A while ago I wrote about my experiences with Scrum and a little helper I like to call “Posty the Post-It note.” Ok, so I don’t actually call it that, but I do use the Post-It extensively when I’m scrumming.
So how has the Post-it fared in the months following my article? I’ll briefly review what has and hasn’t been working and what we’ve been doing to improve our Post-it power.
The Post-it board has grown, so much so that it now consists of a 4’ x 6’ white board and a 12’ poster board. So the good news is we’re busy. The bad news is that we are often overwhelmed with the amount of upkeep the Post-it board demands. Ironically the tool we were using to help us get a handle on our workload has now increased it. Sadly, the Post-it board is no longer a place for bragging rights or high-fiving. Now it’s a constant reminder of what I’ve lovingly deemed the “pile.” However, all is not lost. After some discussions with the boss, I’ve convinced the team to only use the board for a few larger projects and to track the smaller projects through other means. We’re still practicing Scrum, but we’re working to minimize the psychological impact of our pile of Post-its.
Lesson learned: If you’re not careful, the Post-it can overwhelm you with its 20,000 friends. Manage your Post-its, and if you’re feeling besieged by bright colored paper, take a deep breath and repeat this mantra, “I’m in control, not the Post-it. You’re not the boss of me, Post-it!”
Recently, we added a dedicated ScrumMaster to our team. Essentially, he’s our department’s linebacker. No more outside distractions; if you want to get to one of our Team members, you have to go through him. So every Team member’s cube features a bright orange Post-it that reads, “NEED SOMETHING? GO SEE CHRIS!” It’s not the most subtle method, but it’s helped to drive the point home and allowed our ScrumMaster to run proper interference.
Lessons Learned: My favorite element of Scrum is the ScrumMaster. The ScrumMaster protects the Team (pretty neat, huh?), but they can’t do it alone. We use Post-its to help spread the word and shepherd people to our linebacker.
In theory, placing an “Oink, I’m a Pig” or “Cluck, I’m a Chicken” nametag on your colleagues is a great idea. In practice, it can have unintended consequences and result in hurt feelings. While these name tags helped to spur discussion about Scrum, they were discontinued shortly after an unfortunate incident involving a Team member telling a manager, “Hey chicken! No talking during the Daily Scrum!”
Lessons Learned: It’s important to know your role. It’s also important to continually educate coworkers on the merits of the Daily Scrum and other Scrum practices. Just remember that Scrum can be jarring for your colleagues and to be patient while you walk them through the process.
Are Post-its a regular part of your Scrum routine? If so, how?