Kanbanoo Concepts

Purpose and Scope

Kanbanoo is an add-on that implements a Kanban Board within the M-Files client.

The main purpose of a Kanban board is to visualize work. In the M-Files context we understand work as any M-Files assignment and any M-Files object that participates in a workflow.

Kanbanoo does not show documents or objects without workflow in Kanban boards (except for assignments). This does not mean these documents and objects require no effort to make, but their creation in M-Files does not follow a defined process.

Design Principles

When designing Kanbanoo we were mindful of the Kanban practise of "Start where you are" - i.e. to re-use as many concepts and as much information from M-Files itself as possible. We wanted to create a Kanban Board that requires as close to zero configuration as possible and we believe we come very close.

Following this practise we made the following design decisions:

boards will derive directly from M-Files workflows as the workflows are established processes in the organization.

columns of Kanban boards map 1:1 to M-Files workflow states and vice versa.

cards represent M-Files objects (including documents and multi-file documents).

All operations must
fully respect M-Files persmissions and workflow actions and conditions.

Since a Kanban board should help the shared understanding of the state of work it should look the same for everybody - to the extent that M-Files permissions allow it. This means that the
sort order of cards and columns should be the same for everyone.

Hosting Kanban boards

Where to host the Kanban boards, i.e. where and when to display them in the M-Files client?
We decided to host Kanban boards in M-Files views as they provide the primary navigation as well as a filtering mechanism for M-Files users.

Practically any M-Files view can host a Kanban board, i.e. its contents can be displayed in Kanbanoo as cards.

To switch a view to "Kanbanoo mode" press the
Show Kanbanoo button button in the M-Files task area, see Accessing Kanbanoo.

Since a view can hold M-Files objects with a variety of workflows Kanbanoo can display one or more boards in its user interface - although we recommend to limit yourself to one or two boards.

Kanbanoo will save board and column settings as well as the sort order of cards in M-Files based on the view where the board is hosted, i.e. all settings are specific to the view where the Kanban board is hosted. Note that some settings are common to all users while others are also user-specific.

How M-Files assignments are treated

Most organizations do not have workflows on assignments - that would in principle exclude them from being shown in Kanbanoo.
However, since assignments clearly represent work, we decided to display them in a dedicated Kanban board named "

The basic Assignments board has two columns:
Requested" is for assignments that are not completed
Done" is for completed assignments
Kanban board with columns Requested and Done
Basic Kanban board for assignments
But there is more:

Assignments with In Progress state

Unfortunately, M-Files does not have a built-in concept to indicate for assignments that they are currently being worked on - there is only completed or not completed. However, an important Kanban practise is to
limit the work-in-progress, i.e. users shall not work on too many tasks at the same time.

For assignments Kanbanoo therefore implements an (optional) middle column called "
In Progress" [1]. It can be enabled on a vault-level by your M-Files administrator (instructions).
Kanban board with columns Requested, In Progress and Done
Kanban board for assignments with "In Progress" option enabled

Multi-user Assignments

Assignments can have more than one assignee. Moreover, approval assignments can be configured to either require all (unanimous) or only one (single) assignee to make an approval or rejection to be considered complete.
The following table summarizes how M-Files and Kanbanoo treat such assignments.

When assignments with more than one assignee are moved to the In Progress column they are considered In Progress for all users, irrespective of who moved the assignment there. To avoid ambiguity we recommend to avoid multi-user task assignments.

Type of assignment
task assignment completed by some but not all assignees
not completed
Requested or In Progress (user's choice)
task assignment completed by all assignees
unanimous approval assignment completed by some but not all assignees
not completed
Requested or In Progress (user's choice)
unanimous approval assignment completed by all assignees
single approval assignment completed by some assignees

How M-Files and Kanbanoo treat assignments with more than one assignee


[1] Internally Kanbanoo saves the "In Progress" state in a boolean property on the assignment object itself, see Installation instructions.
If you encounter any problems please write to support@kanbanoo.com to ask for help.