What Is a Scrum Board In Agile, and Why Do We Need One?

Scrum is a methodology for project management based on Agile principles.

The terms Scrum and Agile are sometimes used interchangeably, but Agile refers to the principles and values of the methodology, while Scrum outlines a practical approach based on these principles.

The Agile philosophy emphasizes collaborative teamwork between customers and providers, flexibility, and delivering a functional end product, compared to more traditional, rigid, and analytical frameworks.

Scrum, with its central Scrum board, originated from software developers but has been adopted globally by businesses and project managers in various industries.

What is A Scrum Board?

The Scrum board is a visual tool used to track progress during a Scrum sprint. It can be displayed on a whiteboard, wall, or any flat surface.

The basic Scrum board has three columns labeled “To Do”, “In Progress”, and “Done” for categorizing tasks represented by post-it notes or stickies, which are moved as needed.

The Scrum board can be tailored to suit the specific needs of a project and can range from simple to complex, with any number of columns or sticky notes.

Effective management of a Scrum board requires a collaborative Scrum team, well-defined sprint and backlog, and a basic understanding of the Scrum framework and methodology. It is versatile and can manage any type of short or long-term project.

Scrum Board Pros and Cons


1. Easy to use

Scrum boards are user-friendly and simple to use. When used with the entire Scrum framework, it can lead to high efficiency, creativity, and productivity for the team. Scrum boards can be physical or online, depending on project needs and team preferences.

2. Thorough, flexible, and responsive

Scrum boards display real-time updates of tasks to be completed during a sprint and their status, reducing the chance of missed tasks or unaddressed issues.

3. Encourages collaboration

Scrum requires teamwork to achieve sprint goals, promoting problem-solving, accountability, and skill sharing among team members. The Scrum board updates progress, highlighting issues and creating a cooperative environment.


1. Difficult to master

Understanding and implementing the entire Scrum framework takes time and effort, and proper implementation requires a person knowledgeable in Scrum or willing to learn.

The language and concepts, initially developed for software development, may be challenging for others.

2. Upfront cost

Although Scrum is a cost-effective project management system, initial expenses for Scrum board supplies or online services may be necessary.

Scrum Board Benefits

Advantages of Scrum Boards:

  • Quick status update: Scrum boards provide a clear view of the team’s progress, allowing a quick check of where they stand in the current iteration.
  • Easy onboarding: New teams can quickly grasp the process with a Scrum board.
  • Encourages interaction: A visible board in a high-traffic area can spark discussion among team members, stakeholders, and management.
  • Boosts teamwork: By keeping everyone focused on their work and showing progress, Scrum boards support a total team commitment and promote teamwork.

Using a Scrum Board:

  • To start, determine the needs and specifics of the project and set up the board accordingly.
  • Ensure a clear understanding of the Scrum framework and methodology, and have at least one person familiar with it.
  • Place sticky notes or tasks in the appropriate category (e.g. “To Do,” “In Progress,” “Done”) and move as needed.
  • Keep the board updated in real-time to reflect the sprint’s progress.

How Do You Use a Scrum Board?

The first step to utilizing a Scrum board is realizing there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. A Scrum board can be tailored to a company’s specific needs, with various formats available.

Common Scrum boards have three columns: “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done.” However, some include a fourth column, “In Test,” for software development projects. This format lists the columns as: “To Do,” “Doing,” “In Test,” and “Done.”

Scrum Process:

  1. Write tasks on sticky notes and place in “To Do” column, prioritized.
  2. Assign “To Do” tasks to team members.
  3. Move assigned tasks to “In Progress.” Keep user story in “To Do” until all sub-tasks are completed.
  4. Move tasks needing testing to “In Test.”
  5. Move completed/passed tasks to “Done.” Move completed story to “Done.”
  6. If tasks fail testing, move back to “In Progress.” Repeat as needed.

Scrum Board Concepts

These terms relate to Scrum boards and their use.

Product Backlog: A comprehensive list of all the items required to complete a project.

Sprint Backlog: A prioritized collection of tasks or user stories selected for completion during a specific sprint.

User Story: A item in the product backlog that outlines a specific feature or requirement in the form of: “As a [user], I want [action/goal], so that [benefit/result].”

Epic: A large project comprised of multiple related user stories, often requiring multiple sprints to complete.

Burndown Chart: A visual representation of the progress of a project, plotting the amount of work completed and remaining work against the assigned timeline. Often displayed on the Scrum board for easy reference.

Daily Standups: Short daily meetings where the team discusses the work done and current challenges. Typically held around the Scrum board.

Retrospectives: A meeting held at the end of each sprint, where the team reflects on their Agile practices, challenges faced, and ways to improve in future sprints. Notes from retrospectives are pinned to the Scrum board to remind the team to implement ideas in subsequent sprints.

Scrum Framework and Terminology

  • Scrum Terms

When you start with Scrum, you’ll come across some specific terms. Although they may seem intimidating, don’t worry. Most of these terms are just defining roles and concepts of project management that you’re likely already familiar with.

  • Scrum Values Scrum

It is based on the Agile methodology and has three core values: Transparency, Inspection, and Adaptation.

Transparency ensures clear communication and agreement among team members, for example, on the definition of “Done.” Inspection involves regular review of progress during a sprint, but not excessive. A

daptation refers to changes made in response to feedback or problems, which are supported by sprint events.

  • The Sprint

The sprint is the time frame in which a project goal or element of the project is accomplished. Sprints often isolate specific parts of a larger project, such as character modeling, story writing, and so on.

During a sprint, the team commits to a certain amount of work, which can be two to four weeks in length, the most common. A well-designed Scrum board can visualize the entire sprint and the team’s progress towards the end goal.

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