Printing Physical Scrum Board From Atlassian Jira

by Shrikant Vashishtha

It’s well known fact that physical Scrum Boards provide many benefits over their electronic counterpart.

With physical boards current sprint state is transparently visible to anybody in the team and to the stakeholders. As a team member you no longer are required to explain someone what exactly the team is focusing on right now as anyone can look at physical board at any point of time. Also, during standup, story-card and sprint progress get more attention than individual progress. You can setup your physical board the way you want and you don’t have to work around the limitation of any electronic tool.

card-wall

If I continue listing the advantages of physical Scrum Board, I need entire post just for doing that. However that’s not the motive of this one. In India, many people may want to setup physical Scrum boards but they encounter practical issues.

  • Availability of right stationary for index cards. That becomes a blocker more than one can imagine.
  • Team hesitate to hand-write the cards. Also, not everyone’s hand-writing is legible.

While working towards a practical as well as cheaper solution, I thought of using A4 size color papers and print index cards on them automatically through Jira excel export of the sprint backlog and Windows-Word mail-merge feature. The result is awesome as shown in below picture.

IMG_4230

Take a look at the video below on how to make it work.

Some observations

  • Index cards printing happens at the beginning of the sprint only. In case you encounter new subtasks or bugs, team-members hand-write and paste them.
  • Team may think that now they have to maintain two boards (electronic as well as physical) simultaneously. That’s not the case as updation of physical cards happen during standup only which shouldn’t be an issue to anybody
  • Depending upon your needs you can use whatever index card template you want
  • For pasting the paper index cards, we use Blu-Tack which is available almost everywhere.
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Gerald March 11, 2015 at 12:51 am

Thanks for your tutorial very interesting. Following your steps I have just released a free tool to automatise the Index Card generation. http://www.jira2scrumboard.com/ will convert your Jira file to Index Card.

Hope this tool will help as your articles help me.

Reply

Katarzyna Derenda March 19, 2015 at 4:55 pm

If you are using JIRA you might want to try the Agile Cards add-on https://marketplace.atlassian.com/plugins/com.spartez.scrumprint.scrumplugin
It prints issues as cards (soon with graphical layout editor) and lets you auto-update your digital JIRA board with a photo of your physical board.

Agile Cards is consistently in the top 10 of Atlassian JIRA add-ons so many teams enjoy this “pleasure of paper” thing. Especially fast and complex environments seem to use it a lot.

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Shrikant Vashishtha March 19, 2015 at 6:01 pm

Thanks Katarzyna for the update. I started looking at the solution when the cost of the plugin mentioned was very steep and that’s not too long back.

So for Jira we have another alternative to print the cards through plugin.

However the solution mentioned in the post can be used with almost anything (export from Jira, excel sheet or excel export from any other Agile tool). Also card can be configured the way you want.

Reply

Geoff May 4, 2015 at 6:52 am

Got another option for you (just released)… http://wallsync.net.

Allows you to sync your physical cards as you look at your board using an app on your mobile or tablet. Also, lets you see some live data as you look at your wall, such as who it is assigned to and how long it has sat there without any updates.

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Shrikant Vashishtha May 4, 2015 at 9:30 am

Thanks Geoff for the new option. However most of the enterprise customers buy Jira server license and it seems for server license, your plugin is not available yet.

Reply

Geoff May 11, 2015 at 11:11 am

@Shrikant, thanks for having a look.

I’m planning to do a version for the server version and then some of the other popular Agile tools. Just want to see what interest there is before I invest more 🙂

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