Agile PM Processs Grid-3.16 Task Boards

In John Stenbeck’s book “PMI-ACP and Certified Scrum Professional Exam Prep and Desk Reference”, he creates an “agile project management process grid” which describes 87 processes used in agile project management.   These processes are divided into five process groups (Initiate, Plan, Iterate, Control, and Close), which are analogous to the five process groups in traditional project management, and seven knowledge areas which can be mapped, more or less, onto the ten knowledge areas in traditional project management.

I am now covering a group of agile processes that support the “adaptive planning” knowledge area that are completed during each iteration of the project.   Process 3.17 is Task/Kanban Boards, and I am splitting up the discussion of this process into two parts; today’s post is about Task Boards.

What is a Task Board (aka a Story Board)?   They are a visual radiator of the project’s work organization as well as how much work is left.   They are used during daily meetings to focus discussion on the topics needed to synchronize their work efforts.

A typical task board shows columns for stories which are in the following four categories:

  • Backlog
  • Development (WIP)
  • Test
  • Completed

At a Certified ScrumMaster class I took in January, we did a simulation of an agile project where the class broke into teams, and each team did a simulated project.   The teams created stories we put in the backlog column of the task board, and we each took one or two stories which we put in the development column, and then the testing and finally the completion column.   In our simulation, the “testing” column meant explaining to the other teams what we were working on under development, and we listened to their suggests for improvements as we worked on completing the stories.

By the time we were done with the simulation, we not only got an idea of what scrum means on an intellectual basis, but we also got to see what scrum feels like.

By the way, the reason why we worked on two stories was so that, it we got stuck on any one task, we could switch to the other while our scrum master helped us get unstuck on the first one.   If someone completes both stories within the time limit of the iteration (ours was only 10 minutes long during the simulation), we had the option to start on another story.

There is a special type of task board, called a Kanban board, which is the subject of the next post.




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