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Kanit kanban tool

Project description

Kanban board management system by Clay Dowling <>


The easiest way to install kanit is to run the easy_install program:

sudo easy_install kanit

If you prefer the latest and greatest, you can download the zip archive from the source repository, and run the install tool:

cd kanit-master
sudo python install


A good task tracking system for a project is important if the project has any complexity at all. If you’re a one-person project, a real kanban board with post it notes is probably sufficient for the task. Even if you’re a multi-person project, as long as you all work in the same space, the post it notes are probably sufficient.

That all goes to heck if you’re a multi-person, multi-site project, e.g. if you and your buddies are working on a skunkworks project from your homes. Even if you’re a single person project, sometimes you need the whiteboard where you’re tracking progress to sketch out an idea.

That’s where Kanit comes in. You manage your project by writing a bunch of text files, all in the same folder, one for each task. You keep your task backlog in a separate folder, and move them into your current sprint by copying the files into the task folder. When the sprint is done, the files are moved into another folder and archived.


First, a bit of terminology: when I say “story”, that’s interchangable with “task.” Right now, Kanit only has one unit of measurement: the file. In future versions, you’ll be able to establish parent-child relationships between these files, so you can have a full hierarchy of features, stories and tasks. Or whatever you want to call them. The system just won’t care.

To create a story, just create a text file (in the folder you’re using for your project management files). Kanit assumes that these text files are proper ReStructured Text files, which can be processed by the python docutils suite. You should give the text file a name that is descriptive of what it contains.

In the file, you should have a proper title, using ‘===’ style bars above and below.

Kanit will make use of two fields if they are available: status and points.

Status is the task’s current status. You can use whatever set of stati is appropriate to your situation. I use “Not Started,” “In Process,” and “Done,” but your workflow might need to accomodate a QA team or signoff by a stakeholder. The important thing is to establish a standard for what you and your team should be using.

Using Kanit

Kanit is incredibly simple to use: tasks

This assumes that your task list lives in a folder called “tasks” under your current folder.

In a multi-person project the task folder is probably under source control (it should be if it isn’t). Let me suggest a couple of best practices:

  1. Before changing the status of a task, update your local checkout.

  2. After changing anything in a task file, especially a status, commit your changes.

Of course this is no substitute for good communication within your team. You should talk to them via whatever communications mechanism you have set up and make sure that you aren’t grabbing a task somebody else is working on. Mentioning that you are taking a task may also prompt some important discussion. Things that they may have realized about the task that they didn’t know when the task was written.

Status Ordering

Each story is displayed in a list, with the lists organized by their status. By default this list is sorted alphabetically. If in the folder there is a file “kanit.conf” this file will be read for information about the sort order you would prefer for the status.

kanit.conf is a JSON file. If you would like to control the sort order, create a dictionary in this file with a key of “status.order”, and assign it a list of the values you would like to use for status, in the order you would like to see them. Any status that does not appear in this list will appear after the listed stati sorted in alphabetical order.

The file I use in my own development looks something like this:

        "status.order": ["Not Started", "In Process", "Done"]

Directory Structure

Allow me to suggest the following directory structure:


The backlog folder will contain stories which you have written, but haven’t yet pulled into a sprint to work on. It may also happen that in the course of working on a story, you decide to defer action on it. I typically give it a status of “Deferred” so that it is easier to spot, then move it to the backlog folder.

The archive folder is where I store old sprints. I zip up everything with a “Done” status in the sprint folder into an appropriate named file, such as After confirming that the files really are in the archive, I then delete them from the tasks folder.

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