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I've been assigned as PM to an ongoing project that had a few issues when I started. It looks like these have been resolved but the team will have to review and update the project plan to address changes in scope, delays that have occurred to get to the current state, etc.

I've scheduled a couple of initial planning meetings with the key players doing/involved with the work coming up in the short term. I'd like to use the "sticky note" approach to work our way through each of the deliverables, identify their component products, etc.

What recommendations are there for the info to capture on the sticky notes? I'd like to keep what is on each note brief (allows the team to see what is on each from the other side of the room) so was thinking things like Title, Owner, Duration. But how to avoid losing info on predecessors, successors, risks, assumptions, resources, etc which I'm sure will come up during the discussions.

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Some thoughts -

  1. First I would reassess your initial approach. You said that 'your team needed to update things'. As the PM that's not only your job, but something critical that you need to be aware of. So rather than having your team update things to 'current state', I would look at the original plan, and then track through to where you are now and how you got there. Just having your team update things based on delays and changes and telling you where you are now, with no background or history, is going to leave you hanging if anything else goes south.

  2. While I'm all for collaboration, as the PM, first focus on the information YOU need, and how you're going to track tasks, predecessors, successors, etc.

  3. Once you know where you are and where you're going, and you know how you're going to get that info, then just ask the team what information they would like to see on the stickies. As long as you as the PM have a way to track it for your needs, then you can put whatever info on the stickies that they find helpful/useful.

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A post-it from an old project:

our post-it

  1. id in redmine for more information about the task
  2. short description for better understanding and tracking
  3. statistics after done like spent time and lead time for metrics & improvements
  4. number of times the task has been rejected + reasons
  5. we delivered later than we promised (SLA): warning
  6. queued, started, done dates - we were doing Kanban
  7. original estimation in T-shirt size
  8. actual T-shirt size after done for improving our estimation
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The Work Breakdown Structure sticky note approach is designed to give you and the team a high-level view of the tasks involved in meeting the goals of the project. This approach is not really designed for lots of details as that would make the notes difficult to read. This would reduce any gains that would otherwise have been made from utilizing this approach.

The general idea of this approach is that you break down tasks into related packages, and each sticky note has the name of a package followed by sticky notes representing broken-down tasks.

In short, this approach is not designed to convey task details as it is intended to give you and the team a high-level snapshot of all of the tasks required to complete the project.

For a more visual idea of how to approach this planning task, see Project Planning with Sticky Notes.

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Tricky one, if your board is being used for planning and estimation or as a focus for design discussion, I would keep the sticky as brief and salient as possible, eg Social Network Buttons. Get people to go old school and have notepads and pens, get them to jot down what they need to, to describe what is needed or the intent or to ask for aditional information or just a plain old idea. Collect up all the notes and clip them together and stick the sticky on the top and hang then on a washing line once that sticky has been completed.

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While this suggestion might not satisfy all of your needs, I still recommend to write down the results of your meeting in an Etherpad document.

Etherpad is a collaboration tool and allows editing a text document simultaneously. We use it for basic project planning, brain storming and keeping track of notes/results of meetings and so on.

If you need structure in your document, you can use ASCII art, such as "*" for a new menu point or blanks for indentions for marking a new part of the text.

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