When is the perfect time to introduce acceptance criteria in #Kanban?

P have posted this question due there is not mention in Kanban about when is the perfect moment to introduce Acceptance Criteria into work item.

Acceptance criteria


By Marion Ruth

Business Systems Analyst – Senior Specialist at McKesson (MTS/MHS)

I include AC with the Description – in a “Given/When/Then” format, when the ticket moves to (Development) Validation/Analysis
FYI – we use Atlassian/JIRA for our #Kanban board
Development validates the Description/AC prior to Engineer Ready. As the ticket moves across the board, the AC can be updated, as needed.


By Juan Velez Ballesteros

Web Development Manager in Huawei

The best time to introduce acceptance criteria or DoD is when the task or user story is on backlog or before this task is on the queue (ready) to be working on it.
It’s important to establish all the criteria before starting working on it because it will leave criteria and definition apart and this type con communication won’t be lean or agile.

By Paul Boos Software

Leadership Coach at Santeon Group

I’d take a slightly different tact than Juan’s recommendation.
I would set it as an entry criteria for a development/implementation column (or the ready queue just prior to it), AND I would still have an expectation that more criteria will be discovered and/or refined as it moves through development/implementation.


By Al Shalloway CEO Net Objectives

I am a big believer in introducing Acceptance Test-Driven Development as soon as possible. While it often requires a structural or process change, this is one that is virtually always good if the product owners/BAs-devs-testers will do it.

But, of course, the question begs what do you mean by “Kanban.” Not counting the small ‘k’ kanban (signal card) there are at least 4 different views of what Kanban is:
1) The Kanban Method, as espoused by David Anderson’s LKU
2) Lean-Kanban, Kanban within the larger context of Lean
3) Kanban at the team level (a method of managing a team or project with kanban
4) Open-Kanban, a holder for all Kanban approaches

The “creators” of Kanban, if there is such a thing, would have to include: Darren Davis, Dan Vicanti, Corey Ladas, David Anderson, and Jim Benson. There were several other early influencers. Let’s go through this group, as the answer you get will depend on what you believe Kanban is.

Before I go through these, let me be clear – I am not suggesting we ever come with pre-conceived notions and force them on someone. But very often, patterns we’ve seen can be applied to somewhere new and people will readily want to implement them.

1) the Kanban Method is a change management system. It takes the mindset to start where you are and use an evolutionary approach (kaizen). I have personally found this to be a somewhat limiting attitude. Nice that one can apply it anywhere, but often misses opportunities.

2) Kanban wthin the context of Lean. Interestingly enough. Taiici Ohno, creator of the Toyota Production Systems, says there are 4 things to do before implementing a kanban system (note, i’ve paraphrased these for the software world):

* Decrease the batch size of work by attending to the core value needed
* Limit the amount of work hitting the team to match their overall capacity
* Attempt to create teams to the extent possible
* Improve the order of the workflow (e.g., integrate coding and test or use ATDD)

I wrote a blog a few months ago “Extending the Kanban Method – Updated” discussing this. www.netobjectives.com/blogs/extending-kanban-method-updated

Interesting that one of the case studies presented by LKUers re success of the Kanban Method is Siemens, which recently wrote up their experience – see Kanban at Scale ā€“ A Siemens Success Story www.infoq.com/articles/kanban-siemens-health-services (a fabulous article). Note how Siemens did revolutionary change prior to implementing the Kanban method for sustained improvement.

3) Kanban at the team level (a method of managing a team or project with kanban. One can think of Kanban as just a tool in the toolbox that one can apply to any flow of work. Very useful in many cases.

4) Open-Kanban, a holder for all Kanban approaches. Joseph Hurtado has been promoting this as a way to be inclusive. See http://agilelion.com/agile-kanban-cafe/open-kanban I like what I’ve seen.

If you haven’t guessed, I am really a Lean person. I use all of the above Kanbans as appropriate.

For more on ATDD, see www.netobjectives.com/atdd

Mario Lucero

Mario Lucero

I am all about helping companies to adopt agile as methodology in Chile.


I believe many organizations think that agile is not for Chilean companies because of Chilean culture is totally
different from i.e. USA culture but I worked with Chilean professionals who after using agile realized it is feasible
to implement it.

Agile works in small and large projects and there are many evidences which demonstrate this.


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  2. For matter that we deal with every day most important issue is agility. This way we decided to choose Kanban Software

    1. Hi Litza

      Scrum is not the solution for every project, for instance if you have to keep a support team that only fix bugs in Production, Kanban is the best approach.



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