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Hansoft for Co-located Teams: Combining Hansoft with a Physical Board

Teams with the benefit of sitting next to each other occasionally choose to keep their physical board also after having started to use Hansoft. Here we have gathered some of the feedback we have received as success factors to combine Hansoft with the physical board.

 

 

Draw a Line Between the Digital and Physical Spheres of Information

A clear line between the physical and digital world is useful and the most common method to draw this line is to agree on how granular the information on the physical board should be. This is especially important in enterprise-like contexts where certain information must be stored digitally.

In the same organization teams may choose different combinations, such as:

  • Team Green: A couple of the team members are in other offices and they frequently work from home so they have decided to keep everything they work on in Hansoft.
  • Team Orange: Keeps the user stories in both Hansoft and on the physical board, while tasks are only managed on the physical board.
  • Team Blue: This team keeps the user stories in Hansoft while keeping only the detailed tasks on the physical board as no one outside their team really needs to care about it.

All of these teams are working on the same product and therefore everything they have in common, such as the bug database and higher level epics and user stories, are kept in Hansoft. In this way they get one central repository of their goals and issues while having a common understanding if they are all pulling in the same direction.

To maintain the same information both in Hansoft and on post-its or similar can cause a big administrative overhead and headache in many cases. There is a risk that Team Orange will spend more time figuring out if user stories have been updated in both places rather than on the discussion on what remains to complete them. They might also assign the SCRUM master with the duty to keep the physical board aligned with the information in Hansoft which is wasteful.

Some tips for a successful combination when some information is only on the physical board:

  • The Product Backlog stays in Hansoft and is not broken down any further than User Story level
  • Keep user stories as lanes on the physical board so that it is easy to see when you can complete a user story in Hansoft or estimate the work remaining for the burndown.
  • Avoid tracking bugs on the physical board. Instead, have an area on the physical board where you place the avatars of the people fixing bugs so that is visible but the updates are being made in Hansoft directly.
  • If a user story is not completed in a sprint, add a comment in Hansoft as to what remains so that you can clear the physical board and still have historical record of what has already been done.

Sensitive Data Stays in Hansoft

Though the physical board can be an excellent information radiator, it also suffers from various security flaws. No one has to authenticate to access the information and in the current era of widespread industrial espionage taking a picture of a board through a window or when walking by can expose much about what is going on in an organization.

With Hansoft, your data is stored safely and encrypted, so a best practice is to store sensitive details in Hansoft. A simple flag in Hansoft if something is sensitive is often enough. In this example this is a new custom column Information Security Class:

 

In organizations where people are encouraged to work from home or occasionally are away on business trips it makes more sense to keep all the information in Hansoft. Make the decision if the physical board should be used at the start of each sprint planning. During the sprints where the sprint is managed entirely in Hansoft, make use of the board view in Hansoft to keep having efficient standups.

 

Combine the Physical Board with a Digital Dashboard

In the area where you keep the physical board it is also recommended to keep a TV screen if possible so that you can combine the more siloed information on the physical board with the higher level information about progress on a Hansoft dashboard. In this way the area becomes a center for a complete understanding of current velocities and progress towards goals.

Typical things to show on the TV:

  • Sprint burndown (on user story level) and Release burndowns
  • New incoming work like bugs and the trend over time
  • Traffic light for overall work in progress
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