Learn how to evaluate a task board to diagnose how a team is performing.
- The task board is a developer's most widely used information radiator. A quick glance at the board should tell you everything that you need. It should be simple and clear. Still, there's some information that's easily visible to everyone. Sometimes, you'll see the board filled with stories, but only a few tasks are gathered in the doing column. That probably means that the team is not really moving forward. They'll be blocked, or not working full-time. It could also mean that the team's not interested in working together. If you're the Scrum Master, make sure that you frequently visit the board. If the board's neglected, it can be an obstacle for the team. Be sure to ask a few questions. Is the board placed prominently? Or is it behind a door? Are there a lot of tasks stuck in To-Do? Are there any tasks in the Doing or Done column? Or have the stickies fallen and gathered underneath like yellow autumn leaves? The team is responsible for maintaining the board and updating it every day. They should feel a shared sense of ownership. A board that's neglected usually means that they're not sharing responsibility for the work. Let's say one person on the team is working on updating a database. The other developers need to know when the database is finished so they can start their next task. With the board, they can easily see who's working on the task and when it's complete. This kind of whole team communication is essential for self-organization. It's not the project manager's role to update the task board. Instead, the team members are responsible for reporting the work. No one manages the developers. The team needs to understand that. The task board is usually a pretty good indicator of whether the team is self-organizing. The board should be the most active of all the agile reports. It's a vital part of the rhythm of the work. It's almost like a flight monitor. It shows where the team is going and how much distance is left to cover. Once the task board is up, the Scrum Master should be clear about why the team uses the board. Some teams have trouble accepting that it's by the team and for the team. They might mistakenly see it as a status report. They might think it's only designed to give managers insight into the project. The board is designed to show everyone on the team what everyone else is doing. Remember that in general, the team should be working on the user stories from top to bottom. The highest value stories will be on the top, in the far left column. If the team is working on every story all at once, then you'll see the tasks spread all over the board. This'll be a clear sign that the team is not prioritizing their work. Even if you don't know much about a project's inner workings, you can still get a sense of the big picture by glancing at the board. The team needs to make sure that the task board is complete. The board also needs to be simple enough so that anyone outside the team can understand their progress.
- Explain the purpose of a taskboard and how it can help keep a project on track.
- List the correct order of the swim lanes on a taskboard.
- Name the two types of burndown charts.
- Recognize the problems that occur when a team does not break down epics into stories.