Monday, March 5, 2012

A New Big Visible for the Card Wall - State Change Criteria

I have a team that's just starting agile. During Sprint 0, we decided on a Definition-of-Done, but the team also wanted a way to make the criteria for moving a story card from one column on the wall to another big and visible. Being new, they thought it would help them to see, as they move a card from one column to the next, what had better be complete at this stage. If they had missed something, they have a chance to catch up before they actually move the card. We came up with yellow boxes that sit on the physical boundaries between columns on our card wall (see right). I'm calling them State Change Criteria (since there's already been a CCC since early XP days). The team left room to hand-write new criteria as their understanding grows and their process improves.

We came up with two more big visibles (not shown) that address the flow of "defects". One says: "In-sprint defects are moved back into Sprint Backlog." This is to remind the team that we don't track problems with in-play cards, we just fix and finish them within the sprint. The other says: "Escaped defects are written as new user stories and moved back into the Release Backlog." This is to remind the team that the Product Owner may choose to prioritize new functionality above fixing the defect.


  1. Hi Jeff, FYI: this is what is referred to in Kanban as "explicit policies" (reference David Anderson's book "Kanban"). Displaying them directly on the big visible board is also taught in their classes. It is a really healthy way to expose explicit policies so that your Kanban board tells a complete story.

  2. Hi Bob! Thanks for letting me know about Kanban's "explicit policies". Anderson's book is on my (ever growing) book list - thanks for the reminder about it.