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Choose your lanes

Starting a new project is always fun. For Agile/Lean teams setting up the story wall is a part of the fun.

Some would say you are defining the process that you want to follow. The life-cycle of the user stories from being analyzed to delivered. But there’s more to a wall than defining the story lifecycle. In its wall the team chooses what it wants to monitor.

The lanes on the story wall are statuses in which the story can be. An agile team wants to track these statuses to quickly find problems that are slowing the team down. These problems can broadly be classified into two categories.

Capacity Problems – Found by tracking Wait States

  • There is a bottle neck because people have too much on their plate
  • Can be solved by

    • Adding more people
    • Finding out better ways of doing the work
    • Prioritizing the work correctly
    • Making the process leaner by removing statuses

Capability Problems – Found by tracking Work In Progress States

  • There is a slowdown the right people are not doing the right job
  • There is are problems external to the team which are slowing the team down
  • Can be solved by

    • Training people if there is enough time
    • Bringing in specialists who can help out
    • Addressing external problems

Monitoring every state that the story is in is ideal but not optimum.

So choose your lanes keeping in mind what you want to monitor.

When something is not happening on its own, make it a ritual by adding a lane.

Keep your process lean by removing unnecessary statuses from the wall as well as the process.

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