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Hacking Trello


In my experience, digital card walls don’t really cut it.  For me, they can’t compete with the tactility of the real thing – I just don’t get the same kinesthetic feedback when I move a card on a digital board.  However, they are a reality of working life for many teams and I’m pretty excited to post our first Digital board hack here!

One of our readers works in a team who’d struck just this problem.  A restructure meant that they were suddenly working with remote teams and their trusty cardboard and sharpie system didn’t cut it anymore.  One of the things that didn’t easily transition over was the system of icons that they used to indicate things such as Blocked, Kicked Off, Bug.  You know, those ones we have such fun printing, cutting, laminating and sticking on the front of cards to tell us all kinds of useful stuff.

The solution is actually pretty simple.  Set up dummy users in Trello and give them profile pics that represent Blocked, Bug, etc.  Add them as ‘members’ to cards and therefore see the “blocked” icon badge on it.  As Dave tells it:

“[We] set up dummy email accounts associated with icons in gravatar.com. Then we could add them as members to our Trello board and use the icons as status stickers for our cards.  [We gave them] all the same prefix as board member names (“z_blocked”, “z_kicked_off”, “z_walked_through”) [so that] these icon accounts are all … together in any listing.”

Great idea!

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Standup Heat Map


Following on from the retro heat map, how about a standup heat map?

David Colls realised that his standup had become 2 separate conversations: the team’s shared conversation at standup had been lost.  So he made a map of who spoke to whom at standup to show what was really going on. With the team currently working on 2 pieces of work which were not directly related to each other the dialogue was fragmenting. A good topic for retro?

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A fresh set of eyes…


After spending a day with a new team setting up their first agile wall, I was surprised to come back the next week and see a pair of binoculars on one of their desks.  When I asked about them it turned out that one of the team was using them to read the board without having to get up from his desk.  

Brilliant! Why have I never thought of doing this????  I just squint at the board or walk back and forth from my desk.

Of course, a fresh set of eyes will always come up with a new way of doing things.  What could do with a fresh set of eyes in your team?


CC image courtesy of drtel on Flickr

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