Tackle Life Together

A blog by Sally Waters

sally [at] homescrum .co.uk

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Ways of using your Home Scrum system on the move

A physical task board for your Home Scrum system is the best option. Despite all the ways that using a physical board has its advantages, there is one quite obvious downside: what do you do when you’re away from the board? There are two sides to this problem: how to remember what your tasks are for the day, and how to collect new tasks for the board while you’re out and about (or even just in a different room).

Referring to your day’s tasks while on the move

Well, for referring to your board, I’ve found that the simplest way is to take a photo of the relevant section of your board on your phone and then look at the photo when you’re out and about. If you want a more tactile version of the day’s to-do list, you could take the tasks for today off the board and carry them with you, maybe in your wallet or an envelope. However, this gets fiddly and you run the risk of losing your tasks. It also creates the extra work of transferring the tickets from the board to some kind of wallet or envelope and putting them all back at the end of the day.

Neither of these options are quite as convenient as having a digital or physical to-do list. But perhaps this limitation can serve as a helpful constraint too: if your day’s plans are too elaborate to easily remember the gist of after talking it through at your Daily Scrum the evening before, perhaps you are adding too many things to your tasks for the day. 

Capturing new tasks while on the move

Capturing tasks whenever you think of one is very helpful in making sure you can trust your Home Scrum system. Remember that capturing absolutely everything you think of that you could get done isn’t a very healthy approach, but on the other hand it can be calming to know you have your obligations written down so you won’t forget.

To be able to write down tasks anywhere we’ve tried several solutions, none perfect, but it boils down to having a way to have access to a pen and small pieces of paper in several different colours so that you can write down any task for any life category and add it to the board the next time you’re there. Here’s some ideas:

  • I carried an A5 folder in my bag which had a page of mini-envelopes, one per colour, in the back, which was quite effective.
These envelopes were made following a simple origami tutorial online.
I also used this A5 folder to blu-tack tasks into, although I got too elaborate with it. If kept simple, this could be a good solution.
  • I made Francis a mini concertina-style notebook which acts a bit like an extendable pocket, where we can tuck different colours in different sections ready for use.
I only made this because I happened to be taking a book-binding course for fun.
Can carry tasks you need to remember to do, tasks you come up with while away from the board, and spare tickets of different colours, potentially all in their own separate space.
  • Keep pieces of paper in a little cloth pouch in our pockets.
  • Keep pieces of paper loose in our pockets.
  • Keep pieces of paper in our wallets.
  • Perhaps a simpler solution could be to keep a packet of post-it notes on you, or a small multicoloured notebook that you can tear the pages out of.
  • Keep pieces of paper in/by your desk at home or work, and in other small stashes around the house.

There is always the difficulty of keeping a pen to hand as well, and again remembering to transfer the new tasks onto the board at some point. However, these are not insurmountable obstacles and it’s okay if the system for capturing new tasks isn’t perfect or you don’t manage to use it all the time.

If you have ideas about good ways to capture tasks on the go, please post about it on our Reddit or Slack!

In all honesty, we haven’t been trying to capture tasks on the go for a while now, and add tasks as they occur to us during Daily Scrum and at sprint planning. This leaves some potential holes where things could get forgotten, but we find that actually as long as we are engaging with the Daily Scrums then the important tasks and events will eventually get put on the board.

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