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5 Agile Boards Used By Non-Developers

BoardIf you follow this blog, Agile application in industries other than software development is nothing new. However, while I often discuss on how to apply the methods in various situations, i have not before actually shown you how it look s in real life.

Agile is beautiful in the sense that it can literally take any form as long as it remains true to the key values. But when you are just starting out with the method it may be difficult to go beyond the traditional 3 columns of To Do, Doing and Done.

In order to inspire and get your own creativity going, here are 5 Agile boards used in traditional departments outside software development.

The web of HR

No good company functions without its employees and it all starts with HR. Taking a web form, this Agile board example comes from Jennifer at TranspireLife. Here, every pizza slice represents a different job position and each of the lines stand for a step in the hiring process. Once there is a vacancy, candidate cards are added to the specific part of the web and moved towards the center as they pass through interviews and other steps.

The procurement board

Procurement processes are important but can get confusing easily, especially when there are multiple projects and people involved. That is why this procurement team worked out a system of their own. Using the basic idea of Agile, they have listed all the ongoing projects on the left of the board arranging them according to the responsible team member and limiting each team members WIP to 7. The columns on this board represent weeks and help track the duration of each project.

This is done using Lego – the color representing procurement stage and the size representing estimated duration. Each week the Lego is moved forward and once that stage is done, the final duration is written on the brick and moved back to week one stacking the next stage Lego on top of it. This way keeping track of expected vs. real time spent and visually tracking all the projects.

The design board

This next Lego board from Vitamins brings us to the design department. Here the board takes on a more visual approach resembling a calendar –  rows represent months and columns are dedicated to days. Each project is given a different color and the sub-rows in each moth are assigned to a specific team member. Due to the specificity of the design department the tasks do not need to be as detailed in the board and instead it is more important to know what the team is working on and which projects are the focus at any given moment.

The collaboration of Finances, Operations and HR

While it is difficult to adapt Scrum in various departments, with mixed functionalities the task becomes even more challenging. That is exactly the case with this board from MetaGeek where Finances, Operations and HR are all one team. Due to the complex processes, the team decided to stick with the basics –  a physical board and 3 clear columns that allow tracking progress and who is working on what. As a result, the teams claim they have started collaborating more and now see how their responsibilities relate clearly.

Executive Add-On

Lastly,  no company is complete without an executive office and analyzing each teams board to understand the overall progress is not something they want to spend time on. This team has found a solution for that – an epic arc, an additional lane that represents on how far the team has advanced.

Once the team starts working on the epic, they clarify tasks and add them to the backlog. Tasks are color coordinated with the epic and move through the board as usual. Instead of staying in the backlog, the epic is moved along the arc, which is comprised of the traditional project stages like planing, in progress and done. This way giving both the team and the management the information they need.

 

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Top 5 Most Interesting Scrumban Boards

scrumbanAs most of you know, Scrumban is a mixture of Scrum and Kanban methodologies made in search of a stricter Kanban or a looser Scrum. While there are not many companies that go to Scrumban straight out of the gate, many find their way into it after a while and settle in a comfortable balance between strict and loose that this approach brings.

Just as you might expect, every team strikes this balance a little differently and this is very clear looking into their boards. To compare, lets take a look at just a few of the most interesting Scrumban boards.

Back office manager

scrumban 1

The board used by Wibas, is a great example of Scrumban. It is a nice mix of the two methodologies that allows the company to manage their back office efficiently and with ease, while keeping the priorities straight.

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Top 5 Most Interesting Scrum Boards

Scrum board is one of the most essential tools to ensure a smooth project and while most choose the traditional scrum boards for their teams, there are a few that decide to innovate and improve the traditions to fit their needs. Therefore this week we gathered up the 5 most interesting (at least to us) boards and present them to you!

The wall

The first example comes from Agile but Pragmatic. Instead of dealing with a traditional scrum board, they suggest to expand it into a whole wall. This allows the team to put additional information such as results of retrospective – decisions and actions to take in the current sprint, parking for not active tasks, the sprint calendar and other things. By dedicating the whole wall to the scrum board, the team expands their ability to have all the information in one place.

Scrum board wall

Source: Agile but Pragmatic.

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Scrum vs. Kanban vs. Scrumban: Iterations, Work Routines, and Scope Limits

As agile methodologies become more popular, there sometimes is confusion on what exactly they mean and how they differ. In this blog post we compare three methodologies and show how they differ across several dimensions.

While there are some other agile approaches as well, we compare here the most common ones – Scrum, Kanban, and Scrumban – as these are the ones that are used the most commonly.

Scrum vs Kanban vs Scrumban: Agile Task Board

 

ITERATIONS

Iterations are predefined timeframes, during which a portion of work or a task is done. In Scrum, the teams typically work with 1-4 week sprints, during which the tasks are done before a deadline.

Kanban, on the other hand, does not have predefined iterations. Instead, teams work continuously, using releases shorter than one week, or bigger iterations like goals.

Scrumban combines the two approaches into one. Continuous work is used along with short iterations for planning, and longer cycles are used for release. 

WORK ROUTINES

Work routines define how the tasks are distributed among the team members. The push principle implies that tasks are assigned to the team members in a centralized way. The pull principle means that the tasks are “pulled” or chosen by team members themselves.

Scrum, Kanban and Scrumban are all agile methodologies, which use pull principle – whereby the team members choose the tasks they would like to work on. In Scrum, the tasks are chosen early by the team members. In every sprint, the tasks are chosen – or bound – by the team members before the sprint starts.

Kanban and Scrumban both use late binding – whereby the tasks are chosen during the work process. Once the current task is finished, the team members are free to choose further tasks they would like to work on. This is called late binding of tasks to the team members.

SCOPE LIMITS

Scope limits define how the workload is limited in the agile methodologies.

In Scrum, the workload is limited with each sprint. The tasks cannot exceed the amount of work that can be done in one sprint. If the task cannot be completed within a sprint, it is typically split into smaller tasks, that can then fit within a sprint.

In Kanban and Scrumban, the work in progress limits define the scope of work. Therefore, if the maximum number of tasks in progress is three, the team members cannot work on more tasks than three at the same time.

In the next blog post we will cover planning routines, estimation, and performance metrics for each of these methodologies.

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