Using Card Walls and Agile Method Beyond IT

As more and more companies move to support a hybrid work model, many are shoring up processes and putting into place methods for completing projects and work. Many of these methods are ones common in IT practices and are now being expanded to work outside IT across all departments, from marketing and finance to HR. One of the more popular methods is the Agile method.

What is Agile?

So, what is Agile? It is a project management methodology aimed at rapid development with iterative feedback and communication. For Agile teams, the concept is ingrained in their day-to-day activities, and they use the approach of agile project walls to improve their responses to changing needs and demands. These quick iterations offer a more usable and practical output in the end.

The lower level of formality and structure makes it easier for teams to embrace card walls to track and monitor progress. Agile teams tend to like the fact that it can be managed with very little effort and stakeholders like the fact that they can understand what was happening without any specialist training around Agile. In fact, for some organizations, Kanban is the only Agile method they use – not just for communicating progress, but for managing all of the work. Because Agile is so easy to understand and use, it’s popular outside of IT.

Card Walls Are Easy to Build

Card walls, or walls of work, have become popular because they are so straightforward. They can be produced with nothing more complicated than sticky notes on a whiteboard. Yet they immediately convey a lot of information about the project. For those working in an office, it’s common to put these card walls outside the team’s work area so anyone stopping by can immediately see what’s going on. And because they are so easy to understand there is no need for them to be analyzed or studied. A sponsor passing by on their way to a meeting can immediately see what’s happening. For those working outside of the office, many teams use collaboration or work management software that allows for the creation of card walls that can be shared throughout the organization. That makes agile project walls one of the most powerful communication and work management tools available.

Imagine if communications and content creation could go through an agile project wall versus a series of emails and sticky notes. Consider the benefits when it comes to executing critical projects including performance review cycles, events and campaigns. Process enhancement techniques can also be applied to eliminate redundancies and help teams work more cohesively while making better use of their time.

If you are in IT or the PMO, consider a lunch and learn session to help other groups understand how they can be leveraging an Agile project wall for basic project planning. Agile project walls and project delivery methods have grown in popularity. They started life almost 20 years ago in software development, but these walls of work are now widespread in many different departments.

Starting with an Agile Project Wall

Simplicity, the defining characteristic of using a card wall, is also why a wall of work presents a no-risk approach for your organization. You don’t need to invest time and money prototyping a solution, you simply need to ask a team to develop a basic agile project wall for their project – a task that will take the team less than an hour. And then you simply maintain it for a week or so and see what the reaction of different stakeholders are. It’s almost guaranteed that their reaction will be immediately positive. No one will tell you it’s a waste of time or that it doesn’t explain what’s going on.

If you aren’t using agile project walls today then you may want to consider how you can incorporate this powerful wall of work into your projects. They are, in fact, so straightforward that you can be using them tomorrow – literally. If you are a PMO guru and you are at your wits end with attempts to get your enterprise on board with project management – this is an excellent foray. It is manageable and regardless of role, the concepts are easy to understand and embrace.

Are you interested in learning more about Agile project walls and wall of work Agile methods? Check out our whitepaper on the topic. 

This post was originally published in March 2020 and has been updated with new information. 

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