A man is valued by his works, not his words!

Why We Need Visual Task Board

The department which I’m working on, it’s thought be the first team adopted Scrum in China, so our people mostly seems ourselves is the Scrum forerunner in China althrough there might be another place is ahead of us. Year and year, day after day, we did various of Scrum practices, And while the R&D is growing in size, and with people change in the organization, people have been forgetting the rationale behind these practices, and thinking Scrum is such practices, such practices are Scrum. But one day, we were questioned by our naive boy: Why?

Today, let’s clarify why we need visual task board? Why we not use excel instead, or some on-line task management tools such like Trello?

Understanding the team situation likes looking at a picture

Pasting the task on the wall with different priorities, moving forward accord to the progress. The task will be moved from “TODO” column to “DONE” column, it’s easier understand the team work iteration item progress. If we at a time point, the most of task cards is still under the “TODO” column, it means we have a lot of work to do; if the most of task cards is under “DONE” column, we can understand it’s not far from our target.

“IN PROGRESS” reflects team daily work. If too many tasks are under this column, it means there is something wrong about the task assignment – either the task estimation has some problems or team is too optimistic. The total size of the tasks under “IN PROGRESS” shall be mostly equal as the team daily capacity.

Of cause, we can use various of color cards to represent the regular planning tasks or interrupting tasks, based on the interrupting tasks number, we can understand how well we did sprint planning.

Adding “BLOCKING” column, we can clearly find out how many tasks are blocked by other teams. We can make various of changes to task board based on team needs, task board shall illustrates the team work situation clearly. Team member just raise his/her head, he/she can understand how well we work on our task, the progress is leading, or delay. Team work is transparent for everyone, any one in any time can understand team situation from task board.

Programmers are “lazybones”

I remember one words said: the innovators are lazybones. Because they are lazy, so they are motivated to innovate something instead of hard working. And later, this words has been evolved to: the high IQ people is lazybones. It comes “Innovators are high IQ people”. And now, programmers seems themselves as high IQ people, so programmer shall play as lazy style. Innovator == lazybones; innovator == high IQ people; high IQ people == lazybones è if you want to make self look like high IQ people, play lazybones, so that’s the logic. Do you know the question in Quora: Do intelligent lazy people achieve more in life than intelligent active people?

So, to lazybones, require him/her to look for a document and open it, it’s very difficult, because he/she thinks there were too many steps. We can image that if we require lazybones to read a document which located on a website:

  1. Visiting the website
  2. Looking for the document
  3. Downloading the document
  4. Opening the document via MS office (WTF office, why you are so slow)
  5. Reading, and there are page up and page down

Same reason, how to make lazybones care about the task board? If we use excel to keep the tasks, what the situation will be:

During the daily meeting, Scrum Master opens the laptop, and then all team member gather around the only 15 inch laptop screen, you guys open your big eyes as bigger as possible, and focus on only 10 font size words to make the task updating. In another scenarios, you do not expect the lazybones never will open this document any more, since opening this excel will cost too many steps – and then in time task updating is a problem.

If we have task board, all tasks are written on the cards, and they’re clearly pasted on the wall. You just give a sight, you can find out the task, for the task updating, you only need to move the cards. See, easy.

It’s not only a wall, it’s team flag

How prove team existence? Name, flag. Every day, all team member gathering under the wall, it’s solid entity, you will found that, this wall represents the team. Team member will think this is our team platform, we have something to do on this place. So during we create the task board, it means we are creating the team flag.


I can understand, you prepare a lots of reason here to prove why you need excel to keep the task list. That’s fine, give your comments below, let me understand your reason first. I just want to say, the confident team, ready to show muscle. Be a “lazy” and high efficiency team, start from build a visual task board.

  • EOF -