Jennifer Anderson: Are you guys following the Agile methodology? All our UX and web development staff went through Agile training a couple years ago, and it's been really helpful for organizing all the work we have on our plates!

Rebecca Blakiston:

Our web team has been using an agile approach for about a year now, and has morning standups (8:42–8:57 a.m.). We started with Scrum, but found after a couple of months that the two-week time boxes were too restrictive and demanding in our current environment, when there are always new priorities coming up and it’s very hard to focus on one specific thing. We’re now using Kanban, which emphasizes just-in-time delivery. We have a great big whiteboard that tracks progress on sticky notes. It’s been working really well so far to manage various project work, track progress & share progress with stakeholders. We also use Redmine as our ticketing system, which works really well for us. Where things get tricky are how to bring in design and content—much of the ticketing system related to development work; bringing in the work that my content strategist and I do into this process hasn’t really been figured out yet. We’re closer with the designer’s work, but it’s a different type of work than the development side, which is more clearly defined (and clearly “done”). I’m curious what other tools and methodologies everyone is using!

Amanda L. Goodman:

At the moment we’re not using any particular method. We’ve been swamped trying to keep up with all the demands we get as the designers/hardware/publicity arm of the library. I think the addition of our fourth member will change this as he’ll help redistribute our workload.

Eric Larson:

Also, our team follows a Kanban-ish management style. Specifically, we use Trello boards to track our activity on projects and department milestones.

Amanda L. Goodman:

I can also attest to the amazing powers of Trello. I’ve been using it to track my work since they launched. My attempts to get my colleagues on board with Trello haven’t worked out though.

Sample boards:

  • Website redesign
  • Work tips (e.g., what paperwork I need to turn in at the first of each month)
  • To do lists
  • My projects (e.g., touch screen kiosk, special web pages)
  • UX ideas (columns: Ideas, Doing, Done, Rejected Ideas, Observations)

Erin White:

I would love to see folks' Trello boards, if you're willing to share screenshots or links.

Amanda L. Goodman:

I’m attaching a screencap of a “public friendly” portion of my Website Redesign board.

Figure 2. Darien Library Trello board.
Figure 2. Darien Library Trello board.

Eric Larson:

For an example, here's my department's "academic year at a glance" Trello board. This board helps us think broadly about the University Libraries' main initiatives (color coded), our larger division goals, and the department work upcoming, already in queue, or complete.

Our boards that get into the specifics of any given project are not this clean. They're full of local jargon and discourse (so no example would be easy to share and intuit). They mainly follow the Kanban process of having at least three lists: to-do, doing, done, plus any number of other "reminder" type lists.

We've had a lot of Trello adoption throughout the libraries. It's great at keeping track of action items, assigning them to people and setting deadlines. Some committees have really become insistent about it.

Figure 3: University of Minnesota Trello Board
Figure 3: University of Minnesota Trello Board