ScrumWorks with a Physical Taskboard

April 5, 2008 Michael James

In a discussion group, someone recently wrote:

From the very beginning, the PO has been very insistent that we use an electronic tool, despite the fact that everyone is co-located. I have resisted from the very beginning, because the Team feels that the physical Task Board and burn-down chart are working great. I believe that the PO is focusing solely on her desire for an electronic tool to enable her to more easily maintain the Product Backlog, to readily identify which user stories have been accomplished and which have yet to be completed, and allow for reporting. We’ve bandied about the idea of using [x product] or [y product], but the Team is reluctant to replace our physical Task Board.

The physical taskboard is clearly the best tool for this team. I use taskboards to teach Scrum, and recommend them for co-located teams.

ScrumWorks Pro has a “print to cards” feature for this situation.

You can keep the Product Backlog in ScrumWorks, then print cards after the Sprint Planning Meeting, so your team can use the taskboard during Sprint execution. During Sprint execution, your team members may realize getting the Product Backlog Items (PBIs) done requires additional tasks they didn’t think of. These can be scribbled on blank cards on the physical taskboard.

At the Sprint Review Meeting, your Product Owner can mark PBIs done in ScrumWorks if they meet the acceptance criteria. We’ll measure your rates of velocity, scope increase, etc. with nice graphs and reports you may need for her business stakeholders.

ScrumWorks was designed for Scrum from the very beginning, by people who get Scrum.

Unlike another tool I recently saw a team struggling with, ScrumWorks does not attempt to measure percent done on a PBI according to task status. In Scrum, a Product Backlog Item is only “done” when it’s proven to meet the acceptance criteria, typically at the Sprint Review Meeting.

Also ScrumWorks does not attempt some of the anti-Scrum nonsense of other tools.

–mj
Software Process Mentor (and Scrum Trainer, and ScrumWorks programmer)

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