Sprint Tasking Tips: Sticky Note Strategies


Tip: Defer task assignment

Try not to ever assume who will be working on a task. Further, don’t assign tasks to people in the Sprint Planning meeting. Instead, let people sign up for tasks just in time during the sprint. This helps reduce bottlenecks and critical pathing issues.


Tip: Strongly consider notating task signup on stickies

Most teams already do this anyway, but notating the person who is currently working the task greatly increases transparency.


Tip: Strongly prefer sticky notes over software to manage tasks

  • Low tech is the best tech!
  • Managing items at the granular task level is an extreme pain in the arse in a software tool. Strongly prefer stickies on a board!
  • Note for teams where members are not within 50 feet of each other:
    • If only a couple of your members are not within 50 feet, prefer sending a picture from a camera phone over making everyone use a software tool.
    • If many of your members are not within 50 feet, then you will probably have no other choice but to use a software tool. Prefer a very simple tool. Many of the Scrum management tools out there have a ginormous amount of bloat in them including many features that are not in line with the Scrum Guide.

Tip: Innovate with your task stickies

Some teams notate stickies by:

  • Adding a sticker to the sticky
  • Writing something or some symbol on the sticky
  • Using a different colored sticky

Don’t go overboard with this, but think about innovating your sticky system as follows:

  • Consider notating task stickies
    • that represent an external dependency (I usually use zero hour tasks for this)
    • that are on the “critical path”
    • that require “paired programming” or other required practices
    • for tasks that are “blocked”
  • Consider changing the way task stickies are arranged on the board
    • to illustrate task dependency
      • but also consider removing task dependencies if that’s easily accomplished
    • to illustrate the critical path
  • Consider using a different colored sticky for tasks
    • that represent an external dependency
    • that represent defects or bugs
  • Come up with your own way to innovate your task sticky system!

Again, don’t overdo it but do tune your sticky note system to your team’s needs. Also, be sure you’re not violating some principle of the Scrum Guide by notating your stickies.

Link to full article:  Sprint Tasking Tips

What are your favorite Sticky Note Strategies?  Post them in the comments.

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