keep the task board visible at all times

Your team holds a daily scrum or stand-up meeting. But for some reason you all decant to some other room for the meeting itself. Maybe you don’t want to disturb the other teams who share your bull-pen. Or maybe you’re used to meetings being in the Boardroom, so you just head off there out of habit. Or maybe someone once told you that a change of scene helps meetings to focus. Whatever the reason, don’t do it!

The daily stand-up should be about the tasks on the board. If the board isn’t in the room with you, the meeting will lose its structure. Sure, everyone will still take their turn in describing what they did yesterday and plan to do today. But without the task board there are no visuals for the listeners, no cues for the speaker and no controls for the coach or tracker. No-one can point to the tasks, so it becomes much harder to discuss tasks, disconnects, blockages etc. It is also now impossible to re-plan during the meeting. Finally, your task board should also be the place where you display your big visible charts. If you hold your daily stand-up somewhere far away, you can’t discuss them. No tactical analysis or retrospectives. No daily update to maintain momentum. Huge loss of communication. Huge loss of focus.

I’ve seen a few teams make this mistake. And every time the result is a loss of focus. The iteration plan and the progress metrics are no longer the drivers for the team’s work, because they aren’t in the room when the tactical decisions are made. Both scope and velocity can suffer as a result.

So hold your scrum or stand-up next to the task board and keep your BVCs on an adjacent board. Hold your daily scrum or stand-up next to these boards. During the stand-up encourage team members to talk through the board (“I completed this task”) instead of in the abstract (“I worked on class FooBar”). And update the charts with a marker-pen during the meeting.

5 thoughts on “keep the task board visible at all times

  1. Pingback: looking back a year « silk and spinach

  2. Pingback: reporting during the daily stand-up « silk and spinach

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