Agile Bug Out Box

A month ago I relocated from Scotland to the US. This move necessitated a lot of planning (and heavy use of more than one personal Kanban board). Many decisions had to be made. In particular I had to decide what to take with me and what to leave behind.

One of the things I decided to leave behind was my rather voluminous Agile Kit. Everything in the kit has its use but it wasn’t going to fit in my luggage. Also by the time the main shipment of my belongings travelled between Scotland and the US I would have had to replace most of it anyway. I therefore gave away most of the kit to my local Scrum Master colleagues.

I say I gave away most of the kit because I would need a couple of materials to hand from day one of my move to help me facilitate planning and retrospective sessions in my new workplace.

I decided to have a little fun with the exercise and brand my mini Agile kit. I have an unhealthy fascination with weird reality shows. One of the shows I watch is Doomsday Preppers. Preppers are survivalists who prepare for extreme, sometimes civilisation ending, events. One thing preppers have constantly to hand is a bug out bag. This contains everything a prepper needs to survive for a few days should the worst happen and they need to get out of dodge fast.

Stretching the analogy more than a little I decided to create a prepper styled Agile Bug Out Box. I chose a box rather than a bag as it would protect its contents better and I liked the look of Corinna Baldauf’s Scrum Master Emergency Kit which also takes the form of a box. The box would contain everything I would need to perform my agile role for a few weeks.

The box itself is simply a small Tupperware box which is durable and fits easily into my luggage. I labelled it “Agile Bug Out Box” using the Old Stamper font and added some warning stripes to make it look suitably prepper-like:

box packed

Click to Enlarge

With the box picked and labelled I had to decide what to put in it. This was tricky because the box is very small and I use a lot of stuff day-to-day. I had to consider what I absolutely needed not just what made my life easier. I finally settled on:

  • My custom planning poker cards.
  • Super sticky notes.
  • Mini sticky notes.
  • Four whiteboard markers, each a different colour.
  • Four black sharpie pens.

To round out the kit I used thin elastic hair ties to tie the pens and cards together so the kit would stay ordered:

box unpacked

Click to Enlarge

So why did I settle on these particular items?

One of the planning techniques I use is planning poker so I needed a deck to do that. While I gave away all my other official decks I couldn’t part with my custom hand-made deck or risk them to surface transit.

The super stickies, white board markers and sharpies are essential for me so that I can run retrospectives. Every technique I currently perform utilises some or all of these items.

Finally there are the mini stickies. I use these in concert with larger stickes to create basic, compact personal Kanban boards for when I am on the road like this example here:

on the road

Click to Enlarge

I have been in the US for four weeks now and my Agile Bug Out Box has proved to be invaluable. However, there is a Staples store just over the road from my office so I will start building up a full agile kit again soon. I’ll keep my Agile Bug Out Box to hand though. After all you never know when you’ll need to bug out.

Explore posts in the same categories: Agile, Scrum

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