You are convinced that representing project key information in an information radiator can be beneficial in an Agile organization, and you’d like to know how to implement it in your Scrum team? In this article, we explain in detail the requirements for an efficient and agile Information Radiator. We also prove how it can be beneficial for your organization, and explain how to exploit its data in a Scrum team.
Table of content:
- Information radiator: definition in Agile methodology
- Information radiator: the benefits
- Information radiator in Scrum: enhanced retrospectives
1. Information Radiator: Definition In Agile Methodology
An information radiator is a comprehensive display of key team information, openly shared with all team members and other stakeholders and continuously updated. It includes information such as the task board, the count of automated tests, the team velocity, incident reports, continuous integration status, the state of work packages, or the progress of the team.
If information radiators can be displayed in various formats (handwritten, drawn, printed, electronic, …), the growing digital technologies in companies have simplified the information radiator sharing with all stakeholders wherever they are, including remote workers. An important argument considering that the number of remote workers keeps increasing worldwide (70 percent of professionals globally work remotely at least one day a week according to the new International Work Group survey on flexibility at work).
Information radiators help boost feedback and communication, empower teams and focus on results. In addition to the information itself, the use of an information radiator conveys 2 main messages: the team has nothing to hide to itself nor to visitors (customers, stakeholders, …).
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To be useful, the information radiator must apply the following best practices:
To be worth consulting, the information must be precise and accurate.
The information is only relevant if constantly updated. In some teams, all members are free to update the data. In others, there can be some rules about how they are updated. For instance, for Agile teams, it’s usually updated during the Daily Meeting or the Sprint Retrospective.
Simplicity For A Better Readability
The information radiator must be readable and understandable at a glance. Any complex display of information will only put off the people who try to consult it. Visual control traffic lights or colored stickers can be used in order to increase efficiency and clarity, and how-to-read notes can be added too.
Easily Accessible And Visible For All The Stakeholders
Every team members and stakeholders are supposed to have access to the latest version of the information radiator, wherever they are. In the case of a remote team, a digital tool is best to make it accessible for everyone.
In Some Cases, Anonymity Can Foster Sincerity
The main objective of an information radiator is to implement transparency into the team/company. In some cases (such as sensitive information, personal mood, …), enabling team members to share some information anonymously can free their words.
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2. Information Radiator: The Benefits
If done the right way, the information radiator can be a game-changer in terms of transparency and team collaboration. Let’s dive into the information radiator’s main benefits:
Boosting Communication Efficiency
Team communication usually involves two out of the five senses: sight and sound. By its participatory nature, the information radiator involves the sense of touch as well when participants write down information on sticky notes and move them around on the board – making the communication more efficient.
Sharing The Progress Status Openly
The most classical information present in an information radiator is the progress status of the team: a board displaying to do, doing and done tasks. Sharing the progress status with the team or even the whole company improves transparency among stakeholders.
Checking The Team Health
One of the elements that can be included in the information radiator, more specifically in an Agile team, is the team’s health. Indeed, doing a regular team health check helps uncover underlying issues that could otherwise slow down the project.
Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay
Gathering regular feedback from a heterogeneous Scrum team located in different sites, or even partially working on remote, can be a real challenge. The key is to adapt to the team and let each individual express him/herself at the most appropriate time for him/her.
By allowing teams to pick the hour of reception of our daily email, the number of feedback grew by 20%. Today, our daily participation rate is about 60% on average for 150-people teams. You can apply this feedback loop methodology for your data and improve your results!
Visualize your team’s health and boost your information radiator!
3. Information Radiator In Scrum: Enhanced Retrospectives
In Agile teams, there is a time when everyone gathers to evaluate the past sprint, the good and the bad, in order to make some changes for the next one: it’s the sprint retrospective. Retrospectives are fundamental to Agile teams – and very important to all kinds of organization that wants to adapt over time and continuously improve the way they work.
Collecting precise information on every topic is crucial to fuel the discussions during the retrospective. Indeed, if you run Agile retrospectives every two to four weeks (depending on your Sprint length), remembering everything that happened during this timeframe can be quite the challenge. Scrum retrospectives that don’t lean on an information radiator recording events, feedback, ideas, and comments throughout the sprint tend to focus on the last few days. And a great part of its benefits gets lost.
By using a tool such as TeamMood in your retrospectives, you can open up conversations, uncover hidden issues, and get a clear picture of the actions that need to be taken.
An information radiator culture can improve collaboration within the team, with other Scrum teams, and other parts of the organization. It can also help the Agile team adopt deeper ownership of its processes, of its decisions, and of the product. So, what are you waiting for?
Main illustration by Jo Szczepanska on Unsplash