Posts Tagged Tracking

Mapping progress


Teams track progress in many different ways.  Most commonly I see variations on a burn down chart.  But if you’re finding that a little bit boring, then there’s no reason not to get creative to illustrate progress.

Here’s an idea from a team working their way through every country in the world.  Each country gets coloured in as it is completed.  Stakeholders can see the progress as it happens, and also whether the country they are interested in has been completed yet. If you click on the image below, the animation shows the progress over a few weeks.

Spotted: LP Content Desk

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The Naughty Corner


At Lonely Planet, it’s not just software development teams that use big visual indicators.  In this hack, the guidebook commissioning team wanted to be very clear just what they were working on at any given time.

Here you can see what’s in pre-planning, currently being contracted, which books authors are researching and writing now, what’s in editing, at the printer and has just hit the shops.  Also visible at a glance is what is blocked right now – there’s a special naughty corner for books that can’t be researched due to civil unrest.  No authors in Libya right now!

I particularly like the little magnetic book covers that they use – visual language everyone involved in publishing can understand, and much more durable than paper and blue tack.

Thanks to Dave Carroll for this hack.
Spotted: LP Commissioning Editors

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Card Equaliser


Team says: “A cool way to visualise the output of each iteration.”

What to do with cards after an iteration is finished?
Tear them up? Spike them? Leave them on the bus?
How about turning them into a ‘card equaliser’?

The idea behind this hack is to give a visual representation of the cards signed off in each sprint.
The card colours represent bugs, features, BAU support and tech stories.  By arranging them on a spare wall according to colour groupings it’s easy to see how many cards and of what type have been signed off each sprint.  For example, feature cards, defects, and tech cards. And you can see how this changes over time.

It’s also immediately apparent whether the main activity has been skewed towards one area.  It takes it’s name from it’s similarity to the display of a graphic equaliser.

Like this:

Just by walking past, it’s easy to learn a lot about this team’s work:

So.. what this board is telling me is …

… this team pumped out a lot of features in a short time then faced down some serious technical debt and some outstanding defects.

Here’s another card equaliser, this time from the Lonely Planet web site team.

Spotted: lonelyplanet.com website and mobile development teams.

 

Here’s another variant, from a different source. Might be useful if you don’t have a lot of space:

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Countdown to a Milestone


The LPOS Team track progress toward a big milestone.

Team says: “The days are decreasing at exactly one per day, but the feature cards definitely aren’t!”

We’ve seen agile burn-down charts many times. But here’s a different approach. This team runs a lean/kanban board, and they don’t estimate in points, so they decided not to use the traditional burn-down chart. Sometimes, there are immovable deadlines and in this case an author was going on the road to research a destination. Tickets were booked long ago and there was no possibility of delaying the release.

As the release date approached the team simply kept track of the number of feature cards versus the number of days left.  This was a nice simple metric which stared them in the face every day, and gave urgency to the task of ruthlessly cutting scope to meet the date. The days always decrease of course, but the card count can increase as additional stories are uncovered. Sometimes product owners can be reluctant to cut scope, but this made it painfully obvious that it was necessary in order to meet the release date. When the number of remaining cards fell below the number of remaining days the back of the beast was finally broken.

Spotted: LPOS Team

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