How many balls can you juggle at once?

One of my peeves about ALMs like JIRA and TFS is that they default to a scrum or Kanban view, where all the items are shown for a given sprint, iteration or increment.

The idea is, by showing everything, the team can physically see how much work is left and where it is.

If the only time we viewed items like that was during the standup, it’s still distracting, but fine.

however, it’s the default view. TFS and JIRA both support a “show only my items to me” view, but that has the same flaw seeing *everything* for a sprint does — it’s distracting and it doesn’t reflect how we work.

At best, a person can only work on one thing at a time, and again, at best, they only care about that item and anything that intersects with that item (think about how reports may be dependent upon a particular model that is also changing during the sprint).

So why then do we insist on showing them their entire todo list all at the same time? All it serves to do is to distract people from the work right in front of them. Someone, somewhere cares about all the work that’s left (that’s you, delivery manager), but your programmers and QA testers don’t need to — and shouldn’t worry about that day to day. They can’t work faster than one item at a time anyway, and our ALM software should reflect that constraint.

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