Notes on story walls – story or task?

In my last article, I talked about “story walls” but in fact, I focused on task walls.  The difference is minor but choosing one over the other can help improve collaboration among the team.

Task walls, predictably, are about tasks – “today I will do task 1” while story walls focus on the thing being built – “today I am working on story 3.”

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Notes on story walls – simple task walls

Most agile teams use story walls – either physical walls or online tools to store their stories.

But a lot of those teams see the wall as a burden rather than a tool that makes life easier for them.  This is a shame because the only reason you want to have a wall is because it makes it quicker and easier for the team to get their work done.

From the perspective of the TEAM, the story wall makes their work visible so that they can more easily collaborate and get things done

Since different teams work differently, they are likely to want different types of story walls. This is the first in a series of articles that run through different types of walls that might be useful to different teams. There is no best practice – just things that suit different teams.

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Quick and easy health checks for Agile teams

I often tell Agile coaches to start with a health check on the teams they are about to coach.

People think this a health check is a great idea and they often research complex algorithms and assessment tools.

But that is really hard work for you and the team. So at our coaching clinic we tried a lazier alternative – I put these conversation starter kits up on the wall.

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Do you get value from your retrospective?

A retrospective is a meeting where the team stop working and take a step back to review how well they are working and what they can do to improve.

It is generally done every sprint (or every two weeks if there is no sprinting going on).

The theory is easy – the team share their views on what went well in the last fortnight, what did not go well and what they should keep doing or change as a result.

In practice though, it often turns into a therapy session where people share opinions about the way the world is really bad (or even how the team is awesome) and then they wander off without taking on any action items.

So when your team have lost their mojo and the retros are getting stale maybe it is time to do a retro on the retro.  Similarly, when you first start out as a team, it is often good to define what you might want to get from your retro.

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Different Retrospectives and pre-mortems

One of the most powerful components of agile approaches is the retrospective.  I often think that even if a team does not know what “agile” is, if that team pauses on a regular basis and reflects on how to get better at what they do, then they would invent most of the other agile practices for themselves.

But stopping on  a regular basis can get stale after a while, so I thought I would sharer some slightly different sets of questions that you can use to keep things fresh.

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A choose your own adventure for agile coaches

Following a discussion I had in a recent class on agile coaching, I said I would create a “Choose your own adventure book.”

I have only done 3 pages but if you are interested then have a look

https://kingsaddress.wordpress.com/

If people like it then I might add some more content but for the moment it only has some comments on the different approaches to agile coaching that Lao Tzu and Confucius recommend.