What the Story Card Color is Telling You?

Marcin Niebudek

We always thought about color-coding story cards as a very good way to indicate different types of user stories. The most popular was of course to use the red color to indicate bugs. But also green played well for indicating some general ideas to verify or think about (expressed in terms of a user story on the board).

Lately we’ve received a graph from Tatham Oddie, one of tinyPM users, who thought that we may find it interesting to see how they used card colors in tinyPM. A few minutes later I was asking Tatham if we may share it with others and here it is.

And this is what Tatham says about it:

“We’re building a guided case management system. The team in the organisation who determine all the guidance are the Practice Development Centre, or PDC. Early in a user story’s lifecycle, it’ll bounce back and forth between our PO and the PDC team. PDC don’t have access to tinyPM, but the PO uses colours to track which stories are dependent upon PDC outcomes.

Once the PO and PDC are both happy, it progresses to blue which indicates that the user story is of sufficient stability for the dev team to raise any of our own queries, then size it.”

So what they actually did is that they create a color-coded workflow bringing user story to a READY state. And how do you use card colors on your board (not necessarily in tinyPM)?


1 comment

  1. Karl -

    We use colors to cluster Stories into Epics that correspond with our Road Map. What has been suggested in this post is neat. We do this by prefixing stories with e.g. “NR” for “not ready” now.

    Suggestion: Add functionality to manage more colors and their Label arbitrarily, plus filtering for ‘Color’. Also, the existing Priority-field should be customizable.


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