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Submitted by DiogenesPerez on


We have an important release date approaching in the office and am thinking in putting a Daily Countdown for everyone to see.

Does it actually gives the team a reality check on the work to be done or only serves to create stress within the team?

What's your experience with this kind of tool?

Thanks in advance.

mattpalmer's picture

If done in such a way that it gives the impression that you're just keeping people mindful of the looming deadline, it should work fine by creating a healthy sense of eustress.  If you start to use it as a pressure tool, then you'll just freak people out.  It's all in the vibe.

dmb41carter36's picture

Is it possible to share what we are counting down to?

Honestly, I work in a manufacturing plant where the concept of visual management, often ends up being "Industrial Wallpaper". What I mean is that while most metrics posted are very well intentioned, they quickly become white noise.

DiogenesPerez's picture
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Thank you for your suggestions.

I'm not sure I have the expertise required to not convert it in a pressure tool without becoming white noise.


JustHere's picture

another way it might work  is to have a board of accomplishments, and another for what needs to be done.  I know it's not as simple as a count down, but marking what was done is a real motivator.  It becomes positive reinforcement. 

mattpalmer's picture

I'll second nevermind's idea of the big board o' tasks.  We've got a board up for our dev team, split into three equal spaces: backlog, in progress, and done.  Everyone can see who's up to what, and watch the backlog shrink and the "done" pile complete.  The weekly meetings mostly involve everyone picking up their cards, relating anything they learnt from the task, and then scrunching up the piece of paper and throwing it in a strategically placed paper bin.  Very cathartic.

rhsanborn's picture

The only long-term effective way I can think a count-down clock would be useful is to make it something everyone should be excited about. We don't have the details, but if this is a project that has been going on for a long-time or that everyone is proud of, a count-down clock can be treated like the New Years clock. If you want it to create a sense of urgency (stress), I think you're playing with fire. It will probably be effective for this project, but it will also make the team more anxious about the next project, and more negative about work in general.

Play the role of a sports coach, walk up and down the bench and tell them how proud you are of the work they've done and point to the clock and talk about how exciting this is going to be and how their work is going to come to fruition really soon.

(This is coming from experience. Our team worked on a larger project that had some management and accountability issues. The team wasn't the problem, but they decided increasing pressure and stress was the way to get the project done. It was successful. It also meant they turned over something like 60% of that team within a year.)

mike_bruns_99's picture
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Fascinating!  Could you describe a bit more about your board, the cards, and how you run your meetings?

We're introducing aspects on the Toyota Production System in our company, and I'd like to more formally use the principles to improve our project management processes.

garyslinger's picture
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 I'm not Matt, but let me suggest this - - and especially this - - as some reading on how two places are using a (virtual) kanban board in a dev environment, specifically because one talks about the meetings that tie to it, their process, and so forth.   I used it as supporting information/development thinking in working up an infrastructure operations kanban board.