Every AGILE team essentially maintains a Wall to display the committed work and progress for a sprint. AGILE task board or the Wall can be a physical wall or a digital one which uses some online tool. A Physical task board is very simple to create and is often the choice of new AGILE teams. On the other hand, a digital wall offers sophistication of an online tool and advanced features. Nonetheless, each of the option has it’s own Pros and Cons.
— Physical Wall can be created at minimal cost. A big wall , some stick notes, pens, an ounce of creativity and you are good to go! As opposed to digital walls, what the team can do and show is not limited by a tool’s capability. You can write, draw, paste things on a wall! It can be customized to any extent and in tons of ways and can be so much fun! On the contrary, digital walls incur a cost and not as customizable as their physical counterparts.
— Physical Wall is very very visual, encourages continuous passive observation by the team members and others stakeholders, who might not open a digital wall but a physical one would be hard to miss. Physical Wall makes the process more transparent and they are easily readable by everyone. But digital walls prove to be more advantageous for distributed teams and for team members working from home; they are just always available irrespective of where you are.
— Physical Wall inculcates a sense of ownership and accountability when each team member moves the card across the wall in daily SCRUM meetings/Stand-ups. Physical wall also foster more face-to-face communication. It’s not something which a digital wall fails at but a physical task board might have an upper hand at this one.
— Not many people realize this, but the space constraint of cards/sticky notes on a physical wall sometimes help in maintaining appropriate size of the user story. Digital walls are often plagued with lot of fluff which can be easily avoided on Physical Walls.
— Reporting is the main area where a digital wall definitely scores over the physical one. With digital walls, generating burn down charts, graphs, calculating velocity is easy whereas these things have to be done manually for a physical wall creating an overhead. Modern digital wall tools can be integrated with various other tools to get a variety of reports. It becomes wearisome if the physical wall has to be synced with some other reporting tool.
— Archiving ad maintaining history of previous sprints is feasible with digital tools. Sticky notes just end up in bin after each sprint and there is no visibility on previous sprints.
There is not strict rule/criteria for choosing the type of wall. As for everything AGILE, use which works best for your team! Which wall have you used and found useful??