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Agile Adoption Board

14 September 2016

Andy Bacon
Innovireo LLC

A few months ago, I coached a team as they began their journey from Waterfall to Agile. One technique I employed was an information radiator that I named the Agile Adoption Board. It worked out well, so I wanted to share the idea.

My goals for the simple Kanban board (backlog, in progress, done) were to:
  • Visualize the key things I knew the team would have to think about during its initial transition.
  • Provide a place where team members could add their own items (e.g., things they had questions about).
  • Provide clarity on what was done and what was not.
  • Foster conversations among the team members.
  • Facilitate discussions between me (coach) and the team's ScrumMaster.
I added three categories of items to the board (team, backlog, and strategic) and used different colored 3 x 5 index cards to help visualize the difference. Here is the list of items:
  • Blue cards (team things)
    • Team charter
    • Explicit process mechanics
    • Definition of Done
    • Definition of Ready
    • Rally setup
    • Kanban board
    • Environment setup
    • Sprint meeting schedule
    • SharePoint site
    • Team email distribution list
    • Stand-up time and location
  • Red cards (backlog-related)
    • High-level scope review
    • Define epics
    • Define two to three sprints of stories
    • Size initial backlog
    • Release plan and forecast
    • Communication of backlog to business stakeholders
    • Visually depict backlog
    • Process of accepting work
  • Yellow cards (strategy items)
    • Testing strategy
    • DevOps stuff
    • Documentation strategy (what and where docs will live)

To create the board itself, I used a 32" x 24" piece of banner paper and orange painter's tape for the columns. Each column is about 10 inches wide, so that two index cards can fit next to each other. I attached it to the wall using Blu-Tack. The paper is awesome because the cards with tape (or sticky notes) stick much better to paper than they do to a painted wall.

I set up the board on a wall right next to the team's work area so that they would walk by it every day. Every week or so, I would review the board with the team, move things around, and add new items. Typically, I did this right after a Daily Scrum, and it only took about five minutes.

The Agile Adoption Board was a simple way to track transition activities that proved very useful to the team, to the ScrumMaster, and to me as a coach. If you have ideas on how to improve the board or have done similar things with your teams, I'd love to hear from you!

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

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