The Scrum board is one of the essential tools that Scrum teams use to follow the progress of its sprints and to organize the distribution of tasks to be completed. It is entirely part of the Scrum methodology.
Although it may seem simple, the Scrum board must actually meet certain requirements and, above all, must be adapted to the size of the team and the project.
Let's discover together what a Scrum board is, how it is organized and how to choose between an online or physical board.
What is a scrum board?
A Scrum board is a visual representation of the work to be done by a Scrum team during a sprint. It is an essential tool of the Scrum framework, which allows you to track the realization of user stories and tasks during a sprint with a table. The scrum board is part of one of the many agile methodologies that you should prioritize and give special attention to, in order to improve your processes and project.
It contains at least three columns, but some more complex projects contain many more and require the mobilization of a whole wall. It is useful to track progress toward the sprint goal.
Why use a Scrum board?
Its purpose is to simplify the organization of projects and their management in the fields of software development, marketing, business or human resources.
Thanks to the Scrum Board, you can isolate and organize the different tasks of the Scrum team. You are also able to follow each task throughout its life cycle, from "To do" to "Done".
Finally, the Scrum Board is a particularly effective project management dashboard, as it provides a snapshot of the status of the project at any given time.
⚠️ Warning! Be careful not to confuse kanban boards with a Scrum task board! They are two different tools!
How is a Scrum Board organized?
The Scrum Board takes the form of a whiteboard, which is then organized into a structure in columns. Each column corresponds to a category that reflects the progress of a project over a specific period of time (sprint). It should always follow the sprint plan.
In its simplest form, a Scrum Board features several columns and cards. These columns are then filled with lists of tasks (sprint backlog items or product backlog). These tasks to be completed are written on post-it notes called user stories and pinned to the board.
The typical division of the columns or categories of a Scrum Board looks like this:
- User Stories or Backlog: This area shows the list of all user stories, meaning all the tasks left in the backlog of the current sprint.
- To do: This column shows the tasks that have not yet been started.
- Work in Progress (WIP): this category shows tasks that are currently being executed or revised.
- Done: usually corresponds to the last column on the right side. Here you can see the tasks that have been completed.
However, besides these basic categorizations, the Scrum Board can be further subdivided by using additional categories. For example, the following can be inserted:
- Not started,
- Verify, etc.
☝ Regardless of the number and nature of the categories chosen, it is always necessary to have the column "Done". This, in fact, indicates the completion of each objective and is necessary to allow the transition to the next sprint.
Graphically, a Scrum Board first represents all the tasks to be executed in the leftmost column. Thus, as the Scrum team progresses in its work, the tasks are gradually moved from left to right. When the work is complete, all tasks that have been completed are displayed in the far right column.
Scrum Board: Examples
One simple distinction to make is to consider two different types of scrum board:
- one on a physical support,
- the other on a virtual support.
Scrum Boards on physical supports were the first to appear in project management. At the beginning, they were very improvised and rudimentary because it was a new concept.
This type of Scrum Board works best for smaller or local teams. This is because in the latter case, making updates manually does not cause a significant loss of time.
The advantage of physical Scrum Boards is that they allow frontal communication. This can contribute to team building and team cohesion.
Scrum Boards on virtual support
Let’s now focus on the virtual scrum board. A scrum board on virtual support offers several advantages, such as a higher level of customization, live updates and greater flexibility.
This type of Scrum Board tends to be particularly beneficial for fast-paced teams, especially those involved in software creation and software technology. This board is also preferable when remote team members are present or when external stakeholders want to monitor the progress of the project in person.
The online scrum board offers additional features compared to the physical scrum board. These include the ability to add automatic reminders, document archiving, a high level of customization, remote monitoring of work progress, approval settings and change history.
Advantages of the Scrum Board
The Scrum Board is an accessible, user-friendly and highly dynamic tool. Its application in a project management context can be a great advantage.
Among other things, a Scrum Board provides particular security in areas such as:
- Transparency → you can monitor what is happening at any time,
- Timeliness → you can share information with the team in real-time,
- Clarity → you have a clear structured work to be considered as an important reference point for the progress of your project,
- Independence → You can use Scrum Boards from any device (smartphone, tablet and PC),
- Collaboration → Through Scrum Boards, communication with the team and collaboration between its members is encouraged,
- Updates → It is promoted by Scrum Boards iterative development, as it can set dates and deadlines and eventually activate a reminder system,
- Focus → increases the team's level of concentration on tasks.
In addition, the Scrum Board facilitates the identification of inefficiencies within the design process. It also enables a fairer distribution of tasks and workload within the team.
Scrum Board: a key element for your projects!
Because it is accessible to all members of the project team at all times, the Scrum Board is a reliable point of reference. It is super fast to create and help you and your teams to answer project needs.
By using a scrum board, all doubts about the progress of the project can be cleared. It is also easier to identify and eliminate problems or factors causing delays. The scrum board allows project teams to get back on schedule and not accumulate delays.
Ultimately, the scrum board helps to properly allocate and manage tasks and overall work. It also makes the project team's work transparent by providing up-to-date reports and charts or maps (such as the burn down chart or burn up chart), as well as estimating backlog items (poker planning).
Therefore, it is important to consider using this iterative tool: it promotes the proper management of all kinds of project teams!