Agile Forest

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Jvonvoss at recently did a very interesting blog – A World without Burndowns: The Unified Taskboard. It was an interesting concept – use your done column to replace your burn down chart.

Normally a taskboard will look like this:


The done column is just a list of everything that the team has achieved. Colour may be used to denote expedites.

Using Jvonvoss’s advice a standard Iteration Wall would have the Done column split into each day of the Sprint:


In this example, whilst on day 9 we know with certainty that we wont get through all the cards within the next two days as we have been consistently achieving 2 cards per day.


In the above example knowing whether we would finish all the cards by the end of the Sprint would be harder to work out – but the interesting reason is why. We can very easily see that the daily throughput is spiking up and down a lot. There is a constraint in the system. You would likely be able to see this as well in a Burn Down chart but visually this would pop more for visitors or managers that walk by.

Using Kanban, similar concepts of visualisation within the Done column can be used to track cycle time. In the example above we can see some outliers, but a majority of the cards are being done within three days and expedites are getting done on the same day. Again this won’t necessarily replace other graphs but the transparency is more apparent.



Lastly, how could you use a wall to track demand over time within the service industry? Cafes commonly print orders on dockets and add them to a backlog of beverages to produce. As the Barista becomes available they take the next priority item in the backlog and begins working on this. Imagine that when done putting the docket up on the wall by the hour that it came through – what would this enable a cafe owner to do? You can see from the above image that the peak time is 8-9 – you would make sure the majority of staff were on at this time, between 12 and 2 you would likely rotate lunch breaks and you might choose to close down earlier than 6 given how few the orders are in that time slot.

What other ways could you think of using the Done column?

2 thoughts on “Dazzling Dones: Using the Done column more effectively

  1. I tend to do something similar on my training courses but at a multi-Sprint Release level using a column labelled ‘Current Product’.

    In Scrum we would tend to have a smaller number of Stories (or Product Backlog Items more generally) than shown here broken down into Sprint Tasks so it would be the Tasks that would be labelled with their day of completion rather than Stories.

    How do you get from “the daily throughput is spiking up and down a lot” to “There is a constraint in the system?”

    1. Hi Rowan, thank-you for visiting and commenting.

      What do you believe the common cause of variability when visible is? What is a constraint to you?

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