Category Archives: Card Thinking

Entries about “card scale knowledge”, using cards for project management, scheduling, thinking, writing, sketching… whatever.

Ecolizer Designwijzer

From [WorldChanging](

>Ecolizer Designwijzer’ is a simple tool for designers and product managers. It’s a set of cards bound like a Pantone color guide which let you use eco-indicators to analyze and compare environmental impacts of commonly used materials and processes. Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) for the people, and in a matter of minutes – Finally!

[Ecolizer Designwijzer: Life-Cycle Assessment on the Go](

This a great idea and yet another example of Card-Scale Knowledge (which is a term I will one day link to something about [Oblique Strategies](, Index Cards, Card Catalogues and the Tarot. Maybe I should just mention Gnostic Project Management here in case it gets to be a meme and then I said it first…).

Technorati Tags:

Next Actions and planning…

Further to that post yesterday I’ve been pondering the Next Action idea from Getting Things Done and how it relates to the basic work processes in Extreme Programming. They both accept a view that action permutes continually and so it’s best not to plan ahead too much. Plan if you feel you need to, but concentrate on the next cycle (action, iteration etc) and what’s required then. Then do the next thing and the next. Often I find later that the plans I drew up in the first place got pre-empted by events, so other than satisfying my (real) need to feel that I’d done some planning, what value were they?

Communicating that to a customer is more complex, of course, but that’s why XP puts such a priority on finding and articulating business value and keeping the customer so intimately linked into the progress of project.

Technorati Tags:

Bernstein on notes

“things don’t start out organised and they don’t stay organised because we’re moving all the time. If you know what order your notes should be when you start, you’re not doing research any more and you should sit down and start writing!” – Mark Bernstein at Blogtalk Downunder today.

Just A Guy – Adam Gurno » Tricking out the Hipster

Just A Guy – Adam Gurno » Tricking out the Hipster:

Adam Gurno’s worked out how to print onto blank index cards from his printer and spent the day going wild with cool ideas…

The Current Plan

So having installed BXR on my server and got it working with ecto on my Powerbook, I’ve started migrating other blogs over into the mainline blosxom hierarchy.
I’ve moved Card Thinking and He’s Just Had Coffee into the entry hierarchy, I might just move The Spanner as well. What I need to decide is whether to leave the old stuff in place to maintain the fidelity of any incoming links, whether to delete the old stuff and put a terrifying web of redirects in or just to shift it and break everything.
So… I guess it’d be good to know if there were any incoming links for any of it.
Right now I’m at work on a Saturday trying to get a paper finished for Monday, so I’ll save that for when I need some useful procrastination.

Trial run of “embodied scheduling”

… as I’ve dubbed my new scheduling technique (which by the way is unstoppable).

So we had an all-hands group meeting last week during which The Schedule needed to be discussed. I’d let people know that I wanted to try working with the schedule in a new way.

Cards are great for tasks (done in the style of Story Cards from Extreme Programming), but for a good planning discussion, we needed a calendar reference. I just printed out a stack of week calendars from iCal and laid them out on the conference table in a long strip.

Then I grabbed the task cards for each person in the team and got them to talk about each card in turn, what the dependencies were, how long they might take to do and finally got them to put the card on the big calendar within the week it might get done.

We focussed on better accuracy for the coming week or two and let things get a little less formal further out. We’ll come back to this exercise every couple of weeks to maintain a sense of where things are and what people need to keep moving forward.

Some Preliminary Results

  • People seemed to enjoy walking around and handling the schedule better than working with a printed Gantt
  • When a task is wrong (too fine, too coarse, just wrong) on The Beautiful Gantt Chart (TBGC) it’s annoying, necessitating a negotiation with the project manager, scribbling on TBGC, later updates to the project file, regenerate TBGC, etc… By contrast, when a task card is wrong you get the satisfaction of tearing in two yourself and then rewriting the canonical card yourself. Much more satisfying.
  • Once the whole thing was done I needed to capture the layout… quickly accomplished by spending five minutes writing the week’s date on each card so I know where to put them next time.

Now, I need to work out how to send things to people. Might just type out a list, might put stuff in Basecamp… Optimal solution is really just to photocopy the cards and hand the photocopies out.

Have to do this sometime today, so I’ll let folk know what I do. I should have snapped a picture of the big calendar. Next time.

Oblique Strategies pictures

I took these along to a big meeting the other day and at least three people asked for the website address to buy their own set. They’re a lovely artifact.

Oblique Strategies... by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidtyou can lie 'em downyou can stand 'em up for easy pickin'What mistakes did you make last time?

Theatre Games

… it’s been a little slow recently, life has been busy. As promised here are some pics of the new card sets I bought. First Spolin’s Theatre Game File:

Spolin's Theatre Game FileOne Game Card

… via Flickr. You can click for bigger versions. All pics I put on this blog are liable to show up under the tag “cardthinking”.

Spolin’s Theatre Games

So, further in the theme of Tim letting himself buy sets of cards that he loves: I order a copy of Viola Spolin’s “Theater Game File”. They arrived today and made me very happy. Pics follow when I get a chance to shoot ’em.

“Embodied Scheduling”

So, I took my deck of task cards along to the last meeting and talked to the other producer and one of the project leads about what we want to get out of the schedule. We all acknowledged barely concealed hatred of the Gantt and they’d noticed the same flaws as me.

Classical “XP-style” card scheduling kind of avoids the calendar, which is the main reason the other producer likes the Gantt, they’re fond of seeing things against a representation of time. So we agreed that a big calendar plus the cards might give a better scheduling game than we have. We’ll see at the next group meeting in a week.