Agile/Scrum Task Board for “Real Life”

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The agile “Task Board,” also known as a “Scrum Board” has become a staple of the agile programming world.

“Getting Things Done” (GTD) is a process for managing task in the business world.

I mostly like what GTD does, but the classic implementation doesn’t fit how I work.

But what if we could adapt the two?

GTD has a basic concept of task that get classified by context (where you are) and a list for each of “Next Actions,” “Projects,” “Waiting For,” and “Someday Maybe.”  There is also this thing called 43 folders that allows you to “schedule” things into the future.  You can find out more about GTD by getting the book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

Interestingly enough, a typical task board has a column for “To do,” “In process,” “Done,” and “Blocked” or “Waiting.”  The rows are “Stories” that answer the question, “the user should be able to…”

Merging the two, I’ve set up a white board that has “To do,” “In process,” and “Waiting” for the main columns.  But, realizing that I have recurring tasks that I also need to account for, I’ve set up a column for each day of the week where I can place my recurring tasks.  You should notice this as an adaptation of the 43 folders.

Instead of “stories” for my rows, I have each “project” I’m working on as a row.  As a consultant I have multiple clients.  They are each a row.  I also have stuff going on at church, chores around the house, and tasks for my business that aren’t necessarily tied to any particular client.

As I think of things to do, the task goes on a small post-it note.  The upper left corner specifies the project so that if the note falls off, I know where it goes.  The bottom is a notation of what I’m waiting on if/when the note goes in the “waiting” column.  The rest is typical task board stuff.  Move it to the project, column it belongs in as you are working on it.

I’ve been using this for almost two months now and it has been serving me well.  But I’ve always had in the back of my mind that it would be cool to move this onto the web so that I could see the tasks anywhere I had web access.  I’ve been looking for something that would serve this purpose without encumbering me with all of the other artifacts of agile.  I don’t need burn down charts or product back logs.  All I need is a task board.

Recently, my church life got a bit more complicated.  I’m now managing a project that involves multiple people.  The task board idea still works great, but I have a need for others to be able to at least see the board if not contribute to it.  So I spent some time looking again and finally found exactly what I’m looking for.

SeeNowDo.com is a free task board application written in flash that allows you to configure the board for how you work.  You can share the task board with other users,  add and remove categories, and add and remove columns on a per project basis.  I can not only use this for projects where the tasks need to be shared, but I can also use it to replace what I currently have on my white board.

I can almost even use it on my Windows Mobile phone using the SkyFire browser.  My only issue is that for some reason SkyFire clips the right so that I can’t get to one of the controls that leads to the task board view.  Bummer!

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  • http://tomekdab.blogspot.com Tomek Dabrowski

    I encourage you to check http://taskboard.cognifide.com – simple and flexible implementation of Taskboard. We have been implementing it for our company need and we benefit lots of introducing this into our process. Project is open source.

    • Dave

      Looks like it is worth keeping an eye on anyhow