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Lean card wall: "Today" view

I’ve worked with teams who have some fairly sophisticated card walls, in terms of columns (some even warranted!). For my personal card wall, I really just want an at-a-glance view for my day: just the work that I’m dealing with today, nothing more, nothing less.

So I have two simple columns: To-do now and Doing. Like this:

Lean Card

I WIP-limit both of these columns, with Doing at three and To-do now double that (I’ve found that three is a reasonable amount of stuff that I can have in-progress at a time, though the purist in me says it’s only one). I have configured this view in Mingle to show only these two columns, though others — like DoneTo-do soon and To-do later — also exist. When capacity opens in Doing, I can quickly check among the six or so items in the To-do now column and prioritize the next one, because it’s not as overwhelming as if I were to look at all of my possible work available. When capacity opens up in the To-do now column, I zoom out a bit and look at my overall plan of work and pull something in from To-do soon or To-do later, which correspond to rough time horizons of “within 30 days” and “within 90 days.”

Why just two? Ultimately, when planning my day, I don’t care much about what I have already done, and anything that is less important than stuff that I need to do today shouldn’t concern me. It’s the leanest view that I can have of my personal work.

Now the question is whether this can apply to teams, as well…

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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