Comments on common board practices - Walk the board from right to left

Posted by Marcus Hammarberg on March 4, 2017

When our board is lined up as our process it’s quite often an array of columns starting to the left when the idea first comes into mind (or in a backlog column) continuing down our workflow, adding more and more value until it reaches our customers where we can learn from the usage of our new feature.

Although it could be tempting to go through the columns from left to right in our morning meeting, I would suggest that you consider doing the opposite.

If you follow my other advice and stop using the three questions and enumerating workers, but rather go through the work on the board each meeting - well, then you could find yourself a bit confused. Where should we start? What order?

Now, in most cases we will get through all stickies on the board anyway, but there’s a principle that is important that we easily can re-emphasize with the way that we enumerate the work as we talk about it in the morning meeting.

Why do I comment on this?

I suggest that your enumerate the work starting from the things that is closest to being completed (now, was is it done or what can I call it) and then work you’re way back to the work in the beginning of the workflow.

Walk the board from the right to left

That is; in your meeting go through the work on the board by starting from the rightmost (in most cases) column.

There’s a number of reason why I think this is a good practice;

Stop starting - start finishing

It emphasise our strive to complete work, rather than start new work (Stop starting - start finishing you know). We want to spend time in the meeting discussing how we can get stuff out there. If we start from the other end we might run out of time and not have any time left to talk about the things that will soon be completed. That would be, to quote a president; Sad.

By going through the work from left to right we also honor an old lean process improvement principle; start improving from closest the customer and work your way backwards when improving the process. I view morning meetings as mini improvement workshops. It’s very seldom that I’ve attended a morning meeting that haven’t brought a flow-problem to the surface or where we decided to change our process, ever so slightly.

Finally, it’s easy to remember and to do. In fact you can let anyone in your team be in charge of the daily routine, already after just one or two meetings. We often change this responsibility on a daily basis, as described before.


In your morning meeting — walk the board from right to left. This

Published by Marcus Hammarberg on Last updated