INTRODUCTION

    Simple Agile Boards is an addon for JIRA Cloud that gives users the ability to create Kanban-style boards with arbitrary columns and swimlanes.

    Boards can span multiple projects and can be configured with any columns you want, independent of the JIRA Issue Workflow.

    At this time, Simple Agile Boards is not a replacement for the JIRA Agile Boards that ship with JIRA itself. Instead, you should look at it as a way to augment your teams workflow by providing boards that can live independent of the standard Issue workflow, making it perfect for Sales / QA / DevOps and other teams that live side-by-side with developers but don't need to adhere to the same development workflow.

    SETTING UP A NEW BOARD

    To get started, we need to create a new board. Visit the board list either via the menu item in the main JIRA header, or via the project sidebar.

    The Simple Agile link in the JIRA header shows all boards, while the link in the project sideber shows only boards that include the current project you're viewing.

    The starting point for Simple Agile boards is always the board list. It shows you the boards that have been created, split by Personal Boards (you are the only one with access to it) and Shared Boards (either everyone within a project, or only specific groups have access to these boards).





    Clicking on "Create Board" starts the board creation wizard, and steps you through the initial screens to create a board.



    The wizard will guide you through picking a board type, naming your board, and defininig what issues should show in the board. Based on the board type selected, we either create some default columns to get you started quicker, or you select a few values to generate columns from.

    Once the board is created, you can see a review of what was done, and either use the board immediately, or customize it further.



    A Note about Default Permissions

    By default, all boards start out being shared with everyone in a project. To restrict a board to be personal (only you) or to a specific set of groups, you will need to change the board permissions.
    See the Sharing Boards section of the documentation for more details.

    BOARD TYPES EXPLAINED

    When going through the board creation wizard, you will notice a screen asking you to select one of the various board types.



    Simple Agile Boards currently supports 4 different board types.
    These board types currently fall into 2 distinct flavors.
    "Freeform" boards which allow for arbitrary columns, and "Field-based" boards, which map columns to a specific issue field like Assignee or Priority.


    Simple Board

    Simple Boards allow for arbitrary columns. You can have as many as you want, and you can name them however you want. Similar to how Trello works in this regard. Issues can be moved between columns at will without any restrictions or limitations.

    When selecting this board type, we create 4 default columns named "Today", "Tomorrow", "This Week", "Someday".


    Assginee Board

    Assignee Boards are tied to the assignee issue field. When using this board type, you select an initial set of assignees during the board creation, and we create a column for each assignee. Issues then get sorted into the column that corresponds to an assignee.

    Selecting assignees during the board creation looks like this:


    Priority Board

    Priority boards are tied to the priority issue field. When using this board type, you select an initial set of priorities during the board creation, and we create a column for each priority. Issues then get sorted into the column that corresponds to their current priority.


    Issue Type Board

    Issue Type boards are tied to the issue type field. When using this board type, you select an initial set of issue types during the board creation, and we create a column for each issue type. Issues then get sorted into the column that corresponds to their current issue type.



    NOTE: Board Types cannot be changed after creation

    Once a board is created, you cannot change the board type. This means once created, you can change the actual columns and their values, but you cannot change the type of columns you have from say Assginee Based columns to Priority based columns. For more details, see the Column Configuration section.

    What about other fields like versions, components, statuses?

    We are planning on adding support for other 'single value' fields soon. Fields that can contain multiple values like versions, components, etc are a bit trickier and we're working through the design and usability of those at the moment. They are definitely on our Roadmap, we simply don't have an ETA for them yet.

    Due to technical limitations, we currently don't support mapping a board (and columns) to JIRA workflows. It's on our roadmap, but Atlassian doesn't provide a good way for us to show the related issue transition screens when moving an issue through the workflow. This means we would have to manually recreate all those screens, which would ultimately lead to a suboptimatal user experience.

    SELECTING PROJECTS AND FILTERS

    Boards can be tied to as many projects as you want.


    The projects you select determine the Issues you can include in a board. We automatically create a JQL query that uses the selected projects as a precursor to anything else. Thus, if you select 2 projects (ABC and TL for example), the board will only ever show issues from those 2 projects, no matter what additional fitlers or JQL queries you provide.

    DO I HAVE TO PICK A PROJECT? CAN I SKIP IT?

    The short answer is yes, you have to pick at least 1 project, and you cannot skip it.

    The more elaborate answer is that due to limitations with the JIRA Cloud REST API, we can't easily determine all the users and issues that are included in a particular filter in an acceptable manner. The user experience would suffer and the addon would perform rather slowly while we wait on answers from the JIRA REST API. Thus we opted to limit queries to a set of selected projects.

    Besides projects, you can provide an existing filter, or use a custom JQL query to further filter the issues that should show up in a board. In both cases, we take the underlying JQL query, and combine it with the selected projects, thus the filter/query you pick are automatically limited to the selected projects.

    You can always omit the filter or JQL query, in which case the default query is all issues from the selected projects.


    NOTE: WE REFERENCE THE FILTERS YOU SELECT

    Do note, we reference the filters and projects you select. This means, if you change the filter, that a board references, the board itself will show the issues associated with the changed filter. Similarly, since columns could be assignee based, a change to a filter (or deletion of a project) could result in a board having columns with assignees that are no longer valid. See the Column Configuration section for more details.

    COLUMN CONFIGURATION

    All boards can be configured with an arbitrary set of columns.

    To add a column, simply click on the "Add Column" button, and a new column is inserted to the right. Since you can add as many columns as you want, the Column configuration screen (and the actual board view) eventually scroll horizontally when you exceed the available space.

    Columns can be named anything you wish by simply editing the name.


    Columns can also be moved by using the drag handle in the left upper corner of a column. Simply drag the column to the desired spot to rearrange them.


    Deleting a column is just as straightforward. Click the trash icon, and confirm the deletion.

    NOTE: CHANGES ONLY PERSIST WHEN SAVING, BUT CANNOT BE UNDONE

    You can make changes to the column configuration anytime. Any changes you make don't persist until you actually save the board. Once you save your changes however, they cannot be undone. This primarily impacts the deletion of a column. Once deleted, we clear the database from all values related to that column, and this cannot be rolled back.

    Columns currently come in 2 flavors: Free-form and Field-based. Free-form columns are available when selecting "Simple Boards", while Field-based columns are available when selecting an Assignee Board, a Priority Board, or an Issue Type board.

    The effects / features / limitations of each column type are described below:


    Free Form Columns

    Free-form columns allow you to move issues between columns at will without any restrictions, similar to how Trello works. When you move issues between free-form columns, we store the column the issue is assigned to behind the scenes, and the issue itself is never changed.

    Note that boards with free-form columns automatically receive an "Inbox" column. This column aggregates all issues within the board that are not currently assigned to one of the other columns.


    Field based Columns

    Field-based columns are tied to an issue field, and each column is assigned one of the values for the selected field.

    Issues are automatically sorted into the column that matches the field value, and when an issue is moved between columns, the issue field is updated.

    For example:
    If you have an Assignee Board, with say 3 columns, one for user "Anthony", one for user "Jordan", and one for user "John". Issues will automatically show up in the column that matches the current assignee. If you then move an issue from the "Anthony" column to the "Jordan" column, this would reassign the issue to Jordan.

    To configure field based columns, you add the columns via the "Add Column" button, give the column a name, and then drag one of the field values from the uncategorized section onto the column.

    Each column must have a value.
    Additionally, any values that remain uncategorized (not mapped to a column) will be excluded from the board. This means, in the above example, if you have an assignee named "Tom", any issues currently assigned to "Tom" would not show on the board, since "Tom" is not represented in any of the columns.

    CAN I HAVE MORE THAN 1 VALUE PER COLUMN?

    At the moment, columns only support a single value. We have plans to add multi-value support on our Roadmap. We're still trying to solve some of the usability and design issues with it.

    CAN I CHANGE THE TYPE OF COLUMNS I HAVE IN A BOARD?

    At this time, it is not possible to change the type of columns a board has from Free-form to field based, or vice-versa. You can however change which field the columns are tied to.

    NOTE: SELECTED PROJECTS IMPACT POSSIBLE FIELD VALUES

    The projects you've selected for a board impact which Assignees you can pick for Assignee based columns. We automatically filter out users that can't be assigned to an issue in the selected projects.

    SWIMLANE CONFIGURATION

    By default, boards have swimlanes disabled, but all boards can be configured to contain swimlanes.

    To add a lane, simply click on the "Add Swimlane" button, and a new lane is inserted at the bottom of the list. Since you can add as many lanes as you want, the Lane configuration screen (and the actual board view) eventually scroll vertically when you exceed the available space.

    Lanes can be named anything you wish by simply editing the name.


    Lanes can also be moved by using the drag handle in the left upper corner of a lane. Simply drag the lane to the desired spot to rearrange them.


    Deleting a lane is just as straightforward. Click the trash icon, and confirm the deletion.

    NOTE: CHANGES ONLY PERSIST WHEN SAVING, BUT CANNOT BE UNDONE

    You can make changes to the lane configuration anytime. Any changes you make don't persist until you actually save the board. Once you save your changes however, they cannot be undone. This primarily impacts the deletion of a lane. Once deleted, we clear the database from all values related to that lane, and this cannot be rolled back.

    Swimlanes currently come in 2 flavors: Free-form and Field-based. Both lane types are available on all boards.


    Free Form Swimlanes

    Free-form lanes allows you to create any lanes you want, and name them however you want. You can move issues between lanes at will without any restrictions. We automatically store the lane an issue is assigned to behind the scenes, and the issue itself is never changed.

    Note that boards with free-form lanes automatically receive an "Inbox" lane. This swimlane aggregates all issues within the board that are not currently assigned to one of the other swimlanes.


    Field based Swimlanes

    Field-based lanes are tied to an issue field, and each lane is assigned one of the values for the selected field.

    Issues are automatically sorted into the lane that matches the field value, and when an issue is moved between lanes, the issue field is updated.

    For example:
    If you have a Priority Board, with say 3 swimlanes, one for "Blocker", one for "Major", and one for "Minor", then issues will automatically show up in the swimlanes that matches the current priority. If you then move an issue from the "Minor" swimlane to the "Blocker" swimlane, this would change the priority of the issue to "Blocker".

    To configure field based swimlanes, select the corresponding option, and add the lanes via the "Add Swimlane" button, give the swimlane a name, and then drag one of the field values from the uncategorized section onto the lane.

    Each lane must have a value.
    Additionally, any values that remain uncategorized (not mapped to a swimlane) will be excluded from the board. This means, in the above example, if you have an issue with "Critical" priority, it would not show on the board, since "Critical" is not represented in any of the swimlanes.

    CAN I HAVE MORE THAN 1 VALUE PER LANE?

    At the moment, Swimlanes only support a single value. We have plans to add multi-value support on our Roadmap. We're still trying to solve some of the usability and design issues with it.

    CAN I CHANGE THE TYPE OF SWIMLANES I HAVE IN A BOARD?

    You can change the type of swimlane at any time without restrictions. You can remove swimlanes entirely by simply selecting no-lanes, or you can switch between free-form and field-based swimlanes anytime. Of course, you can also change which field your swimlanes are tied to.

    It is possible to configure a board with Columns AND Lanes tied to different fields. For example, you could have a board with columns based on Assignee, and swimlanes based on issue priority.
    In this scenario, you can move issues between columns AND lanes at the same time, and we automatically update both fields (assignee and priority in this example) at the same time.

    SHARING BOARDS

    By default, boards are open to everyone within a project. For boards that use multiple projects, this means the board is open to everyone in all the projects the board it tied to.

    You can change the board permissions by editing the board, and navigating to the Permissions screen.

    From here, you can mark a board as private, in which case only the creator of the board has access to it, or you can change the board to only be shared with a specific set of groups.

    In this case, only members of the selected groups can see/interact with the board.

    CAN I RESTRICT WHAT USERS CAN DO IN A BOARD?

    At the moment, permissions are not that granular. Anyone with access to the board can see it, move issues, edit the board, or even delete it. In the future, we will be adding more granular permissions to provide ways to lock down a board and decide what kind of actions users can take.

    BOARD LIST

    The board list is the starting point for interacting with Simple Agile boards. It shows you the boards that have been created, split by Personal Boards (you are the only one with access to it) and Shared Boards (either everyone within a project, or only specific groups have access to these boards).

    For an explanation of the various board types and icons, see the Board Types section above.

    To delete a board, simply hover the mouse over a board, and you'll see an action bar on the right for editing and deleting boards.

    Clicking the edit button launches into the board edit screens, while the trash button shows you a delete confirmation.

    IMPORTANT: DELETING IS PERMANENT

    Deleting a board is permanent and cannot be undone.

    To view a board, simply click it, and the board view will come up.

    VIEWING A BOARD

    Viewing a board look like this:

    Anatomy of a board

    Boards consist of 4 sections:


    At the top you'll find the board header, which shows you which board is being viewed, and allows for quick navigation between boards via the boards dropdown on the board name.


    Below the header you find the board content, with the "Inbox" column on the left, the user defined columns and lanes in the center, and the issues sidebar on the right.

    Columns & Lanes

    Unlike JIRA Agile, Simple Agile Boards scroll horizontally, giving you more room for columns without squishing them.

    For added convenience, columns and swimlanesane can also be collapsed.



    Collapsed columns and lanes show a rolled up count of issues within the lane or column respectively. In the board header, you will find a convenient function to toggle collapsed columns to either show the rolled up issue count, or to show mini-cards for the issues each column.


    Of course, you can drag those same mini-cards between columns and lanes, thus making it easy to collapse columns you don't currently need, without losing easy access to the issues in them.

    MOVING ISSUES BETWEEN COLUMNS (AND LANES)

    To move issues between Columns and/or Lanes, simply start dragging an issue card from one column to another, or from one lane to another.

    When dragging an issue, a column and/or lanes will highlight in green when an issue can be dragged there.



    It's also possible to drag issues to a collapsed column.



    If an issue cannot be dropped on a specific column or lane, we show a red indicator to let you know that the action is invalid.


    Reminder: you can also drag between columns AND lanes at the same time.

    A NOTE ABOUT LIMITATIONS WHEN MOVING ISSUES

    Since Boards can contain multiple projects, it's possible that a user isn't a valid assignee in one of the projects. Thus, on Assginee Boards, issues can only be moved between columns if the issue can be assigneed to the user in the column.

    On Simple Boards, this is not a problem, and issues can be moved between any of the columns, without limitations.

    INBOX COLUMN/LANE EXPLAINED

    Simple Boards (with free-form columns), receive an "Inbox" column to the left of all columns.

    This column is somewhat special, in the sense that it automatically aggregates all the issues not currently assigned to one of the other columns.

    Unlike Field-based columns, on free-form columns we can't identify an initial column where an issue should show up, thus we sort it into an "Inbox".

    Issues can be moved between the inbox and any of the columns without restrictions. Similarly, you can always move an issue from one of the columns back to the Inbox.

    Since the inbox could potentially contain hundreds of issues, it scrolls independently of the other columns, and comes with it's own pagination.

    DON'T SEE AN INBOX IN YOUR BOARD? HERE IS WHY

    If you're looking at a board that doesn't have an inbox, you're most likely looking at a board that is tied to an issue field. Since field based columns make it easy for us to decide which column an issue should be assigned to, we don't need an Inbox column.

    Similar to columns, free-form swimlanes also have a special swimlane that aggregates uncategorized issues. To avoid naming conflicts, we call this swimlane the "Uncategorized" Lane.
    Functionality for this swimlane is the same as for the inbox column. Issues not assigned to one of the other lanes automatically collect in this lane. The Uncategorized lane shows at the bottom, as the last lane.

    VIEWING ISSUE DETAILS IN THE SIDEBAR

    Clicking any issue on the board highlights the issues, and brings up the issue details sidebar.

    To dismiss the sidebar, simply click the "X" icon in the right upper corner.

    LIMITATIONS OF THE SIDEBAR

    As of this writing, the details sidebar is read-only and doesn't provide a way to interact with the issue it is showing.

    Future iterations will add edit functionality for the issues fields, as well as additional sections like comments and files.

    For issue transitions, technical limitations in JIRA cloud currently prevent us from implementing issue transition screens without completely recreating all of the issue transition screens that exist in JIRA. A task that is near impossible, leaving us at the mercy of Atlassian while we wait for functionality to catch up.

    SUPPORT

    Running into issues with our addon? Or just want some helping getting started?

    Reach out to our Support Team, and we'll happily setup a 1-on-1 call or screenshare to walk you through things, and help you get your issues addressed.

    FEATURE REQUESTS

    Like our addon but found a feature missing?

    Take a look at our support channels, and tell us about it. We're always looking for ways to expand the functionality of our addon to better serve customer needs.

    ROADMAP

    The good news is, we have a Roadmap of features that are coming.

    The bad news is, it's more of a guideline of what we want, and no guarantee and subject to change. If you see something on the roadmap that is dear and important to you, let us know, as it gives us a better idea of things to prioritize.