Managing Hierarchies in XPlan

Kanban boards often have a flat structure, meaning that the cards on them have no hierarchical relationship. All just tasks at the same level, with no sub-tasks. The tasks of a different project are managed by a separate Kanban board or a horizontal separation (swim-lane). The same, for example, is for possible project cards, where a board is dedicated to projects only.

That kind of approach can work with specific projects and environments, but it’s usually too rigid and simplified if you want to manage the whole of your activities. Also, separate Kanban boards may make you lose the overview and the possibility of searches and filters across multiple projects.

XPlan not only solves this problem but it extends the solution to a customizable hierarchical logic.

Types

To begin with, each work item, in XPlan, can be of a different type, and you can customize those types, graphical appearance included. So, you can have areas, projects, sub-projects, tasks, actions, and so on.

Each of those types can be assigned to a specific level, without limits. So, you can create a custom hierarchy with as many levels as you want, both upward and downward.

Example of XPlan types

But you can also extend the same level with as many specific work items as you want. For example, you can have a custom type named Task and, at the same level, more specific types of tasks (“Fix”, “Purchase”, …).

So any work item can be of a specific type and can be in a parent-child relationship with another work item. And since life can be more complex than what imagined beforehand, a single item can belong to more parents (e.g., a task in common for two projects).

XPlan will check that consistency is kept in your data. For example, you won’t be able to create loops.

Searches and filters

Having all of your data hierarchically organized lets you make powerful searches or filter the perspective you want.

You’ll have the possibility, for example, of immediately filtering the parent of an item with all of its sub-items by a right-click on it.

Or you can use the search syntax. You can filter hname="my project", and the project, along with all its sub-items, will appear.

Of course, you can save preset filters, so having immediate different perspectives on your work items whenever you want.

You can keep an eagle eye on areas and projects, for example:

type=area or type=project

Or you can narrow your focus to the immediate activity:

type<>area and type<>project and startdate<>future and statetype=progress

Data propagation

Work items have dates, like start or due date, and those dates are automatically propagated downward, across the hierarchy. If you set a due date for a project, all of its sub-items will inherit it dynamically, being still possible to set it on all of them independently.

Also, you can set an effort for each work item, and that’s propagated upward in the hierarchy so that your project can show the total.


With a custom hierarchy, you can have your Kanban reflect exactly the levels that you need for organizing your work – ranging from simple to complex setups –, having full control over your workflow from any angle.

Time to download your XPlan evaluation copy and… just try!