Friday, November 11, 2011

The Ultimate Wallboard Innovation

Some years ago Atlassian ran a contest to find the Ultimate Wallboard.  The winner Vodafone's board was awesome.  There are other nice boards there - if you are in need of inspiration to improve your task board.

vodafone_wallboard.gif
The Ultimate Wallboard - 2010
Ole Højriis Kristensen from the Vodafone Web Team in Denmark was voted the Ultimate Wallboard winner in Dec. 2010. An interview with Ole on the creation of their wallboard.

It uses RFID to track the task on the board and projects on the board real time graphs of work in process and burn up rates.  This allows them to integrate with team members in remote locations.  Yet they do not lose the tactile sense, nor the spatial processing that the vision center of the brain do so effortlessly for us.

While I'm expecting nice online version of wall boards to keep improving, I don't believe there is a better way to learn Scrum than with a physical low-fidelity wallboard.

We don't learn to do arithmetic using a calculator.  No, one starts with simple addition and by the time your ready to learn division it is done using pencil and paper (long division old school).  Requiring the student to do the hard work of the long division process may help them to understand the conceptual division problem and the solution technique.  Just image how hard it was to do in Euclid's time (300 BC) without the zero and using Roman numerals.  Thank you Fibonacci for introducing us to the Arabic Zero.

The invention of the tablet device (post PC era - thank you Steve Jobs) may be an additional minor improvement to our eWallboards.  They will get better when I can touch a task and move it from one area to another and that action syncs to everyones device, including the Big Visible Chart on the team room wall.  While my iPad may represent an abstraction of the BVC via a zoomed-window to allow me to work on a tiny portion it will not replace the ability to stand back and see the big picture.  To recognize the patterns that emerge when I see the whole.  This ability is just the tip of the iceberg of Systems Thinking.

One advantage the eWallboards have over my favorite brand of stickies (Post-it pastels) is rarely seen used.  It is touched on in the timelapse above.  The ability to see patterns that emerge over time.  The temporal dimension of patterns.  These events could be recorded and played back at super-fast-mo to show patterns over a 4 - 6 month release.  How would we create a temporal-burn chart?

I'm a big fan of info-graphics - wish I was better at creating them, maybe that's my next career.

What would we see if we timelapsed each project form cradle to grave?  Then compared the patterns the emerged to derive health stats for projects in the aggregate   Something like the human body-mass index.  At six months your baby project should be weighing in at 10-15 developers and delivering health product increments each iteration Ms. Manager.  Now compare that to the young adult project out in the lobby - it appears to have caught a virus, perhaps mono I expect it is running hot and productivity has dropped through the floor.

Now imagine that info graphic help you to determine if the project you have is healthy, and suggesting forms of treatment with projections of what might happen - the what if - scenario.  Then imagine it playing those on an 8 foot wall.

My advice to everyone - bring in the creativity, the fanciful, the silly, and the fun.

Related post:
Interactive Whiteboard using the iPad
8 reasons to buy an iPad for your team room
Agile apps for your iPad/iPhone

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