What is a Scrum Board?
A scrum board is a project management tool that helps to visualise tasks needed to complete a project. They can be used to help visualise the progress of a project. The scrum board is usually split into three sections: To Do, In Progress and Done. Tasks are added to the “To Do” section, move to “In Progress” as they are completed and finally end up in “Done” when they are completed.
Scrum boards can be digital or physical. Digital scrum boards live online where team members have access 24/7. Jira, Trello or monday.com are just a few examples of software that supports the use of digital scrum boards. Physical scrum boards often consist of a white board with post it notes which represent the tasks. Digital scrum boards have the advantage of being accessible anywhere, especially when people work remotely. Physical scrum boards have the advantage of being in a highly visible, high traffic area which encourages discussion and teamwork.
An example of a scrum board using post it notes
My cohort at The Data School (DSAU12) recently moved from a digital scrum board (from Microsoft Teams) to a physical scrum board for our client projects which helped us increase collaboration and productivity. In this blog post, I will be sharing my tips and experiences on how to effectively use a scrum board which helped my team deliver our first successful external client project.
Start Early, Be Consistent
First, it is important to get into the habit of adding tasks to the scrum board early in the week. Then, make a commitment to regularly update the scrum board as tasks move from one section to another. In previous projects where our scrum board lived on Microsoft Teams, tasks would be added in the beginning of the week. However, it was quickly forgotten about by the end of the week. This meant that the scrum board did not accurately represent the work that had been done and work that needed to be done by the end of the week. This in turn meant that it was difficult to reallocate resources to other parts of the project when needed.
Make sure that tasks are written in detail. This way, you can remember what needs to be done and other people know what you are doing. To help organise tasks related to one area, group post it notes containing tasks that are related to one another.
Stacking related tasks together to add more detail
Stand Up Meetings
Having regular stand up meetings around the scrum board ensures all members of the team to know who is responsible for each task, what tasks are done, what is being done and any difficulties. Having everyone around the scrum board at the same time enables collaboration and encourages discussion. If difficulties arise, all team members are aware and can provide assistance if they are able to.
Use Colour Effectively
Colour can effectively be used on scrum boards by grouping together similar tasks or by assigning a colour to each team member. Colour can be used to help to visualise what tasks are ahead of schedule or behind schedule. Additionally, it can show who is available to assist other team members that are falling behind
Using colours to group tasks by team member.
Client projects at The Data School are very short (1 week). Therefore, it is important to set deadlines so tasks don’t get completed last minute. Setting deadlines early also provides leeway in case something unexpected comes up and people need to be reassigned or tasks need to longer to be completed.
I hope these tips have been helpful and help your team work more effectively and efficiently.