Agile Programme Management and Epic Boards…

collaborationThe more I use the Epic Board, the more I love it.

Make no mistake about it, I don’t think this tool should (or could) replace a Scrum Task Board – it’s totally different.

The main thing I like about Scrum, and the whole Agile approach is the fact that it’s such a transparent and collaborative way of getting things done. My gripe to date has been that the collaboration is almost entirely restricted to taking place around a sprint – don’t get me wrong, this is great for so many reasons… but makes the role of the portfolio manager or the programme manager a rather lonely affair!

Okay, I’m exaggerating slightly… I’m not lonely (!) but I must confess that on a day-to-day basis, I see product managers interacting with their team to agree/scope a sprint… before returning to their desks to update their product backlogs, update their release plans and submit a new report outlining when everything is likely to get finished.

The programme manager then ends up with a pile of separate release plans, separate product backlogs and works on their own to collate them into a plan/overview of how the programme is looking.  I don’t mind doing this, I actually enjoy it, but my point is that it isn’t a particularly collaborative process!

Ever since we put up the Epic board, the Scrum of Scrums have become so much more interactive and uplifting. We create our release plans together, we share work between teams by moving Epics/stories around the board.  More than anything, however, we have a centre piece around which to channel discussion. We can see at a glance whether we’re likely to bottleneck in a few weeks time and we’re not all looking at print-outs of release plans.

This type of concept can be used to run a single project or a programme of work.  It’s just so useful, more collaborative, more fun and more Agile. :)

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