Our TradingPost card wall – why agile rocks

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this is the card wall our team used in the development of the new TradingPost mobile site – you can check it out at http://mobile.tradingpost.com.au/

Here is a list of reasons why it think this simple method of placing cards on a wall is so essential to team colaboration, trust, personal empowerment and ownership

  • in the end its all about making the abstact concrete – developing software is an etherial thing, it needs a high level of understanding and trust between everyone working on the product. the card wall, and the wider pricipals of agile allowed team members to develop a shared understanding of what we are doing and how we will get there. Its not something that is dictated to us in a comand and control sort of way – we are the masters of our own destiny.  We collectively descide what matters, whats most important to focus effort on and whos best placed to tackle the tasks.
  • daily standups occured just near this wall, the entire team could at a glace be reminded of where were were in the project, and what we had accieved so far
  • physically embodying task on cards means that people can really take ownership of a task -this simple act of “owning a card”  focued activity – at the end of each iteration the card owner talked about progress and moved the card into the appropriate row (the top row is completed – and the rows below show where the task is at – in progress, dev ready, awaiting estimation, more information needed)
  • as we moved through the iterations (from left to right on the wall) we could see how much we had done, and collectively felt proud of the momentum and progress
  • at the beggining of an iteration, we all stood around the wall and prioritised cards and allocated them to team members – this meant everyone understood what everyone else was doing – and again this helped develp trust and a true feeling of team work. the simple act of phisically moving cards around, and being empowered to really take ownership of how to progress has real bennifits
  • i should make it clear that the wall was owned by everyone on the project, not just the developers. James (Our product manager), me (UX), damien (project managment), Brenden(dev lead), all the devs, all the testers – we all collectively owned this “space”.
  • It helped me focus on what i needed to do to support the dev team – in terms of knowing exactly what UI and Iteraction specs were needed when.
  • i should also mention that the process itself made design a more inclusive activity – a change from design dictator to design facilitator – and with the input of all members the product is far better for it.
  • In the first month of being live the redesign has lead to a 300% increase in usage – rockin !
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About Jason Furnell

design thinker . experience designer . lo-fi sketcher . workshop facilitator . visual thinker . diagrammer . agile believer . multidisciplinary collaborator . build sequencer . incrementing and iterating . architecting information . presenting and pitching . master of design (its a degree, not a self assigned title) . dyslexic . misspell-er of many many many things....
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