This is how we do it…

Apologies to Montell Jordan

At Integrum we had decided to start filming certain aspects of how we practice Agile software development. We had been sitting on this particular piece of video waiting for some cleanup, but since Obie Fernandez┬áposted the video of a Hashrocket standup, we decided that no time was better than the present to post our video on how we use our project boards. ┬áCheck out Derek’s post on How We Use Our Project Boards or watch the video below.

Integrum Project Board from Integrum Technologies on Vimeo.

6 thoughts on “This is how we do it…

  1. Nice work Derek, cool to see how things have evolved.

    You mention that you're temporarily tracking Acceptance Criteria (AC) as a reminder to the team and it looks like the majority of the focus is on the tasks. I'm curious as to how these tasks match up to the AC. I use to be a big proponent of breaking down all of the tasks for a feature, but the more I use tools like Cucumber the more I feel that "Scenarios" should be the focal point. It's now rare that we see any tasks on our board, and if we do they are usually just small reminders to ourselves. I've found that this helps the team to think through things during the planning session, but still gives the pair who grabs the card the flexibility to develop the story outside-in and encourages a higher test-coverage.

    With regards to the various "buckets". We've actually taken it a few steps further and now have categories for "Pending", "In Progress", "To Stage", "To Be Verified", "To Be Accepted", "Failed Verification" and "Complete". Perhaps this is a bit overboard, but with 8 developers working on the project we have cards moving all over the place.

    One additional column which we added which has proved beneficial was "Roadblocks". This helps to high-light those Stories or Scenarios which are no-longer actionable and awaiting feedback from our Product Owner. Obviously you hope that this column is always clear, but there have been times where it has really helped to illustrate breakdowns in communication and proves to be a good talking point for retrospectives.

    Not sure what your plan is for future videos, but would love to see how you've adapted your standups as well as how you're handling testing.

  2. Board seems kinda cramped to me, and could be easier to follow. Can you get some blue-tape and/or different colored index cards and/or string to help with that? Blue-tape to let you expand to walls; different colors of card to separate headers from content; string to separate stories from each other, or to separate categories of progress.

    For instance, at Eidogen, for the same amount of information, we had three cork-boards half again as large. The stories were regular 8.5"x11", folded in half (to carry task cards when done). One corkboard, to the left of the team-room door, carried the "done and accepted" stories. The door held the burn-down chart on a 8.5"x11" sheet, which I updated every time I accepted a story. The corkboard just to the right of the door held the stories and tasks in priority order. The corkboard to its right held overflow, things we focused on given our last few retrospectives, and progress towards overall release. Defects noted within an iteration got a red index card, and defects which held over became stories.

    We had the additional purpose of letting the rest of the startup see at a glance how we were progressing towards shipping salable software. Making it big, easy to find, and easy to see and understand, was key. The most interesting benefit was folks stopping by at lunchtime to look at the chart on the door. Our lunches often drew in people we'd never had reason to go out and grab.

    I think we did pretty well with ours — we let only two defects out of the team room during our 18 months, neither serious enough to warrant a patch release. God was that fun!

    • Joseph,

      The board we used in the video was much smaller than our real boards. It was easier to film that way. The boards we have up on the walls are 48" x 96".

      We have tried numerous ways to separate the stories, for example, using string like you mentioned, but it always ends up looking messy and visually distracting.

      We will keep inspecting and adapting how we use the boards and will keep updating our blog with our progress.

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