Friday, 25 May 2012

Task Board is so yesterday. I give you the Task Bullseye

On my last blog post, I wrote out my ideas in a giant wave of thought. When I was writing that post I thought about the sprint map that I produced. A mind map has a central idea with topics floating from the middle. My thoughts drifted to the task board that we currently use. Is there a way that we can change it to look more like a map?

Using all of those maps I posted earlier are great for planning, but we need a way to visualize on a large scale what we do during a sprint. Today, we use a task board, either virtually or physically.

Let me introduce a new idea to you. The Task Bullseye ( Copyrighted by me :) )

The Task Bullseye takes the idea of a traditional task board, but shifts how it is designed. A task board is horizontal in most cases, with new tasks on left, and as the task progresses you move it to the right. I wanted to think of a way to make the task board less linear in design, so I came up with the circle idea.  (Also, idea might come from my years curling as well).  Linear design can also appear to be very step oriented, or almost waterfall in appearance. Moving items always left to right could also fall into an idea of a timeline (good or bad).

The Task Bullseye could easily be put up on your scrum wall. Tasks can still be posted it notes as well. Each quadrant is one user story, so this assumes you can do up to four user stories in a given sprint. You can always slice up the circle more to allow more user stories.  If you have more phases of the sprint, such as Verification, another ring can be added.

Tasks are placed on the outside of the circle, and move inwards as progress completed. I like the symbolism of this, as all the tasks come together to form one releasable product at the end to the sprint. Each person on the team has to pull together what they are working on to one common goal, the Bullseye.

It visually is easy to see what tasks have not been pulled in and are not being worked on. For example, one user story has an Other Task that nobody is working on. The other user story has two Bug Tasks that need to pick up and completed before the end of the sprint. The colour coding of the Tasks is what we do. Use what colours work for you, and add more Task types if needed.

I searched the web, but found nobody that is using this type of concept. If would love to hear if someone else is using a task board such as this. Maybe this could catch on? Please comment below and let me know your thoughts.


  1. Nolan this is interesting. Perhaps this approach could replace a testing log by providing a more visual approach. As logical grouping of testing tasks are completed they could be moved from the left to the right. As we are waiting for development items we could use the same process. What is pending is on the left then we move to the right once in testing.

  2. Agreed, this is an interesting idea. I was about to say that I assume that each bull's eye would be a requirement/user story but re-reading your blog, the idea is each quadrant would be a user story. That can be difficult as it might make the chart very cluttered, and uneven,especially if there are significant difference in the number of tasks and bugs for each user story.
    I think one chart for one user story has some benefit as you can do comparisons later on in a sprint review. Also, the size of the chart can change depending on the story point allocated to it. Admittedly though, the axis of the bull's eye has no purpose anymore with that idea - unless we can think of any.

  3. Nice post.
    I helped run a visual management workshop at Agile2010 where one of the teams came up with something similar. You can see a picture on my blog at