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There is a perception in our company that Jira and other web tools have replaced the need for having scrum board and sticky notes.

Our release planning happens with lot of impromptu big-huddles and small-huddles. I do not see a way to replace physical scrum-wall and sticky notes with web tools to facilitate dynamic group discussions.

Have sticky notes been eliminated in release planning? I could see for daily stand-ups, but not for release planning.

  • Man, I hope not. Sticky notes rule. – Andrew Clear Apr 17 '15 at 16:21
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Sticky Note planning will be with us as long as people get up during a meeting and start to draw on white boards without thinking. As long as people wave their hands in meetings. As long as they walk up to the projector screen and point at the slides.

This goes to the same reason hand written notes are the number one recommendation for note taking. Our brains store data in two fundamental ways as Date or Numbers and as Pictures. Pictures have a higher data recall for brain science reasons I don't pretend to understand. When we write, we store our writing as pictures. When we type, we store are data.

Tests have proven that when you type notes on a computer, your recall for the exact notes typed is only a little less than that of the hand written notes. However people who hand write their notes can recall much more of the event than those who typed it in. They have the contextual information that the typed data lacks. Context is king in when doing planning for a project.

And I think this is a big part of why all the leading advice still recommends that you get as many people as you can together at the start of your release and do a planning session. This is all old school stickies and walls, where people are writing by hand and thus they are storing the entire context of the meeting in their brains, not just the typed words.

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    I really liked this answer because it gets to the important point that the purpose of these meetings is not to make tasks or stories, it is to collaborate and reach a shared understanding. As the saying goes: Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. – Daniel Apr 21 '15 at 2:42
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Ask your team what works for them

If your entire team is in one location, physical wall boards with sticky notes foster team spirit and collaboration.

"Our board is more than a tracking device – we stand next to it and have conversations, like the office water cooler. We write on cards and wave them around and move them. It’s a wonderful communication device."

As you can see in the above link, fans of wall boards seem to have come up with different ways to work with remote teams too.

I work with highly distributed teams. Some of my teams are offshore and even my local teams have liberal telework policies.

And I find that the biggest advantage of using a tool is that it enables commenting, reporting and archiving. These are so much harder to do with wall boards.

Regardless of all the above, you are asking the wrong question to the wrong people. You should be asking your teams to weigh in on what works for them and choose whatever works for them. This is what Agile/Scrum is all about - adaptive not prescriptive.

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Yes they do! And people still use notebooks and pens.

There are many reasons and there has been a bunch of research done, for example there are some here - http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/23/reading-writing-on-paper-better-for-brain-concentration.

But for me it is the limitless ways of organising items and the minimal effort required to make changes, add or delete items that make it my first choice. It is great to shuffle bits of paper around into different groupings to compare them in different ways. Such as group them based on size and get a feeling for whether estimates of the same are actually the same size. And by function to get a feeling for completeness of solution. And by business value to get a feeling for where to draw the scope line.

Also, having a computer screen in a workshop seems to suck peoples attention towards the screen and away from each other.

It is hard to achieve if you're not in the same room though... I wrote my first post in a series here

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