A Scrum Board Is Worth A Thousand Words

Last week, we had three tours in three days around here.    Yes, I said “tours”.  “A tour of what?”, you may ask.  A tour of our Agile transformation!  Now, understand you-me that tours are typically reserved for our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility (not a plug, just a reality).   At first, I didn’t realize there was much of a show to be had with all our old cubicles and dingy carpet, but apparently I was all wrong.  The tours were such a hit that we’re now making a video!  Yes, that’s right, a video… an Agile transformation video.

We gave tours to three different groups, two stakeholder groups and one VIP.  Each tour began at our local copy of The Agile Manifesto where we explained the values and principles that guide us.  Then, the tour moved into our beloved Scrum Pit (a.k.a., “The Pig Sty”) where we used the 9 Scrum Boards to visually eplain how Scrum works.  Last but not least, we walked the tour groups through the bullpen areas for 6 of our 9 Scrum teams to demonstrate the open collaboration environment we’ve established.

The mere fact that we had three tours in three days really demonstrated two things to me: 1) Our leadership is proud of what we’ve accomplished with our Agile transformation in just 8 sprints and 2) we’ve really done well by way of “visible information radiators”.  Like the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, a Scrum Board is worth a thousand  words too!  Our towering walls of magnetic whiteboards with index cards seemingly-chaotic, yet intentionally-placed  really seemed to leave quite the impression with our tour groups.  I know now that having handed them a document or an illustration or shown information buried in some tool wouldn’t have nearly the impact.  Our visible information radiators worked!  At the time of the tours, we were mid-way through the 8th sprint across 9 Scrum teams, and progress (or lack thereof) was clearly visible within a 360° view of the Scrum Pit.    I guess what I’m getting at here is simple … When your hand gets tired of writing story after story or task after task and you’ve got paper cuts on both hands, just remember that a well-constructed, well-maintained Scrum Board is the ultimate visible information radiator and worth a thousand words.

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About Stephanie Davis

Stephanie is Executive Director - Enterprise Agility Office at Catalina, driving lift and loyalty for the world's leading CPG brands and retailers.  Most recently, Stephanie was Senior Director of Enterprise Agility at Valpak. She was with Valpak for 13 years, most of which were focused on leading their agile transformation to what became a world renowned success story published in case studies and demonstrated to over 50 different companies through the years via agile tours.  Prior to Valpak, Stephanie held past positions in the project management domain with AT&T and IBM. Stephanie's academic credentials include a BS in Marketing from the University of South Florida and an MBA in International Business from the University of Bristol in England. She also maintains the Project Management Professional (PMP), Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP), and Certified Scrum Master (CSM) credentials. Stephanie is big on tech community involvement!  Most recently, she served as an elected board member to the Agile Alliance, a non-profit organization with global membership, committed to advancing agile development values, principles, and practices. In addition, she serves her local community as an organizer for Tampa Bay Agile, the largest and most active tech Meetup in the area, and the annual Agile Open Florida event. In 2016, Stephanie was awarded Tampa Bay Tech’s Technology Leader of the Year and the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s BusinessWoman of the Year (Tech) and Emerging Technology Leader of the Year. View all posts by Stephanie Davis

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