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Looking for suggestions on Scrum Boards or variations

Last post 03:34 pm April 9, 2019 by Daniel Wilhite
7 replies
06:44 pm March 27, 2019

My turn to come to all the experts for some help.  My current company is going to be shuffling people around and we are most likely going to be a bit more dense in our office space.  Currently we have 9 teams locally and all of them are using physical boards.  Most of them are painters tape on a wall and a couple are on wall mounted dry erase boards.  

Here lies the problem.  If we do get packed in more dense our wall space is going to be greatly compromised.  So my Scrum Master team has started looking into alternatives.  We use Jira but using the electronic boards is not great because of the way it shows only a couple of stories at a time.  Plus it would require some way to make the digital board visible to a group in order to facilitate the Daily Scrum. Again, the density thing will make this difficult. Oh and having a Team Room is not even an option at this point.  We have a hard enough time getting rooms so that we can our Scrum Events, much less taking over something. 

Now for the question.

What ways do you use or have you seen to create the information radiator that a Scrum Board provides and still give the benefit to a co-located Scrum Team when densely packed into an office space?

07:25 pm March 27, 2019

A sheet of flipchart paper and sticky notes for the PBIs. Alternatively, split existing boards. With a gradually reduced surface area, each team has an incentive to limit WIP as far as possible.

08:13 pm March 27, 2019

Would whiteboards on wheels be an option? Some of the teams I coach use them a lot. Those mobile boards do not require a lot of space and come in real handy when a team adjusts its office space or location.

08:30 pm March 27, 2019

Whiteboards on wheels is an option but they still need space to be located.  I am not sure how much room we will have to "stash" things.  This has been discussed already and is still under consideration.  A side note on this option, why is it that when you put wheels on a whiteboard the cost of them goes up 3x???

The flipchart is something we hadn't considered yet but is definitely a possibility. We use them for a lot of other purposes, just hadn't considered them as boards.  Make sense though. Use a different one each sprint.  Thanks for that one.  

Anyone else?? Please don't hold back.  At this point anything and everything is up for consideration. 

03:47 pm March 29, 2019

I prefer the use of physical boards if you are all colocated, but I had a question on your comment :-

We use Jira but using the electronic boards is not great because of the way it shows only a couple of stories at a time

Could this be the way your JIRA board is configured?

Have you tried setting your board to have no swimlanes?

I tend to find this is a better view, at least for the WiP.

Hope that helps,


07:22 pm April 8, 2019

@Kris,  I hadn't thought of that.  I just made the change on one of my team's board.  They are going to use it for a bit and see if they like it or not.  Thanks for the info. 

This might also come in handy soon. We are starting to spin up some remote employees that may/may not be included into some our existing teams which will change the dynamic of having entirely co-located teams.  Changes a lot for us. 

09:55 pm April 8, 2019

Daniel - for what its worth, you can also use the shortcut z for presentation mode:

Reduces clutter and increases contrast. For use on projectors or similar.

  • The first press of z collapses the header.
  • The second press of z adds high-contrast, which is best for projectors.
  • The third press of z returns the page to the normal mode.

03:34 pm April 9, 2019

@Chris, I knew about that but the main problem I have with presenting Jira on screens for stand ups is that if you use sub-tasks for stories expanding a story to view the sub-tasks can actually scroll off the bottom of the screen. You then have to scroll down to see more. While this works, it makes getting the overall view of the entire Sprint that is so easy to get from a physical board. And having everything electronic usually results in no one but the team actually looking at the board because everyone is "too busy to look at anything else on my computer" or "that isn't pertinent to doing my job so why would I look at it?".  But if you have remote team members there really is not other alternative and I understand that. 

Yeah, I'm being picky but I have seen how physical boards can turn a team around when they see how they are getting "behind" because of too much work in progress.  I have also had a lot of people that aren't in a team (management, stakeholders) that walk by the boards every day comment to me and the team how impressed they are at the work being done. And this is just because each time they see the board, it is different. I really prefer the physical board in a place that is very visible to everyone.  In the end that is what information radiators are all about. While the Sprint Backlog is for the Development Team to manage their work, making it visible and transparent helps to keep them accountable. But I know I'm preaching to the choir here.  :) 

I do appreciate all of the input on this and I hope that it helps someone else in the future. 

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