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 Davis is Senior Director of Enterprise Agility & Digital Product Leadership at Cox Target Media. In this role, Stephanie champions agility across the enterprise, leads the Agile PMO, and manages the CTM portfolio while also overseeing the Digital Product Leadership team. Stephanie leads the team of Agile Project Leaders in the roles of ScrumMaster, Kanban Lead, and/or Agile Project Manager as well as overseeing the IT Business Analysts. Stephanie is a career project leader with over 16 years in the field, including past positions with AT&T Business and IBM Global Services, and has maintained the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification since early in her career. She also maintains the PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) and Certified Scrum Master (CSM) credentials. Her academic credentials include a BS in Marketing and an MBA in International Business. Stephanie serves and supports Agile within her community and beyond as organizer for the Tampa Bay Agile Meetup and the Agile Open Florida. Most recently, Stephanie has been elected to the Agile Alliance board for the 2015 to 2017 term. View all posts by Stephanie Davis

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