The Information Radiator
I love Agile! I really do, it's brilliant!!! It really is and one of the things I love most are the words we use..... Scrum, Grooming the Backlog and ceremonies, I love a good ceremony... and as Scrum Master I like to think I'm the grand master of ceremonies... I might even buy the big red robe one day!! But one of the things I love more than any other... is the 'The Information Radiator'.
What a brilliant name! I wish I'd coined the phase.... but what is the Information Radiator?
As a Scrum Master I have lots of roles and responsibilities - one of those is coaching the team on all things Agile - I also do a little bit of consultancy work and Agile training for organisations either wanting to do Agile or who feel the need to sharpen up their practices.
I like to think I'm fairly down to earth... and thus pitch my coaching at the middle level, I don't like to dumb down Agile but I also like to keep it approachable - but one of the things I like to do is drop into conversation Agile terminology... I like to watch the reaction of people, perhaps the laughs or blank faces! but I always follow it up with a brief explanation, if people know the Agile term they can go and Google it and learn more if they wish.
I was having an Agile conversation with a group of project managers and business analysts recently and was asked to give some advice and I dropped in the phase 'Information Radiator' - they were a little shocked that I would suggest using such a technology and it must be said a little scared as to the power of the radiator! So just what is the Information radiator??
Well I feel bad now.. Like I've hyped it up and it can't possibly live up to expectations! well don't worry because it does! they're brilliant!!! The Information Radiator is a notice board! or perhaps a project board, maybe a white board! but it's a board on the wall which contains information!
Now I love the Information Radiator... I really do! You can use some brilliant Agile software these days... you can create lovely project plans and graphs hidden away on a network drive - but none of these can compete with a board on the wall! With an Information Radiator you don't need to look for information, you don't need to know which of 50 sub-directories the information is hidden in.. it's there, on the wall! in plain sight and people who pass by can readily see the information - it's passive, it's just there - it's visible! one of the cornerstones of doing good Agile whatever favour you choose.
A few years back I helped a rather large organisation make the switch from being heavily PRINCE2 to the brave new and exciting world of Agile... I ran their first Agile team and was their first Scrum Master!
I liked to give regular feed back as to progress, issues, wins and good news stories back to management - and of course as expected in a PRINCE2 organisation lots of this was done in the traditional manner - but one of the tools I used was the brilliant Information Radiator... and where did I locate it? right outside the head of IT's office - every time he left his office the project board was staring him in the face... he might not have read my emails or project updates! but he did pass by the project board several times a day - giving me direct communication and updates to him! try doing that with an email!
Written By Christian Miles