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I'm working in an agency and we are seven employees. Most of the employees have very specific skills. There is one employee for video productions, two for design, one for social network, one for websites, one for general administration and me for web applications. Two of them are bosses.

Because of those different skills, each person can't be replaced by another. We work mostly alone on our projects but we need others sometimes. We are very autonomous in our work and we manage ourselves most of the time.

We are looking for tools to have a clearer vision of our projects. We want to know if someone is busy or not and when task we assign to others will be done. We also need to see when things goes wrong.

I'm reading about Kanban and Scrum. They seems to be focused on larger teams and bigger projects.

What can we do for us, with fragmented team with short projects?

EDIT 19/07/2016

I plan to do two things. First, I want to add a board with two columns. The first column is for problems. A team member can add a title for a problem an his name in the parentheses. Other persons with the same problem will add their name in the parentheses so we know if it's a personal problem or a team problem. The second column is for ideas of solutions. Ideas can be related to a problem. Once a week, we will have a meeting to speak about problems we live and try to find solutions.

The second board in splitted like this :

| Recurring | To Do | In progress | in validation | done | waiting Design | | | | | | | Video | | | | | | | Dev Web | | | | | | |

Recurring is for tasks we have to do every day, week, month... waiting is for tasks we have to wait for external event. Other columns are self-explicit.

A task must a title, a priority and velocity. The priority is set by the person who add a tasks and the velocity have to be set by the person in charge. I plan to give a number of magnets (3 or 4) and they can place it on tasks they're working on. If they want to work on something else and they haven't a free magnets, they have to do a tasks before to start another.

What you think? I'm not sure about the "To Do" column because a tasks without a magnet is a task to do. Maybe I can find better columns.

  • As soon as I figure it out, I'll let you know. I've been struggling with a similar situation for a little while now. – RubberDuck Jul 12 '16 at 0:52
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    You're receiving a number of answers referring to Scrum. Be wary. Scrum is designed for a single team with a single product and a shared goal. You do not have this, which makes Scrum a hard thing to implement. – RubberDuck Jul 13 '16 at 10:55
  • 'Scrum is designed for a single team with a single product' is false. Furthermore: the question is partly about the suitability of scrum in this situation, which is answered by the responses you mention. Down votes seem a bit harsh. @Dougui your situation has Kanban written all over it. Read 'Kanban and Scrum, making the best of both' if you haven't already. It's freely available and gives great insight in day to day practices. – upstream Jul 14 '16 at 10:52
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    @upstream show me a single Scrum team effectively working on multiple products and I'll eat my hat. – RubberDuck Jul 15 '16 at 18:10
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    A kanban board is the way to go for your situation. Basically kanban is scrum without sprints. People show on the kanban board what they are working in, which things are on hold and which are complete. Managers can swap out tasks but they can only assign a fixed amount of tasks at a time. Or in your case each team member would only assign themselves a fixed amount of tasks. But I warn you the first rule of management is don't be a manager unless you're paid to be the manager! – Chris Jul 16 '16 at 20:33
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Seems like you need to add a periodic activity to your management called integration.

Once a day/week/month you need to all sit together and figure out when you need each other- and for how long, and schedule accordingly.

A set of sticky-notes on a wall - one lane per person - is all you need for tracking.

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TL;DR;

There is very little you can do with the lack of focus and distributed work that your current model encourages. You can monitor all of the work on a kanban board and try to maintain flow, but visibility if your best result.

Cross-Functional Teams

Teams are far more productive and produce better quality than siloed individuals. There is however no requirement from Scrum that everyone on a team can do every job. Only that any team can tackle all of the work they take on autonomously.

Single source of truth

If you assembly all of the work that needs done into a single backlog and have the "bosses" prioritise it you can then have a cross-functional team work through that list delivering the highest posible value first.

Read the Scrum Guide (http://scrumguides.org) and try to enact the Values and Principals that it contains.

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Scrum offers you the daily standup. This is the moment for discussing:

if someone is busy or not and when task we assign to others will be done. We also need to see when things goes wrong.

Of course, anyone at any convenient time can touch base with a fellow member of the development team. Or in official Scrum guide terms:

Scrum users must frequently inspect Scrum artifacts and progress toward a Sprint Goal to detect undesirable variances. Their inspection should not be so frequent that inspection gets in the way of the work. Inspections are most beneficial when diligently performed by skilled inspectors at the point of work.

On a side-note: you may want to work on making the team a bit more multi-disciplinary. There's bound to be some overlap in the team members skills, or areas where this can be created. For instance: testing a team member's work, handling documentation or communication, the design people learning more about video and social networking and vice versa, website and webapp learning more about each others projects. Expertise is very hard to transfer, but some small steps can do a lot to take away the brunt of the bus factor.

Finally: if you're looking at Scrum and Kanban, and having a hard time making Scrum 'click', start with Kanban. It has very little rules and gives you a lot of freedom, while enabling the team to track and inspect how your work 'flows'.

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At first, you - I meant team - should track all your task during all your projects. It helps you to know about your availability. Of course, you can try to use Kanban board or something like that, but you have to choose your own way to do that. Second, for reducing time to planning, you can track tasks during only one iteration - as it was said in the previous comment. Third, about tracking fails. Because of a small team, you can calculate your velocity very quickly. Also, you have to take into account your additional time to correct mistakes.

The periodical meeting is a part of SCRUM. And it really helps you to work more efficiently. On this meetings, you can discuss your problems, to schedule help on another project and etc.

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