Skip to main content

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.

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

Post a Comment

Most Popular on Agile Complexification Inverter

Exercise:: Definition of Ready & Done

Assuming you are on a Scrum/Agile software development team, then one of the first 'working agreements' you have created with your team is a 'Definition of Done' - right?

Oh - you don't have a definition of what aspects a user story that is done will exhibit. Well then, you need to create a list of attributes of a done story. One way to do this would be to Google 'definition of done' ... here let me do that for you: Then you could just use someone else's definition - there DONE!

But that would be cheating -- right? It is not the artifact - the list of done criteria, that is important for your team - it is the act of doing it for themselves, it is that shared understanding of having a debate over some of the gray areas that create a true working agreement. If some of the team believes that a story being done means that there can be no bugs found in the code - but some believe that there can be some minor issues - well, …

Elements of an Effective Scrum Task Board

What are the individual elements that make a Scrum task board effective for the team and the leadership of the team?  There are a few basic elements that are quite obvious when you have seen a few good Scrum boards... but there are some other elements that appear to elude even the most servant of leaders of Scrum teams.

In general I'm referring to a physical Scrum board.  Although software applications will replicated may of the elements of a good Scrum board there will be affordances that are not easily replicated.  And software applications offer features not easily implemented in the physical domain also.

Scrum Info Radiator Checklist (PDF) Basic Elements
Board Framework - columns and rows laid out in bold colors (blue tape works well)
Attributes:  space for the total number of stickies that will need to belong in each cell of the matrix;  lines that are not easy eroded, but are also easy to replace;  see Orientation.

Columns (or Rows) - labeled
    To Do
    Work In P…

Webinar: Collaboration at Scale: Defining Done, Ready, and NO.

I was invited to participate in a Scrum Alliance Webinar.  Maybe you would like to listen to us in a discussion of techniques to collaborate at scale (remotely and with many people).  The topic is one that I've got some experience in discussions - yet I never seem to get to done...
Collaboration at Scale: Defining Done and Ready and NO for Distributed Teams
With Joel Bancroft-Connors, Agile Organizational Coach; David A. Koontz, Agile Transition Guide; and Luke Hohmann, CEO and Founder of Conteneo, Inc.

14 February 2018 11 a.m. ET (USA).

The Scrum Guide is pretty clear on the criticality of the definition of Done: "When a Product Backlog item or an Increment is described as "Done," everyone must understand what "Done" means. However, the Scrum Guide ALSO says that the definition of Done can "vary significantly per Scrum Team." This leads us to examine when and how the definition of Done should vary, how distributed teams should cr…

A T-Shaped 21st Century Knowledge Worker

Knowledge workers in the 21st Century must have many areas of deep knowledge, while also be capable of collaboration across multiple other domains with dissimilar T-shaped individuals.  This description of a person is a metaphor.  Compare it to the shape of the "I" in the classic saying there is no "I" in Team.

I first read about Scott Ambler's term "Generalizing Specialist" - but it's so hard to remember the proper order of the words... get it backwards and it has an inverted meaning... T-Shaped is easier to remember. 
A generalizing specialist is someone who:
Has one or more technical specialties (e.g. Java programming, Project Management, Database Administration, ...). Has at least a general knowledge of software development. Has at least a general knowledge of the business domain in which they work. Actively seeks to gain new skills in both their existing specialties as well as in other areas, including both technical and domain areas.  General…

A FAILURE to Communicate

I was working with a failing team some time ago.  I use "failing" to describe the outcome of the team - not the people on the team.  Are you OK with that description?

An issue arrose in the stand up - a team member that was to verify the quality of a procedure did so and reported that there were a few records that didn't match expectation in the data set.  Upon inquire the number of records not matching was over 2000.  Most people acknowledged immediately the exaggeration - I could tell by the laughter.  After about 10 minutes of discussing the details of the problem - it appeared the team had a handle on the specific situation.

I stopped the discussion and inquired if they could name the impediment.  One team member did a great job of describing the impediment as a _communication gap_.  Wonderful - I could work with that - the problem had a name and it didn't include anyones Proper Name.

"If the problem has a first name; we are going to have a problem."