User stories are an important part of the Agile project management process; they outline the capabilities and functions that people require from systems such as business intelligence platforms. Mostly, these descriptions are written on physical cards that are posted on story walls.
Always be willing to switch up your story wall format when required.
A story wall is a type of ‘information radiator’ that enables all members of the team to see how much progress they are making in an iteration or ‘sprint’. A cohesive, organised story wall provides a key focal point for people’s efforts and ensures everyone is aware of priority tasks and any roadblocks.
There are many ways to set up a story wall, so by no means is the approach we’ll be describing the only one. However, we’ve found it a very efficient methodology for keeping projects on track. Here’s how the consultants at AtoBI traditionally coordinate user stories.
Story walls are often set out in columns, with progress tracked from left to right. This layout provides a visually accessible means of quickly assessing the success of a project so far.
Your story wall can have as many columns as you deem necessary, although you may want to avoid overcomplicating matters. Columns that businesses commonly use include:
Backlog: This column is where all your user stories begin their journey. Prioritise your cards by placing them in top-down order of importance.
Ready for dev: Once your team has completed the appropriate preparation work and acceptance criteria, cards can move into the ‘ready for development’ column.
In development: No mysteries here – the cards in this column are for those projects that your team is currently working on. However, we recommend that you only have one card per dedicated resource in this column.
Ready to test: When the development phase is complete, your cards can move to the testing column. They should receive signoff against the acceptance criteria at this point.
Complete: The user story has finished the relevant stages and is now considered complete. No further action should be necessary.
The path to effective project management rarely runs smooth, which is why you should introduce a ‘blocked’ cards column to cover user stories that are unable to progress for whatever reason. Every daily stand-up should address these cards to ensure a swift resolution is reached.
One of the key principles of Agile project management is the ability to adapt to changing needs and market conditions, so always be willing to switch up your story wall format when required.
If you want to learn more about Agile methodologies, the consultants at AtoBI would love to help. Please contact us today.