Add a little sparkle to your routine.

Add a little sparkle to your routine.

What does “walking the board” mean? A team that walks the board focuses discussion on one story at a time.  When walking the board during a daily meeting, team members talk specifically about that story; describing what had been done, what will be done and what was in the way. By focusing on one story at a time the team can really focus holistically on the piece of work.  Why “walk the board” instead of the standard daily meeting format? There are generally two reasons.  The first is that even the best techniques get stale without variety. The second, walking the board promotes team-level coordination.

Daily meetings, whether Scrum or stand-up, follow the same basic form. Generally each person answers three questions: what did I do, what am I going to do and what is blocking my progress. After several months of doing your daily meeting the same way, regardless of how quick and focused it is, they can get stale. Stale techniques lose their effectiveness. Team members just go through the motions without really communicating with each other.  If a Scrum Master should have at least nine techniques for retrospectives, why would only having a single technique for the daily meeting make sense?

When a team walks the board, the discussion begins with a story.  When I am facilitating a daily meeting I usually randomly select the first story and then let the team direct the flow.  I have seen others select the story at the bottom of their list or board.  Everyone currently working on the story answers the standard questions as they relate to that specific story. The difference in the process is subtle if only one person is working on that particular story, however if multiple people are actively working on the story you will see the difference.  It will shift the focus to the story and promote coordination.

Walking the board addresses the age of problem of process boredom by providing the team with a second technique for their daily meetings because daily meetings are necessary for the team to plan.  Planning only happens with communication and coordination.  Process boredom is the natural enemy of communicating.