Kanban Board- The Best Tool I Have

00 Team Kanban BoardMy current project could best be described as stressful, confusing, and complicated. There is a large learning curve for both the product and the team processes. Its been hard enough keeping up with these things let alone keeping up with my duties as a scrum master—i.e. keeping tabs on what the team is working on and figuring out what I could do to help them become more efficient.

Thank God for the Kanban board.

I had heard of them off and on over the years and even tried my hand at making them a few times. Last fall I attended a presentation for a company that had adopted Kanban. The main thing that piqued my curiosity about them was that the presenter claimed they were useful for companies that were resistant to change. He suggested “Kanban” by David J. Anderson for reading.

I wish I would have found this tool sooner. It has brought so much grounding to my hectic job and has made me a much better scrum master. The Kanban board makes what the team is working on highly visible. Here are some things that I frequently find:

02 Early Findings

01 Multi-tasking

02 Work Marked as In-Progress but is Actually Completed

03 Developer Can Not Move Stories

Additionally, its helped with these items:

  1. I know when team members don’t have anything to work on.
  2. Helps me identify places where work can be redistributed to create a more efficient flow.
  3. Creates a sense of urgency and makes my job much more fun. Its almost like a game now!

The Kanban board works in any type of system- traditional or agile. If you get even half of what I’ve gotten out of it so far, it will make your workload much more manageable.

NOTE: I used One Note to create this board as opposed to the more common wall chart. I did this for a couple of reasons. One, I wanted to experiment a little with the idea before I took up any wall space. Second, my team was distributed and I thought an electronic version would be more beneficial.

NOTE #2:  Unfortunately, my team never saw this board so I have no feedback from their perspective. I was told explicitly not to show them for fear of “distracting them with anything other than developing.” See this related post on more of this issue.

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