Garren Smith

Agile board and user story constraints

. 10 Dec 2009 - Johannesburg

One thing that has become more and more important to me since joining my current team is the visibility of the user stories on the board. Its really important to have nice coloured stickies and large visible writing. Sticky colours can represent different things. Our stories are yellow and our tasks are blue. The dreaded pink slip is a bug that has slipped through the unit tests and our tester has found it. This all creates a colour useful board that people want to interact with. 

However a very important requirement that often gets neglected is to have big writing on the cards. This does two things. It makes the user stories visible from a distance. And keeps the stories concise.

Often teams have stories that they are working on but at stand up they cant actually see the writing on the board. This limits any discussions about whats happening in the iteration and that story. It also seems to stop any one from being held accountable for what they are working on. Once a story is visible from any where in the team room the board gets used so much more. It also allows any one that walks into the room to fully see what is happening in the iteration very quickly, without having to analyse the board front a very close distance Nothing startling here but it can get neglected.

A really nice side effect of writing a user story with a large black marker is, it forces the story to be short and concise. As Max Pool mentions in his blog. Using a black marker or a large pen along with a smallish sticky forces the story to be short and concise.Thereby helping them be aids in further communication rather then all the information required.

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