The agile tool box!

One of the things I can't over emphasise enough when coaching agile techniques or working with a team is the importance of keeping everything 'real' and 'physical' I'm an enormous fan of the 

'Information Radiator'

 despite being accused numerous times of being a 'bit old school' and once told by a manager that a task board didn't reflect well on an IT department!

A task board is a brilliant way of being visible and visibility helps to encourage collaboration and trust.

Writing stories on index cards or post-it notes is the start to working collaboratively - you can touch and feel the story... pass it around sequence them on a board as a team and discuss each story - it's something that just doesn't happen when using a computer based system.

If I'm being really honest - I secretly wonder if teams who don't use a physical task board are really all that agile or just scrum-buts!

That might sound a bit far stretched (I'm sure theres plenty of teams working in very agile teams with a wonderful plethora of electronic tools to aid)...  But often when I talk to people who laugh at having a physical task board I very quickly discover they they don't run story writing work-shops - If they do the developers are often not invited - There's little or no collaborative estimation or refinement (grooming) of the backlog - probably no


and little or no team contact with the Product Owner.

They tend to just be teams that use an electronic kanban board or task board to track work but very little else!

OK - Rant over! And back to the agile tool-box! I've only recently began to carry around 'my agile

MX5's were built for a different type of agility!

toolbox' and to be honest it's a pain! It's rather  heavy and bulky and worse of all it doesn't easily fit into my MX5.

So why do I have one? Well going back to the information radiator... It's a wonderful way of radiating information! It's a conversation starter! People ask "What's in the box?" What is it all about which then leads onto conversations about agile and a chance for me to share my knowledge, experience and love of the subject  (wether they want me to or not!)

I find my Agile toolbox is a further extension of keeping the process of being agile, physical and real.

It's also handy for carrying around all of my post-it notes, agile games, egg timer, pens, pencils, planning poker cards and of-cause... my lunch!

Not sure that an agile toolkit looks that cool with an MX5!