The litmus test of a good Scrum Board is its ability to quickly and accurately communicate the state of the Iteration to people inside and outside of the team. The challenge is that the board must contain enough technical information to guide the team but also enough high level information that people outside the team can understand what is going on.

There is no such thing as the perfect Scrum Board. Every team will require a different implementation of the Scrum process that works best for them. That said there are some common factors that should be considered for all Scrum Boards.

General information about the team that people outside the team may want to know:

  • Team name – tells you what team is called and useful in an environment where there are several teams and boards
  • Vision – concisely tells you what the shared goal of the team is
  • Definition of Done – tells you what the team need to do to complete each Story
  • A list of iteration start dates – Lets you work out how far through the current Iteration the team are and by having a list it saves rewriting this information each Iteration

Current Iteration information

  • Clearly labelled columns
  • Clearly written Stories and Tasks with Story numbers on each ticket
  • Stories ordered by priority with the highest priority stories at the top of the Board
  • Use colour to differentiate types of stories or tasks, some examples of how to use coloured postits include
  • Type of task – testing, development
  • Different projects
  • Different Epics or Features
  • BAU v project work
  • Urgency
  • If different coloured postits are used then there should be a Key showing what the different colours mean
  • Avatars should be used to show who is working on what
  • Avatars should have names on them so it is clear to outsiders who they represent
  • Markers should be used for blocked stories (also on the Key)
  • A mechanism for capturing significant non planned work eg on an unused colour of postit. These can be reviewed every few retrospectives to see what common issues you are missing that could be planned for
  • Burndown chart to show how the current iteration is progressing
  • Release tracking if releasing is not included in the Definition of Done
  • Board discipline

    • Stories and tasks should be neatly written so they can be read from a reasonable distance
    • Stories and tasks should be neatly laid out with no overlaps
    • Stories and tasks should be should be positioned so any associations can be clearly understood

    Most boards will evolve over time to meet the needs of the team. It is useful to photograph the Board at the end of each Iteration so you can go back and see how your board evolved.