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Q&A with Agile Stationery

Written by Rachel Forster

On March 26, 2019

Agile methods are reinventing the way we work. Scrum, Kanban and other agile methods now dominate some industries and departments.

Providing unique stationery solutions for agile project teams, Agile Stationery creates and supplies quality products to ensure your agile processes run as smoothly as possible.

Hotbox sat down with founders Simon and Devika to discuss the company’s aims, plans and its forthcoming collaboration with Hotbox.

Q: Where did you begin and what made you create Agile Stationery?

Agile Stationery: Both of us have plenty of experience working on projects. Simon has been immersed in Agile, Scrum and Kanban working scenarios. Devika has followed more conventional methods such as PRINCE2 and has experienced the problems agile methods seek to solve.

In intense, highly productive work environments physical stationery, not IT solutions, seemed the best way to help workers stay “in the flow”.

Agile Stationery was started to pursue this simple desire to ensure fluidity during Scrum, Kanban and Agile operations. We supply individual pieces of stationery and kits to expedite work tasks.

Paper is concrete, accessible and physical; it ensures work continues to flow. Our stationery is designed with this in mind to increase productivity in agile teams.  For instance, our specialist sticky notes and index cards are tailored to the group collaborations common in agile working methodologies.

Q: What is a brief definition of Scrum, Kanban and Agile? What does it mean to you?

AS: There are around 83 different agile working methodologies – Scrum and Kanban being the two most popular. The Agile Manifesto explains what those methods have in common.

Typically, agile working methods are applied in environments where projects must respond to change during the execution of a project. These frameworks ensure your teams are adaptable and versatile enough to thrive in challenging, changing markets.

The major difference between Scrum and Kanban is in relation to delivery deadlines. Scrum is centred on the ‘sprint’, which means work is to be completed within a pattern of one to four-week cycles. On the other hand, Kanban means work is delivered incrementally when it is ready in environments susceptible to constant change.

Q: How important are these workstyles to busy teams?

AS: These workstyles and the whole agile mindset are crucial. They eliminate waste but also speculation and therefore risk. You can get feedback from the market far more quickly.

Agile working is broadening its horizons. The workstyles are being adopted in a range of industries outside of software development such as content, silicon manufacture, HR, food, banking and legal teams.

Q: How does a company like Agile Stationery benefit Agile, Kanban and Scrum teams? What do you offer?

AS: Our insight into how agile teams work means we always know how stationery is integrated into Scrum, Kanban and Agile methodologies. We redesign the stationery to ensure it fits well in these work environments.

For instance, our index cards ensure workers standing 2 metres away from a physical board can see everything clearly. Our games help prompt and focus conversations on what matters. With ridiculous amounts of testing, our sticky notes now offer maximum contrast for readability and stay flat using square-shaped glue – which we think is a huge bonus for post-it note aficionados!

Something else we do quite differently is that we design for teams specifically. We are not wasting time wondering which finishes appeal to which individuals. We assume a diverse team and aim to support fluid interactions at the group level or based on role definitions from the agile frameworks.

Q: Why did you choose to work with Hotbox? What will the partnership bring?

AS: In these working environments, there is an essential need for a product which can house all the stationery that practitioners love. Portable storage solutions for these work environments will ensure improved efficiencies across all tasks.

And this is why we were interested in Hotbox – we each have a combined interest to make people’s work lives better.

For instance, Hotbox 1 is perfect for Scrum teams who meet to plan a sprint of work and then meet again for design sessions and presentations to get a retrospective view of the plan. These types of rituals necessitate mobile storage, especially when the meetings are performed away from desk spaces in a different location.  

So, Hotbox 1 looks the part and has true value. What is most exciting is how Hotbox are using their position to support Scrum adoptions in fields where people are just starting out. That’s why we were delighted to work with Hotbox to develop a beginner’s kit of stationery. We brought in literature and even invented a game for teams facing a switch over to Scrum. The kit will help them plan, visualise, reflect, deliver forecasts and stay motivated.

Leaders will be able to access storage and mobility solutions as well as the tools and knowledge they need during the transition. Teams facing these huge changes should feel supported. What better definition of support is there than giving people exactly what they need in the moment they require it?

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