One of the great observations of agile tools and techniques that was made by a stakeholder during our first Agile pilot project a couple of years ago, was how refreshing it was to use simple child-like notions such as hand-written coloured cards and marker pens to identify categorise and prioritise work. As I plan out my Agile Australia presentation I find it a much less daunting task now I have it carded up on my wall, I can grab one at a time to work on them, I can see a visual representation of the work I need to get done, and I can mark cards when they are in draft, review or complete.
These simple activities supported by low fidelity tools that can be purchased for dollars from a newsagency, have the benefit of familiarity for new-comers to agile, and also lend themselves to collaboration in the most natural way; anyone can pick up a card and scrawl a few thoughts down to generate a discussion. Even your most experienced agile consultant will not scare a business stakeholder as they demonstrate the ease in which you can write up a card, stick it in a priority order on a wall, or even grab it off and tear it in two if it’s no longer needed.
It’s this demystification of work-that-needs-to-get-done that can be such a powerful enabler when using an agile approach to software and business change.
Banish confusing tools that have training and cost as an entry barrier, and death to weighty ‘enterprise worthy’ document templates.