Saturday, February 4, 2017

A huge handmade progress bar

We're all used to have everything digital nowadays. Onenote, outlook, notepad++, whatever-tool-to-take-notes-not-in-paper. We also have all the tools in place for a proper project management, from Microsoft Project to JIRA, Asana, whatever-tool-to-make-sure-your-project-is-successful. It's a digital world and there's no need to run from it. It's good. However, there's something all these tools cannot give: the sense of reality. Really see the finish line.

One of the best places to run in Portugal

What does this have to do with a progress bar? Well, I'm an old school guy. I like paper books rather than PDF. I spent more than a decade learning in chopstick boards. And the first years of your life are spent drawing things. So, I'm one of those that religiously believe that the first step of a task is always either a whiteboard or a blank piece of paper. The great news is that I have the privilege of working in a place where almost every wall is available to write. So, we draw a lot.

In the past months we were "under water" (again) with milestones to hit. Our attention was again starting to get scattered. "What needs to go to production when? What does JIRA say?". Argh, this is hard. Hum, drawing boards...

César Afonso
We have whiteboards everywhere

And magic happened. We decided to draw a progress bar on one of the walls next to the team (The little man walking the progress bar is actually a joke from a contest, "Right Price"). A small thing that made a huge difference. Everyone sees it when they arrive. Everyone knows when they leave. Everyone understands the weight of it. Everyone is focused on our progress. When someone comes to our team with a feature request we can quickly give visibility of "can or can't do". We even get creative around it.

So, the wall behind me is now a huge handmade progress bar that we updated everyday. It's a small detail but for me makes a huge difference.