Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tactic Pattern 001: Implement a Personal Task Board

In A Blink
Create a personal task board to create project visibility and nudge company toward Agile and Scrum

User Story Summary
As a developer new to a team you'd like to start introducing Agile and Scrum so that you can improve productivity and quality.

How do you introduce an Agile practice to a team when you have no Positional Authority to introduce a process improvement initiative?


  • Company is small and not a traditional "software company"
  • Business stakeholders may be "used to" waterfall and unaware of software being developed in other ways
  • Developer teammates uncertain about Agile or Scrum or have had bad prior experiences
  • You may not have Positional Authority to introduce a process improvement initiative
Create a personal task board and use it as an Information Radiator to communicate the priority and status of your own work to the rest of your team and company.

A simple and effective wall will have horizontal headings like this:

[ Backlog / Stories ] [ Task Backlog ] [ Checked Out ] [ QA / Verify ] [ Complete ]

Underneath the Backlog / Stories column, you should write on sticky notes or index cards the high-level requirement or User Stories that you are attempting to finish. Align these in priority order from top to bottom.

Next to that, create sticky notes for the individual tasks which you deem no shorter than 1/2 day and not longer than 2 days that you'll need to do to complete the requirement.

When you start to work on a particular task, move it to the Checked Out column. When you're ready for someone to code review or perform QA against your work, move it to Checked Out.

Finally, move it to Completed when you're finished.

Notice the Task Backlog column should be wider than the others. That is because you should, ideally, only have one item under Checked Out at a time.

Real World Examples