An information radiator in Agile, also known as a Big Visible Chart (BVC),
is a large graphical representation of project information kept
plainly in sight within an agile development team’s shared workspace.
The term is generic rather than specific: information radiators can
include most types of charts used in agile development. Burn down charts,
task boards, planning boards and storyboards are among the possibilities.
An information radiator is usually hand-drawn or printed but can also include
computer-generated charts and electronic displays.
The purpose of information radiators is to help keep the team focused on what
really needs their attention and to promote transparency.
Alistair Cockburn coined the term in 2000 to describe publicly posted displays
that show anyone walking by and then in his 2001 book, Agile Software Development.
Martin Fowler is said to have coined the term “Big Visible Chart.”
This technique briefs provides some suggestions for using Information Radiators
on your project.
Why it’s useful
Information Radiators are useful quite simply because they provide an effective
way to communicate project status, issues, or metrics without a great deal of effort
from the team. The premise is that these displays make critical, changing information
about a project accessible to anyone with enough ambition to walk over to the team area
and take a look.
Depending on the type of information tracked on the Information Radiators, these
displays can also help the team to identify problems early. This is especially true if
the team is tracking key metrics about their performance where trends in the information
will indicate something is out of whack for the team. This type of information includes
passing and failing tests, completed functionality, and task progress.
Common information radiators used in Scrum environments include:
•The product vision
•The product backlog/release plan
•The iteration backlog
•Burn-down and burn-up charts
•The impediment list
Last but not least, information radiator is good to provide visibility for team members, Product Owners (and stakeholders that have the chance to take a look of the physical board i.e.) and the rest of the company!!!