Kanban boards and remote clients

Hi all,

I’m currently grappling with a seemingly insurmountable problem and I thought i’d share to see if anyone has encountered anything similar.

Im a big believer in using physical Kanban boards to manage my teams workload, from the visual approach of organisation, to applying consistency, to the more concise communication I feel it provides. I’ve always found this to be my preferred process to implement.

So, enter me, new to a project team, I float the idea of my ideal board and try to preach the advantages, everyones on board (no pun intended). All except 1, the most important, the client.

The reason is pretty understandable, they dial in everyday remotely and therefore feel they can’t work with the visual view of a physical board, they prefer the ‘yesterday I did, today I will do’ routine. I’ve garnered the rest of the team find this routine tedious and not very efficient but the priority is to keep the client happy and so we continue regardless.

So the question is how can I break this stalemate, how can I get to state where we have a process people feel is productive whilst still having the client feel involved.

I’m open to suggestions :slight_smile:

1 Like

I experienced a similar thing where it was actually the team that didn’t want to look at the board in every standup. What are the problems of not looking at it? Perhaps if thevisibility of those problems are apparent then it could swing them that way.

To some extent, a Kanban or Scrum board shouldn’t just be there for the ceremonies; it’s intended as part of the team toolkit for managing work and recording progress. Perhaps then that explains why a team might not want to look at the board during ceremonies if they are otherwise using it in the course of everyday workflow.

As for Andy’s original problem; I once worked from the UK with a remote team in Moldova who used an app to replicate the Scrum/Kanban board electronically. It worked very well (though it has to be said that that team were very skilled at communicating with clients worldwide and made intelligent use of the wide range of communications tech part of their sales proposition - so I’m not saying that’s an easy or instant solution).

Hi Andy,

I’ve been working in a few teams with a similar setup and here are three different options I have tried and their pros and cons.

  1. Physical Board and Web Camera

  2. Virtual Board and Physical Gathering and Web Camera

  3. Virtual Board and everyone join remotely (even if physically next to each other)

  4. Bonus: Mob Programming Setup

  5. Physical Board and Web Camera + Remote Conferencing:
    If the remoteness is occasional it could work but more remote members cannot contribute fully as people that to point and talk at stuff and move stuff outside camera which makes it hard to understand what is going on. Physical Board > Virtual Board but risks excluding people to participate when remote.

  6. Virtual Board + Physical Gathering + Remote Conferencing:
    Everyone can see what is happening on the board, still have some issues with face-to-face conversation that is hard to join remotely. Harder to get people to use the board outside of the Rituals.

  7. Virtual Board + Everyone Remote Conference
    Less efficient when everyone is present, but for superior to the others in having useful and engaging gatherings as all can join in on the same terms.

  8. Mob Programming: They Cheat since they already are used to sit in front of a shared screen and to work together. But here is what they did and what I got inspired by them. Since everyone is in front of the screen they had the agenda for the standup on the monitor. So they went through all the same things every day. Anyone joining would know where they were and so on. They also had their board virtually and they used that regularly during the day too.

Some other tip on the way. When having a virtual board but a collocated team setup a monitor on the wall that always display the board / and any other dashboards that you want people to see.

Good Luck!