Does such physical-whiteboard-per-team management process exist in the literature?



  • Does the following sound similar to some established (now or in the past) practice?

    One big whiteboard per team.

    Tasks are written down in a single short sentence(e.g. "refactor Frubnicator" or "add logging to solve bug XXX" or "read about Widgets"). Maximum possible estimated length for a task is 1 day. Anyone can add tasks to the board e.g. a developer requesting infrastructure enhancement and the admin picking it up because he's the obvious person to do it.

    Every team member owns a whiteboard marker of unique colour. When they start work on a task, they circle it. All tasks are written in black and the creator is thus anonymous.

    Thus everyone knows precisely on what is everyone else working (happy manager), employees are given the freedom to chose on what to work instead of being assigned, and the whole thing is physical and visual. Furthermore, interdependencies can be drawn with solid or dashed lines.



  • Looks like something custom, possibly borrowed from, or resembling Kanban.

    Kanban has two main principles:

    • visualize work
    • limit work in progress

    Anything else falls into how you want to organize things according to other Kanban principles.

    From what you mentioned:

    • one big whiteboard could be a Kanban board (there is some common format for how a Kanban board looks like, but that's not prescribed; you can have it however you like);
    • tasks are written down in a single short sentence. Like on a Kanban card;
    • maximum possible estimated length for a task is 1 day. Work needs to be split in small pieces so that it helps limit work in progress and maximize throughput;
    • when they start work on a task, they circle it and employees are given the freedom to chose on what to work instead of being assigned. Looks like a pull system. Kanban is a pull system (assigning tasks to people is "push"ing work).
    • physical and visual. First principle of Kanban.
    • seems you are doing operational work, which is a good match for using Kanban.

    Kanban is used to manage and optimize workflows, so you should have some form of steps in this workflow of yours, but you don't mention that. Your board looks more like a repository of work than a workflow. So not really Kanban, but with similar ideas.



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