SCRUM for Designers / by Gavin Lau

If you’re a returning visitor of our blog you will know we’re a design agency that is always curious to find new ways that improve our process and results. About 3 months ago we’ve changed to a SCRUM-like setup.


Monday Mornings: An Overview of the Week

On Monday mornings, when everybody’s poured a nice cup of joe or tea we have a short staff meeting, in which we discuss the upcoming week. We talk about open items from last week and what everybody can expect the coming days. It’s a good way for everybody to get up to speed and in the mood for awesome design.


Tasks vs SCRUM

Our approach has always been task-based. Our beloved clients email us with their requests and we transform them into actionable items per Project for our team to pickup. Each Project would have their own Folder or Task List. In terms of apps we used to work with Flow, but switched to Wunderlist (free!) in early 2015. This task-based approach used to work fine, but as our company grew, it was hard to keep track of everything and we lost an overview of things to be done in the (near) future.

We made the switch to a SCRUM-like approach last November and haven’t looked back since. We have 4 columns to organize our Tasks per Project; Requested, This Week, Working On and Review & Complete.


Example of our Trello setup

Column 1: Requested

This column basically contains all requests and tasks from clients or tasks that we create, but there is no date attached to them whatsoever. It’s a pile of things to do and our leaders make sure when it gets done.

Column 2: This Week

We experimented a lot using Sprint columns like “Sprint Week 2” or “Sprint A”, but we felt that every week we had to change it anyway, so for us just “This Week” works fine. We aim to complete all the tasks within this column “this week” and at the end of the week we review it.

Column 3: Working On

Whenever someones starts working on a task, we drag the task to Working On and start our Timely alongside it. This enables management to see what everybody is working on, and make sure they have everything they need.

Column 4: Review & Complete

As soon as tasks are done, we move them to the final column for Review. Review can mean both review of the Client or internally, and we distinguish that by assigning it to someone in our team if it requires an internal review. We used to drag completed tasks to a “Done” column, and check them off. Now we just check them off, and skip that useless step.

Trello for Management

Finding the right tool is always a challenge, and Trello was not our first choice for our new approach. We tried, Blossom, Taskworld and many more, but ended up using Trello. Trello is the most versatile and dynamic tool to do what we want. It’s less task-orientated than we were used too (cards ≠ to-do’s), but we’re pretty quick with it now. Each project we do has their own board with the 4 columns, and with a custom background it’s easily recognizable in which project you are.

Experience so far

We love having a better overview of things to do the coming week, and especially with a growing team this is very useful. It is much easier for the team to pick up tasks, and have an idea what is happening that week.