Agile project management with Cashboard

By now you should know that Cashboard has a very flexible project management system that can be used in a variety of different ways. While you're free to manage your projects as simple to-do lists, we highly recommend that you adopt and stick to a process that will make you more efficient.

In the never ending quest to become more productive we're constantly reviewing new project management styles to see how they can improve our workflow.

Over the past few years many agile project management techniques have been developed,
mostly for use in the software development world.

These development techniques were created with the intent of helping engage customers and improving the productivity of teams using them. Fortunately, you don't have to be code monkeys like we are to appreciate and benefit in their use.

Why agile is better...

  • ...for personal project management

    Most people are familiar with the to-do list - we all have used em. On a to-do list, a task is either done or not. Sure, this is a simple way to manage projects, but in reality things are rarely that simple. What happens in between "doing" and "done"? To-do lists can't capture this properly.

  • ...for large project management

    Traditional "waterfall" project management has been criticized for being too static - unable to handle changes from clients mid-project. Old school project management has the tendency to be very time consuming and stressful - focusing more on the up front specification of requirements than actually getting to work.

Agile project management techniques attempt to solve these problems - helping you focus better, decreasing the time it takes to get feedback from customers, and creating shorter deliverable time frames.

Agile project management styles

Today the most popular agile management styles are probably Kanban and Scrum. These techniques are more applicable to a wide range of projects than their predecessors - such as extreme programming.

  • Scrum

    Scrum is a lightweight project management framework for managing incremental projects of all types - but originally created for product development.

    Product owners work hand in hand with their team to identify and prioritize items of importance into a Product Backlog. This backlog contains everything from features to bug fixes, and more.

    When the backlog is complete teams of workers estimate how long each item will take and claim ownership to deliver "shippable increments" during sprints, which usually last one month.

    After a sprint has been shipped it's reviewed, along with the Product Backlog. At this time the next set of features are selected for another sprint.

    This cycle continues until the project is complete.

    Want to learn more? Take a look at the official Scrum guide.

  • Kanban

    Originally developed by Toyota for use in manufacturing cars, Kanban has now been adopted in many other fields.

    Kanban focuses on lean, or "just in time" production that schedules what to produce, how to produce it, and how much to produce.

    This demand-driven system uses a visual board that contains cards to manage work in progress. A Kanban board is divided into separate columns that usually define stages in a process.

    Limits are placed on the number of cards that can be in the system at any one time, ensuring that they are only pulled when previous work is completed.

    Operating in this fashion ensures that people are never overloaded by their work.

    People have even started combining these management styles, producing things like Scrum-ban.

Being agile in Cashboard

Because Cashboard's project bulletin board is so flexible, it's a breeze to adopt these methods and use them to manage your own projects.

For this example let's assume we're using Kanban style project management.
Kanban lends itself well to personal and team project management.

Below we've taken a photo of one of our physical Kanban boards, and a digital one recreated inside Cashboard. Notice that we've divided our board into three columns - To-Do, Doing, and Done.

Kanban agile project bulletin board

Visualizing your work

Displaying your work this way shows what stage of development each feature or item is in as it flows left to right. This is extremely helpful in showing the status of a project at a glance.

Work in progress

In our minds, we've placed a limit of only 5 items in progress. Doing this is an essential rule of Kanban - which ensures that you're never overloaded. Limiting work "in progress" ensures you only have as much on your plate as you can handle.

Your work in progress number might be only 1 or 2 - it's all what works for you and helps you focus. The important part is that you come up with a number that makes sense for you and stick to it.

Think of it this way

A freeway can operate from 0 to 100 percent capacity. But when a freeway’s capacity gets over about 65%, it starts to slow down. When it reaches 100% capacity – it stops.

If your brain is a highway and you are filling yourself with work, after a time you start to slow down.

New work goes into the To-Do column, and items aren't moved into the Doing column until you've completed one of the items in progress by moving it to the Done column. You can easily do this by dragging items and dropping them into other lists.

For added benefit, you can even discuss work in progress with comments, assign them to other people on your team, and label them with colors inside Cashboard.

Is agile working for you?

Try managing your next project this way, and if you come up with any tips and tricks be sure to let other Cashboard users know.

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