Leading Software

Observations on the Art of Leading a Software Development Team

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How do you organize your Scrum board?

Like many Agile teams, here at FillZ we use a big whiteboard to help organize ourselves. We still have Jira/GreenHopper to track the details, but we use a whiteboard to focus our daily stand-ups and give us a place to get some tactile feedback from moving stickies around.

We have organized our Scrum board into Four columns: Story, To-Do, In Progress, Done. We also have multiple rows, or “swimlanes” that we use to organize our tasks by theme (usually a theme is a single story).

The Story column contains the title for each group of work in the sprint. Something like “Add support for new import format”. The To-Do column is the task-breakdown for this work. Each day we move tasks (on individual stickies) from the To-Do column to In-Progress to Done.

Nothing really new here.

However, this sprint we’ve added additional swim-lanes for each developer on the team. These rows are where each developer will place the tasks they are doing in addition to the work in the other lanes. This might include professional-development projects (try using R to analyze our metrics), non-story tasks like tuning the build-system, or even DevOps issues (reduce the number of pages from system X).

We realized that we were all doing tasks like this in each sprint, but we were never accounting for them or sharing them with each other. The plan is that developers will bring their list of personal tasks to each sprint-planning session and we’ll start estimating and including them officially in each sprint plan.

Experiment in progress. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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