian’s Jira software. 

At the team or program level, development teams use Jira for efficient planning and tracking. But for planning at portfolio level, Kendis is the best choice.

With Kendis you can:

  • Plan program portfolio items that need to work on 
  • Program Increment planning and tracking
  • Tracking Releases and subsequent items 
  • Handle dependencies and risks
  • Change a work item status and sync back
  • Create new work items 

In this article we will walk  you through on how to create a digital program board that is integrated with JIRA.

Tip: To configure ALM account and sync data with the team tool, setup a connection. Configuring connection details are explained at step 4.

Guide to Create Program Board

Before you can get started on creating a board, you need to have a workspace. A Workspace is like a group of boards. You can keep a name of a workspace to represent, programs, solution or portfolio. Boards under workspace can not be moved across different workspaces, so make sure you select the correct area to create a board. A default workspace is provided for the users to get them started.

Note: To create a new workspace, first create the workspace by navigating to left navigation menu > Settings > Workspaces > Add Workspace

1. Choose A Workspace

1.1 Click on the top left menu “Kendis” icon, to look for available workspaces. 

1.2 Choose a workspace. 

2. Selecting a Board Type

Create a board by clicking on the “+ New Board” button. 

  2.1 Decide the purpose of your board and select type of board accordingly. 

Kendis allows you to select from widely used scaling models such as: 

  • SAFe Program Board
  • Spotify Agile Model 
  • Scrum Of Scrums
  • Custom Board

3.Choose JIRA connection or Simple Configuration

  •   Name your board 
  •   Select one of the available board configurations:
  1. Simple Configuration without Jira:  By selecting this option, you will be working in Kendis and your data will remain only in Kendis. It will not sync with an ALM tool. But not to fear. You can configure your Kendis board with Jira anytime.
  2. Advanced configuration with Jira: This Jira Configuration allows a two-way sync that lets you fetch data from Jira and visualize it to your Kendis board while also reflects Kendis changes back to Jira. 

4. JIRA Connection Details

Click on the "+” button to add:

  • Account Name: This is to identify and remember the connection details. Type any string value like "JIRA-Connection-A"
  • URL: Type the url for your JIRA instance, e.g., https://examplesite.atlassian.net
  • Username: Type the username that you use to login to JIRA. This user must have rights to access the API at JIRA.
  • Password: Type the password of your JIRA account. 

Note: All of the fields need to be filled in order to proceed.  

After entering the details, click on the "Test Connection" button. In case of success, you will see a message that says “Test Successful”. 

Configure your Jira project values for the following Kendis fields. 

  • Story Points: Select the Jira field that you use for Story Points. The drop down will list all the the fields present in your JIRA connection. 
  • Due Date: Select a Jira field that you use for the due date in your Jira projects. Due date field is essential to proceed. If you haven’t used a due date yet, then enable or create such field in your Jira Projects first.

Click "Save". Your connection values are saved. 

Note: Make sure that webhook is configured from Jira to Kendis.  

5. Define Items - Parent-Child linking

Kendis supports 2 level item hierarchy i.e., parent and child linking. You can name Kendis items as you want to see in the board.  It could be any term that suits your scaling model. Some of the examples are Enabler, Feature, Epic, etc. 

Tip: Define a filter in Jira that fetches items that you want to see here as Parent items. Name item type accordingly here.

By default you will see 

  • Parent card label will be mentioned as "Feature". 
  • Child item will be labelled as "Story"
  • Select the items’ workflow from the given list. Kendis workflow is only applicable within Kendis on its card types. You can add multiple statues to your Workflow. Each status should be assigned to a category. Provided categories are: Todo, In Progress, Done or Misc. Workflow linking to a board cannot be changed later. 

Note: To define a new workflow in Kendis, navigate to left side menu > Settings > Workflows > Add Workflow

Important:

Under the Feature and Story labels, you will see the "Default workflow" selection. This will only be used when you create "Local Kendis" cards. When features are fetched from Jira, then the Jira item workflow will be used in Kendis too. So if a feature has status "A, B, C", the same status will be shown in Kendis. 

6. Add Teams 

Select a team from the given list of teams or add a team directly from the board. Multiple teams can be added per board(session). Remember that selection of teams is important as data on the board is shown per team. 

A Team is linked to a Jira Project and board. These configurations will be set in step 12, once board structure is defined. 

7. Add Sprints

Add new sprints by giving it a name, label, start and an end date. All given fields are editable for now. These settings are only applicable for the board on Kendis. You can map sprint names with your projects in Jira by editing board settings before updating Jira data in Kendis. 

Click Next to preview the board.

8. Preview Board

A snapshot of the board will appear which will display board preview. Items are grouped per team and each column will depict a sprint. 

Kendis board preview, where Teams, Sprint and Feature position is defined. Using settings, configure board contents.

9.Configure Kendis Board with Jira filters, Teams, and Sprints

You’re almost done with setting up your board on Kendis. The structure is finalized and now the next steps will guide you on how to map the data set fetched from Jira. With the Jira configuration, you will set up board filters, teams and sprints. These steps are crucial to take full advantage of the digital board.

  • On the board, select the Settings icon located at top right corner of the board > Edit board settings > Teams 

 -  Follow these next steps to map Jira data with the Kendis board.

10.Map Board Settings - Define Backlog Filter

To get existing Jira features (Kendis parent item type) for your program board, you can select one or more from Jira’s saved filters. 

Prerequisite: 

  1. Search the filters and Save Filters in your ALM(e.g., Jira) so that Kendis can fetch the data. 
  2. Connection between ALM and Kendis is configured in Kendis already

Important Points

  • Make sure that the JIRA filter is not set to private and it is accessible by others.
  • The JIRA filter is marked as "favourite"

Mapping Steps:

  1. Click on Settings>Edit Board Details >  “Backlog Filters” tab from popup
  2. Search the Jira filter by typing its name in the search bar
  1. Once you select the filter, number of records count will be fetched from Jira
  2. Select  a “Kendis Card Type” for Parent item card of your board.

3. To check the details, click on the “View Filters in Jira”. It will open the filter in JIRA. 

11. Define Linking for Each Project Items

Jira records are fetched based on Filter query hence, parent items (features) can be in one or more Project backlogs in JIRA. 

Note: Make sure that you Jira filter fetches only parent items e.g., features and child items are not included there. Linked child items will be automatically fetched to Kendis, based on  your selection of Link Type. 

All Projects of the filter will be listed separately on the pop-up. Select Link Type for each project involved. This link type will define which child items should be fetched along and will be displayed under parent card.  

Available Link Type options are fetched from Jira.

Important:

  • When features are imported into Kendis, all of the items that are linked to the features with the selected linking type will be imported as children. 
  • While fetching, Item types of the linked items will be ignored. That is, if you have linked Stories, Bugs or other item types then all of those items will be imported as "children" items.
  • If your program features are defined as epics and the team stories are linked to it, then choose "Epic Link".

12. Define Teams 

Teams can be modelled effortlessly in Kendis. They don't map directly to any "team" object in JIRA so you have full flexibility mimicking that of a physical board. You can just name the team swimlane as you like.

To create a team, fill in the details

  • Team Title: The full name of the team
  • Team Label: Choose the color of the team and a short name. The feature card shows, the team label and color of the team once the they pick up the stories for the features.
  • Choose to "Sync" with JIRA or keep it local at Kendis. A grey sync icon indicates no syncing. If the color of the icon changes to green, it tells that sync with Jira is switched on. 
  • Click on Team > settings icon > Sync to Jira to change these settings.
  • In case of Sync with JIRA

Kendis is flexible in creating criteria for your teams. A Team is linked to only one Jira project and board. Kendis will fetch all Jira child items that are part of the project and board you mentioned under Team. If you create a child item and drop it to the team on the board, it will create such item in Jira as well.

  • Project Key: Select the project from where you want to fetch linked child items. Only one project can be selected for each team. 
  • Select Board: based on your project selection, list of relevant saved boards will be fetched from Jira. Select a board as the source, from where child items will be fetched. Creating a new child item under a team will create the same item in the configured Jira board.
  • Select Type: Select the default Item Type for the child item creation drop down. These item type options are fetched from the Jira project and you can choose from any of the available choices at creation of a child item. 
  • Sync to Jira Sprint:  Map Jira sprints with Kendis board sprints.  This setting is vital for creating new work items directly under a specific sprint. The new child item will be immediately created in the mapped Jira sprint. 

13. Map with Jira Sprints 

To map Kendis board sprints with Jira, select the drop down under each sprint column. It will consist of all the active or future Jira sprints. 

  • Creating a new item within a sprint panel has three different behaviours which are:
  • No Container - The item will not be synced back with Jira and all the changes made will remain only on the Kendis board.
  • Create new sprint in Jira - Creates a new sprint in Jira and the name of the Jira Sprint will be the same as used in Kendis. It is good practice to choose sprint names carefully at first. Click on Sprints tab, to edit a sprint name, date, and label. 
  • Map with existing Jira Sprint - You can map an existing sprint in Kendis with an active or an upcoming Jira sprint. Map the sprint with Kendis and any item changes under this sprint column will be reflected back in Jira mapped sprint immediately.

14. Define Place of Newly Added Feature(s) 

Features (Parent work item) can be in one or more Project backlogs in JIRA. You can select various where you want to create new features. 

  • Click on the “Create New” tab from the settings pop-up menu
  • Add projects 
  • Project values are
  • Project Key: Select the project where you want to create your features. Note: If a project is not listed in the drop down menu then check the user access to the projects. Project list is populated from the user who has given the credentials under Jira Connect (ALM account) setting. The projects are accessible can be updated. Any user can create an ALM account.
  • Select Board:  Select the saved Jira board for your features backlog.
  • Select Type: Select the Issue Type in JIRA for your features(parent item). The list is populated from your selection for project and board.
  • Sprint: It's an optional field which can be useful if you want to create new features directly under specific sprint.

15. Sync Data with Jira: 

  • At the start of a session, Kendis fetches data from Jira.  
  • If Jira connect is functional, any changes made on the Kendis board will update items in Jira as well. 
  • To make sure that latest Jira changes are shown on Kendis board then use the green sync button on the item card level and on the board’s left side panels level. Sync button appears when user mouses over on a card or panel top. If syncing does not show updated items then, check if Jira webhook is configured correctly.

All is set now to start working on your Kendis board. Go back to Kendis board and enjoy the dynamic digital board experience. 

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