Someone showed me a message board which is similar to the one we use at Magus – The panic status board. It’s a big board that shows the “panic” status of the group. Emails that need to be followed up, number of days to the next major deadline, who is holding up development etc. The person who’s name appears at the top has the highest panic rating and is most probably the bottle neck. The person who’s name is never on the board is probably not working very hard at all so the best is to try and position yourself somewhere in the middle.
The focus of the Magus board is not to “create panic” although from the info one can derive who has more on their plate. The other difference is that it does not require electricity, it works 100% mechanically!
One of our engineers came up with the idea after realising that (all though everyone’s work is already stored and tracked in JIRA) there was a need to show everyone what is happening with Antenna Magus – the current state of development; what is planned for future releases and what everyone is busy with. This would also invite different teams (like marketing who isn’t much involved in low level design) to give their input during early stages of development.
We bought a second hand free standing double sided notice board and modified it with wooden rails to hold small cards. We painted different horizontal colours which represent different stages of development and we hanged vertical dividers to separate different releases. Each card represents a different antenna or transition. It is printed on photo paper, each with a picture, title and a small sticker showing who is responsible for it.
Before an antenna or transition is chosen to be included in a specific release it is placed on the back of the board where its life cycle begins. Once it gets chosen it is moved to the front and placed in the appropriate vertical (release) and horizontal (development stage) positions. As work is done, it slowly progresses to the top of the board until it is ready for release. Once released the card is removed and archived.
I’ve seen lots of management ideas which try to involve various individuals but fail for various reasons. However this is not the case with the Magus board. It has lived through numerous releases and while writing this post I saw a few engineers moving their antennas cards and inspecting the board.
Author: Robert Kellerman