We have seen detailed project reports generated week on week, stored in a repository where all managers have access to and the reports are safely protected by password. The reports may be quiet detailed that it provides in-depth information on the project status but often they do not serve the purpose. Firstly, the reports are not visible to all and secondly someone needs to dig up the report to get the information. We call such information as Information Refrigerators.
An Information Refrigerator is a chart you have to open up and dig around in before you find the ketchup you’re looking for.
One of the best practice of Agile software development is Information Radiator.
An information radiator displays information in a place where passersby can see it. With information radiators, the passersby don’t need to ask questions; the information simply hits them as they pass. Unlike Information Refrigerators, it takes very little energy to view the information.
An information radiator is a large display of critical team information that is continuously updated and located in a spot where the team can see it constantly. The term "information radiator" was introduced extensively with a solid theoretical framework in Agile Software Development by Alistair Cockburn
Information radiators are typically used to display the status of work, the condition of tests or load build status, the progress of the team. Team members are free to update the information radiator as and when the status changes. Some information radiators may have rules about how they are updated. Whiteboards, flip charts, poster boards or large monitor displays can all be used as the base media for an information radiator. In one of the projects where Agile Software Development is strongly practiced, we have seen large monitor which displays the unit test status, the load build status etc in a visible color codes fashion that is easy to digest.
Here is an example of a task board:
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