Building a Scrum Wall in 8 Story Cards


(click image to enlarge)

A recent meetup for Agile Ottawa focused on short presentations in the form of lightning talks. We had a number of excellent talks including: five reasons to do agile projects, lining up your units to help you be successful, applying code refactoring to improve your life, the importance of craftsmanship, and how different testing looks in the hardware and software worlds. I am a big proponent of big visible walls, so my lightning talk was a demonstration of how to build your wallboard using a roll of painter’s tape, a few stickies, and eight story cards.

Using the stories listed below, I built a simplified version of the wallboard depicted in the picture above. Each story introduced a new element to the wall, beginning with a single card and incrementally adding areas and cards to fill out the board. Judging the ensuing discussion, I think the concept and concreteness resonated very well with those in attendance.
Sprint Backlog: To see what we are working on, as a dev team member, I want a wallboard that shows our current user stories. [D, white cards at left]
Story Progress: To understand how close we are to finishing a story, as a dev team member, I want to indicate tasks that are pending, are started, and are complete. [D, yellow stickies]
Work in Progress: So that I can quickly see what stories are in progress, as a dev team member, I want a place on our wallboard to park all the planned stories for this iteration that we haven’t started yet. [C]
Bullpen: Because we estimate well and sometimes get lucky in a sprint, as the product owner, I want to indicate what stories can be pulled into the current iteration if time allows. [C, below the green line]
Burndown / Burnup: In order to see our progress on this project, as the product owner, I would like to see a dashboard that shows how we are tracking against expected completion. [E]
Release Backlog: Because I have a reasonable understanding of the scope of our project, as the product owner, I want to make these stories visible to the entire team. [A]
Backlog Grooming: To give some heads up to the content of the next few sprints, as a dev team member, I want my product owner to organize her priorities on our wallboard. [B]
Continuous Improvement: To help us make progress on our identified retrospective items, as a dev team member, I want a region on our wallboard to track our progress on these improvements. [F]
See my original article on Our Big Information Radiator for a discussion on how we evolved the wall to match the picture.