Last year we launched the Ultimate Wallboard Contest, Atlassian’s search to find the best information radiators and wallboards. We were amazed by the response from around the world: 87 entries ranging from polished products to midnight hack sessions. We wanted to share the secrets from the cream of the crop wallboards entrants. This is our last post in the series, we hope you’ve enjoyed reading them!



The Best “Old School” Wallboard

As we announced back in December, Sarah Park from GLiNTECH was voted the Best “Old School” Wallboard  in the Ultimate Wallboard contest. To recap:

This wallboard gives GLiNTECH an easy to read progress overview.
It uses a simple ticket system where details are provided for all user stories in a
sprint as well as the tasks to implement each story. Markers are used to indicate who is working on which ticket.

love the clothesline metaphor, and for what it tracks I think the
presentation of project status is the easiest to read at a glance of all
of the old school entries.” – Dick Wall

After the contest we caught up with Petros Petrou (Project Manager of Optio software at GLiNTECH) to better understand their good lookin’ wallboard and what they were doing with their TV + Mac Mini prize. Read on for more details.

Where Are They Now?

Your Old School Wallboard-winning clothesline had gone through several iterations before the contest. Since we last spoke, how has your clothesline wallboard evolved? Does the team continue to use it? 

Yes the team had initially continued to use the clothesline wallboard at the beginning of each iteration. We found that it was still useful and efficient to use physical user story cards during the planning phase of each iteration. However as soon as we “lock in” the user stories to be developed for the iteration the scrum master would replicate the physical clothes line wallboard to the digital one.

But since our last iteration we did not use the clothesline and the user story cards went straight onto the digital wallboard. Our clothesline soon became obsolete and we completely shifted to the digital version in July. Sarah also stopped creating ‘clothes’ cards for us in June and we couldn’t make them look good ourselves.

How have you used the TV and Mac Mini prize? 
We use it to display GreenHopper wallboards.

How has the new wallboard changed how your team works? Any different benefits vs. the clothesline? 
We found that the majority of members of the scrum team prefer to use the digital board on their PCs in the office and 1-2 still preferred the physical clothesline. When we would start the iteration with the clothesline and then transition to the digital wallboard some user points were lost – physically – so the status was incorrect sometimes. Once we mounted the TV, then things changed.

Our team can work remotely and we still see their progress instantly on the screen. Also there is no duplication with the Scrum Master updating everything or double checking for what we called the ‘lost and found clothing’ – GreenHopper does the work. Once mounted the status is exposed to everybody, all the time. Now all members are relatively disciplined in updating the digital wallboard. Our Managing Director checks it daily and everyone wants to ensure their productivity is visible.

Having dabbled in both, what are your thoughts on digital vs. analogue wallboards?   
It is important to note, we feel that if we did not have the TV mounted showing the current status of the project instantly to all, the benefit of using the digital wallboard would not be as obvious.

Other than what was described above, the digital wallboard has the added benefit of making the status updates available to the stakeholders and especially to the project sponsor without having the scrum master prepare reports and hold meetings.

Do you have any future plans for your wallboard (clothesline, digital or both)?  
The digital wallboard encourages collaboration when team members work remotely or from geographically distributed locations. This is where we are heading in the future as our Optio software team grows from only an in-house R&D team to client projects globally, a support team, enhancements and R&D teams. The clothesline just could not scale – but it was fun.

It’s Your Turn

Have any questions for the GLiNTECH team? Grown out of your own analogue wallboard? Or found a way to make it work for your team? Let us know in the comments.

Ultimate Wallboard Interview Series: Best "Ol...