The Scrum process is one of the most popular project planning methods and is a very effective way to see a project through to completion. The fundamentals of the scrum process are very cyclical and form a workflow that can be repeated for continued success. While the scrum process is a cyclical tool for project completion, scrum boards don’t have to be so rigid.
In this article, we will discuss the 6 best scrum boards to implement with your team and walk through how they are all unique in their own right. If you want to learn more about how you can integrate Scrum with virtual workshops, check out our popular guide here.
Scrum Board Recap
If you’re still learning about what Scrum boards are and how they can be applied, our definition for the scrum board is as follows: “A scrum board is a visualization tool that teams use to better organize their sprints and efficiently move through their workflow. It most commonly is organized into the backlog, in progress, and completed columns, with another section for macro-level stories or goals. This organization makes it possible for entire teams to share a visual workflow and proceed with maximum efficiency.”
While most scrum boards are organized into these specific columns, they can be manipulated and edited to fit any specific needs that your team might have. This is one of the reasons using scrum boards is so popular among product teams, and later on, we’ll go into some details on how you can create a unique version of the scrum board that best fits the needs of your team.
Scrum boards usually follow the overall scrum process, which we define as: “Scrum is a workflow process that takes some ideology from the agile methodology and tries to incorporate efficient, consistent work progress into your team’s workflow. Scrum is the daily process that teams use to achieve specific goals and complete sprints”. This should shed some light on what scrum is as a whole and how it can be applied effectively on your various scrum boards.
Traditional Scrum Board
The traditional scrum board is the one mentioned in the recap and the most common form of the scrum board that teams use to plan their sprints. It consists of four columns and two or more rows. The columns represent the product backlog, sprint backlog, in-progress tasks, and completed tasks.
These columns allow you to effectively prioritize tasks with your team and create a visual understanding of what’s on deck for your project, what’s being worked on at the moment, and what’s already been completed.
The rows in the scrum board represent different user stories. User stories are basically the customer experience flow that is being edited or overhauled, and the rows will designate specific tasks that relate to that journey.
Organizing sprints in relation to the user stories means you can target specific points of frustration for the users and demonstrate actionable change in their journey. This is much harder to do without the specific focus on their experience and also helps create empathy for the users which is critical to properly addressing the holes in their journey.
A way that you can make the traditional scrum board unique is by using colored notes or shapes to distinguish between different types of tasks or task statuses. This makes the board much more clear to everyone using it and enables you to quickly locate different pieces of information all over the board. This strategy is very helpful on the traditional scrum board but can also be applied to all the boards on this list.
Story Focused Scrum board
The story focused scrum board is a carbon copy to the traditional scrum board but adds a column for user stories. You might be wondering why stories are represented both in a column and in rows, but for some teams, this might be an extremely important addition.
User stories are the backbone of using the scrum methodology and without them, there would be no focus within the projects. Whether you’re using scrum to create a brand new product, provide unique solutions to customers, or audit the overall customer experience of your product/service, having a solid user story will always be at the center of this journey.
This is why creating an additional column to gather multiple user stories is so important. This column adds another step to the scrum process and enables your team to brainstorm many different user stories. By doing so, you can create a prioritization list for user stories that will be addressed and emphasize the collection of stories.
Not only does this help prioritize user stories, but it helps point out new areas that can be improved which might not have been realized before. In this way, the user-centric scrum board provides many advantages to understanding your customer and can be a great scrum board for your team to implement.
Design Inclusive Scrum Board
The design inclusive scrum board has a section alongside the sprint backlog that includes a place for design iterations. This section can be customized to your specific needs and can include just notes about the design, specific design plans, or even full design screens. Any additions are possible while using the scrum board through an online whiteboard.
This board is best for product teams who are designing a new concept or product flow, and in order to accomplish this, they must visualize the process and build it based on a specific design scheme.
When this is the case it’s much easier to organize your work and prioritize tasks when you have a constant reminder and understanding of the flow that is being worked on. Being able to glance over at your design notes, or even design slides, provides a deep understanding of the material that’s being created and facilitates a strong connection between the final product and the scrum process.
This design inclusive scrum board creates an environment where teams can create complex design iterations through the scrum process and maintain a strong identity to the desired final product. For these reasons, it’s a popular variation of the scrum board.
Roadblock Scrum Board
Being able to understand the overall workflow is great, but what happens when a wrench gets thrown in the works? The roadblock scrum board adds a column for “stuck” or “blocked” where people can add specific tasks or projects that cannot be moved forward because either they need help getting it over the line or some outside circumstance has stopped their progress.
This board is very reminiscent of an in-depth kanban board because they both share having a stuck section for people to use. Both of these boards enable you to visually communicate that you’re stuck on a certain task and need help getting it through to completion, and also help teams work through projects.
Having a place to organize “stuck” tasks allows people to take another step further into the understanding of the workflow as a whole, what needs more effort and attention, and what can be placed on hold for a second.
Speaking of being placed on hold, this board is a great place to add a “hold” column in order to emphasize the possible need to pivot during the work process. Having a hold section could be important for multiple different reasons and allows for the reprioritization of tasks, the flexibility to stretch effort to different areas, or simply the stepwise completion of multiple interrelated items. Adding columns like “stuck” and “hold” makes using scrum boards incredibly easy and enables you to personalize your team’s workflow in any way you want.
Intersectional Scrum Board
The intersectional scrum board is a big pile-up of many that we’ve talked about already and requires some serious organization to pull off. This scrum board is meant to be used by multiple teams all at once. There are different columns set up for design teams, QA (quality assurance) teams, development teams, and anyone else that is fundamentally involved with your scrum process.
By including in-progress and done columns for each of the different involved team’s everyone can gain a top-down overview of the entire workflow and understand exactly what needs to be done in order to achieve project completion.
Having a birds-eye view of the entire project provides some much-needed transparency for all the team members because they can now see the statuses and progress of the rest of the team. This provides a very clear picture to each team of what items are coming up soon and what things will need to get handled first when they get moved.
By having a clear overview of the project from start to finish, teams are able to prioritize as a unit and save some misunderstandings around prioritization and task management. All three (or more) teams can create a priority list together on the most important tasks and how they can be approached in order to achieve success, and then the teams can collaborate to execute this vision together.
If having every team be represented on the same scrum board is too much at once, the alternative to the intersectional scrum board would be to just conduct separate scrums. This would effectively look like the intersectional scrum board but split apart instead of aggregated to the same structure.
Online whiteboards provide a flexible environment so that this structure can be created easily without the clutter of the intersectional scrum. You can have all of your separate scrum boards organized on the same platform so people either have the option to focus on one specific scrum or can look at the larger picture and get a better view of how the overall team is operating.
This invokes the advantages of visual collaboration and enables teams to choose the options of collaborating or focusing just on their specific tasks. By creating an environment of transparency and collaboration, the separate scrums method enables you to complete sprints with a complete understanding of the workflow and positive communication between teams.
If you’re ever worried if the scrum methodology is too rigid for your team, hopefully, this guide has demonstrated how flexible and applicable the scrum board really is. If you’re interested in learning more about different templates that can help improve online marketing check out our most recent post on the Lander Blog.