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Information Radiator

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What is an information radiator? 

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Information radiator definition

In agile environments, an information radiator is a large chart placed in a prominent location. It is used to visualize the flow of work, showing any bottlenecks along the way. It also shows what each team member is working on at any one time.

What does an agile information radiator ensure?

An information radiator needs to be easily accessible and fully visible at all times. This is to ensure that:

  • Everyone is informed with up-to-date information and regular updates.

  • Teams spend less time trying to find out the information they need and updates can be relayed to the entire team without individually informing each team member. 

  • Resource wastage is minimized.

  • Team members understand their responsibilities.

  • Team members are empowered to talk about tasks and goals.

abstract/prioritize emoji

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How to make an effective information radiator

It’s easy to make an effective information radiator, but it’s even easier to make an ineffective one. Producing an information radiator requires a lot more than throwing every little piece of information on the board! The board needs to be curated; only the most important information should be put up on the board without becoming overly detailed. 

Here are some other insights for making an effective information radiator:

  • An effective information radiator should be tailored to the team. A rigid, generic board won’t offer the same amount of value as a customized information radiator.

  • If the team changes, the information radiator should change too. That being said, you can start out with a generic template and customize your information radiator from there.

  • Your information radiator needs to be regularly updated to avoid teams moving out of alignment. To do this, you need to make sure everyone is aware of their own personal responsibility to update the board as they go. You can also include information radiator refreshes in your sprint retrospective.

  • An effective information radiator needs to be big. You need your team to pay regular attention to the information displayed on the board. A small corkboard in the corner of the break room isn’t going to be helpful at all.

  • Your radiator doesn’t have to be a board at all. You can even dedicate a full wall to your information radiator, giving you the largest canvas you have at your disposal.

Scrum information radiator examples

Kanban board

Kanban boards are one of the most common examples of an information radiator. 

A Kanban board uses columns to visualize progress and cards to represent items. The standard is to create three columns representing items to do, items in progress, and completed items.

Scrum board

Scrum boards can be used as information radiators too. They use similar progress columns but use timeboxed periods (sprints). They also use defined team roles such as product owner and scrum master.

abstract/prioritize emoji

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This ebook offers an in-depth look into what Agile is, how it benefits product managers specifically, some popular Agile frameworks and the best practices.

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General FAQ

What is an information radiator?
Information radiators are large displays featuring key information about the current project. It’s a regularly updated artifact that helps align teams and creates a better collective understanding of product goals.
Why do scrum teams use information radiators?
Information radiators help to reduce time and resource wastage by focusing on what is most important to the project. Teams can easily gain an understanding of how the project is running at any time, helping them to understand their individual responsibilities.

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