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Use the GitHub Projects kanban to manage the product backlog and sprints. Product backlog management and sprint management are two of the most critical tasks for product owners. There are other tools, like Jira, but with GitHub could make it easier for technical teams to get started with kanban and improve their delivery.

The 4 keys to a great product backlog

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How to use the GitHub Projects Kanban?

1. Create issues as usual.

Create the issues that form your product backlog in the usual way. I usually do this from the issues tab. Github issues can be used to log work needed as user stories, epics or tasks. GitHub does not natively differentiate amongst different work types, but you can use labels for this.

If you write user stories, I would not recommend using the user story format as the title of the issue, as the text would be hard to read. Instead, use descriptive issue titles and write the complete user story in the issue description.

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2. Create and see projects on the new Projects tab

GitHub now has a project tab where you can see the different projects associated with your repository. You can have as many projects as you need in each repository, so this opens up a whole world of possibilities in terms of processes and structures.

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3. Create your Kanban Board’s columns

The standard is TO DO – DOING – DONE but GitHub is flexible and it lets you create the columns that best fit your team’s practices. For example, you can add a REVIEW column if you do code reviews in your pull requests or product reviews before deployment. I always stress that the tools and processes are at the service of the people working in the team, so adapt and change the columns until you find a configuration that works. More on this on my post about Kanban Boards.

How to create the perfect kanban board for your team

Read this to learn more!

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4. Add and move cards

You can add new cards or convert existing GitHub issues into cards. Add a title, create a description that matches your requirements for ready work, and let members of your team move the cards across the boards as they advance in their work.

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5.  Seamless

You can see the status of each issue not just from the Kanban Board, but also from the detail view on GitHub. This way teams are not forced to change the way they interact with GitHub.

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Kanban has become the de facto way to visualize progress on a product backlog, and many teams already use GitHub to manage their code repositories. Bringing Kanban to GitHub will rarely be a competition for more complete and specific project management tools (such as Jira by Atlassian) but will surely help the less structured teams get started with best practices and enjoy the benefits it helps the teams achieve.

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