Many product teams use a team board to visualise their work.
What if your board had rows as well as columns? There are 3 big wins…
1. Priorities are clearer
The row at the top has a higher priority than the second row, etc. It’s easier for the team to visualise priorities. It avoids the most important work getting lost in the noise.
2. Standups are more effective
Many teams have a daily standup. The key thing about standups is that they are about having the most important conversations.
Having rows means that you can “walk the board” (from right to left) one row at a time.
This makes standups more focused. It ensures that you talk about the most important work.
If you run out of time then it’s the lower priorities that have to be discussed offline.
Collaboration is key to high performing teams, but collaboration can also be a distraction.
You need a ratchet: only let people get distracted by something more important.
If I’m working on something in row 2 and I ask a colleague for help… I can expect help from them if they’re working on something of lower priority (row 3 downwards), but NOT if they’re working on something higher priority (row 1).
When someone asks me for help, then having clear easily visualised priorities makes it easier to know, “is giving my help the best use of my time”.
The other good thing about rows is that all related tickets can be grouped together. Often a single user story is made up of several tickets (one for the API, one for the frontend, etc).
For the team I’m currently part of, I predict that adding rows would result in delivering 15% more value.