Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Simplified Scrum Taskboard States

Talking with old work colleagues about their implementation of the scrum process, the subject of the sprint task board has come up. My team uses a physical task board with each row representing a feature and each column representing a state. Sub-tasks are written on Post-Its and placed on the board in the appropriate state. The states we use are:
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Testing
  • Done
These states reflect the states you would normally find within a unified process iteration. The problem that arises by using these states, I find, is that certain tasks such as bug clearing among other things don't really fit into these categories so they basically have two states: not done and done. This beats the purpose using the taskboard.

What I will propose to my team is a redefinition of the states to something more general which tend more to reflect the likes of the extreme programming practices. The states are:
  • Not started
  • In progress
  • To test
  • Done
I find that the four states are much simpler and all types of sub tasks can be fitted in this model; This way, the taskboard is used to its full potential which is to be able to visually see the progress of the work.


Anonymous said...

The former states provide a better tracking of progress(Except in case of a bug) than the latter,I feel the states in the latter are a bit vague.

J said...

Although the states in the latter seem are less descriptive that the former, they still provide a sense of progress.

It could be argued that having the states of "analysis" and "design" provide a finer grain of detail, however design and analysis go pretty much hand in hand and the line between what is design and analysis is somewhat blurry.

Additionally, the latter states provide an even more important piece of information which is when a task has actually started. With the former, all your post-its can be in analysis and you would have no idea what actually has been started and what is trailing behind.

If the analysis/design versus implementation states are information you which to know, then this is the purpose of the daily stand-up meetings. The three basic questions are: what are you doing, what have you done and have you hit any obstacle.

Anonymous said...

Hi j,

This week, we used these states for the MR:

-Todo: not begun yet.

-In Progress: begun.

-On Hold: begun but depends on someone or something beyond the scrum control.

-Testing: testing begun. It could be merged with "in progress" as it overlaps very often with it.

-Integration: integration process under way (code review, wait for integration request, merge, etc.)

-Done: obvious

Testing could be ignored because it is somehow contained with In Progress most of the time.

Integration could be ignored because it stays under this state for a very short period of time.