How to get the most out of UpWave – Introduction to Agile Process Frameworks

UpWave – Task Management for Teams Made easy


Here at UpWave we are dedicated to empowering teams to get more done together and simplify work processes. If you already are a user of UpWave there’s a chance you are familiar with agile processes, and may have heard about Scrum and Kanban. If the previous sentence filled you with confusion and terror, fear not! We will make it a breeze to learn a little bit more about these techniques. They have made teams of all shapes and sizes more effective.

Kanban vs. Scrum

So what is Scrum and Kanban any way?

Put simply, Scrum and Kanban are two different methods to help you work more effectively by giving your work structure and simple processes to follow. Kanban and Scrum are two terms that are often (incorrectly) used interchangeably but in reality, they have significant differences.

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Scrum on the surface

Scrum is a tool used to organize work into small, manageable pieces that can be completed by a cross-functional team within a prescribed time period, or a so-called “sprint”. A Sprint is typically between 2-4 weeks long.  

For you to plan, organize, administrate, and optimize this process, Scrum relies on at least three prescribed roles:

    1. Product Owner-  responsible for initial planning, prioritizing, and communication with the rest of the company.  
    2. Scrum Master – responsible for overseeing the process during each sprint.
    3. Team Members – responsible to carry out the purpose of each sprint.

Additionally, the Scrum Board is a vital part of this methodology. The Scrum Board is a visual presentation of the workflow, broken down into manageable chunks called “stories”. The stories can be moved along the board to signalize state of work – from the backlog, which is the “to-do list” into work-in progress (WIP) and on to completion.

Kanban at the surface

The Kanban methodology dates back more than 50 years. Same as Kanban, this tool is used to organize and visualize the workflow for the sake of efficiency.

There are four fundamental Kanban principles:

  1. Visualize work to increase communication and collaboration.
  2. Limit work in progress to avoid an endless chain of non-prioritized open tasks.
  3. Measure and optimize the flow, collect metrics, predict future problems.
  4. Aim for continuous improvement as the result of analysis.

Similar to Scrum, Kanban encourages work to be broken down into manageable chunks and use a Kanban Board. The Kanban Board is very similar to the Scrum Board – it is used to visualize work as it progresses through the workflow.  A basic Kanban Board has a three-step workflow

  1. To do
  2. In Progress
  3. Done

Depending on Team´s size, structure and objectives, the workflow can be adjusted to meet the unique processes of any particular team. The Kanban Board is broken down by Kanban Cards. These cards feature critical information on given work, who is responsible for what, estimated time period for work to be completed and so on.

The difference at a glance

Kanban and Scrum share similar concepts but have different approaches.

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Difference between Kanban and Scrum: (https://www.atlassian.com/agile/kanban)

The board itself: On a Scrum Board, the columns are labeled to reflect periods in the workflow, beginning with the backlog and ending with what needs to get done. All the stories added to the board at the beginning of each sprint should be found in the final column at the end of that sprint. After completion of the sprint, the board is cleared and prepared for the next sprint. On the Kanban board, columns are as well labeled to illustrate workflow states. But the difference from Scrum is that they allow only for a maximum amount of stories for each column as well there are no required time boxes, such as the sprint length. The Kanban board will continue to flow for as long as the project continuous, stories can be added and edited throughout the entire time

Scheduling: While Scrum place heavy emphasis on schedule, limitations to time allowed to accomplish a particular task, meaning sprints, as well there are set deadlines. For Kanban, there are no required time boxes, while there are limits to the amount of tasks that can be ongoing.

Roles and responsibilities: Scrum Team requires at least 3 roles that need to be assigned for effectively process the work: Product Owner, Scrum Master and Team Members. Kanban on the other hand has no set roles. Normally, the roles evolves with the needs of the project and the organization. The team in Kanban is not required to be cross-functional as in Scrum.

Who can benefit from it?

While these two methodologies is known as being popular framework used by software and engineering teams. It is however shown that these processes have been gaining steadily popularity in other fields. The processes can be beneficial for anyone working on any sort of complex project, for example if you work in Marketing and you are working on an ad campaign, it could definitely be beneficial for your Team. 

No tool is complete, no tool is perfect

So you might end up asking – which methodology is the best approach? There really is no way to answer this, the final rank depends on the problem you are trying to solve.

Both Scrum and Kanban are powerful, proven processes tools that can vastly improve whatever you are working on. Luckily, UpWave has the flexibility that suit your workflow needs, so the best option is to become familiar with both Scrum and Kanban and experiment to see which approach is better for your overall strategy.

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Useful resources:

Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business

The Scrum Guide

http://scrumguides.org

https://www.crisp.se/file-uploads/Kanban-vs-Scrum.pdf

https://realtimeboard.com/blog/choose-between-agile-lean-scrum-kanban/#.WDbDiuHhC8U

http://www.informationweek.com

Announcing new November features

UpWave is Task Management for Teams made easy. Sign up for your 30 day free trial today!


Here at UpWave we are always striving to improve your experience. One of our most important principles is to develop UpWave to suit your needs, which is why we appreciate all the feedback we receive from our customers.With that in mind, we are thrilled to announce our biggest update so far, designed solely to make UpWave more useful and help you get more done, together.

Activity feed on Boards

Simply click on the Board name (in this screenshot, that is “Marketing Q4” and in the drop down menu click on Board Activity. All activity history within that board will now be displayed. This means you can quickly and easily track who did what and when.

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Activity feed on Cards

Click on any card and scroll down to the bottom of the comments section. Here you’ll find the “Show activity” button which will give you details on all activity that has happened on this specific card since it was created. This gives you an even more detailed overview of who is doing what and when, at the click of a button.

In addition, comments you have made can now be easily edited through the 3 dot menu at the right of each comment.

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Drag and drop your colors

This feature makes sorting your colors easier – simply drag and drop as you want and arrange colors to suit your workflow.

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Other highlights include:

  • Invoices are available as a downloadable PDF
  • New language! UpWave is now available in Dutch – heel graag gedaan!

Thanks again to all our growing international user community for providing such fantastic feedback! Any features that you would love to have in UpWave, we encourage you to get in touch with us at https://www.upwave.io/contact . We are always happy to hear from you, it is more helpful than you think.

Sincerely,

The UpWave Team


UpWave is Task Management for Teams made easy. Sign up for your 30 day free trial today! 

The NSBF – an UpWave success story

Ever wondered who is using UpWave and- how they use it? We had a chat with Lisa Maria Watson from the the Norwegian SnowBoard Association and got the answers to these questions.

Skjermbilde 2016-11-01 kl. 10.09.49.png“Our main goal as an organization is to improve team collaboration. Since we started using UpWave we have seen great improvements to both our communication and how we work together. The team is becoming more involved and engaged.”  Lisa Maria Watson, The Norwegian SnowBoard Association. 

The Norwegian SnowBoard Association´s mission is to show the world how important it is to have fun. The Norwegian SnowBoard Association (NSBF) is affiliated with both the Norwegian Confederation of Sports and the World Snowboarding Federation. NSBF´s purpose is to promote snowboarding in Norway at all levels. This includes representing snowboarding internationally and helping to develop positive communities where snowboarding is part of a versatile and comprehensive leisure activity for all ages and levels of ability.

Before UpWave, the NSBF relied on using spreadsheets such as excel. However this solution was too difficult for organizing and structuring work. Additionally, several attempts were made to integrate different project management tools, but these were perceived as too complex and unengaging for the team.

The NSBF chose UpWave as the best solution. “UpWave gives me a better overview of what my tasks are, what my team works on and their tasks. It helps us stay on track on what needs to be done and how to prioritize our work” says Lisa Mari Watson.

Easy Onboarding

The NSBF uses UpWave for internal planning of projects, organizing both long and short term events, and during weekly meetings to get an overview of the present week. Today 8-9 full time employee use UpWave and additional members join during the high season. One of the advantages that the NSBF has seen with UpWave is the easy onboarding. “When we add new members, no training has been required thus far”.

Increased Team engagement

The Norwegian SnowBoard Association can report that the team is getting more involved since starting to use UpWave. What is interesting to see is that on UpWave Boards with more members, there is a higher level of activity and engagement as well as efficiency in communication.

Better work flow

“We see that there is more flow in everything we do – we have seen a huge reduction in emails, facebook messages, and long sms threads –  thanks to the integrations such as Slack and Google Drive we now simply get more things done and we can keep everything in one place. UpWave helps keep us more organized and on track”.

Want to work like the NSBF? Sign up for a 30 day free trial today at www.upwave.io