Say that in a given moment of our trello-managed software project we have something like this:


If we took our lessons from Arkency unassigned philosophy then we can easily change to this state:


What if we extended the rule “Do not assign the tasks that you will do” to the rule “Remove assignments from tasks that are already done”? Following benefits would arise:

  • Broader sense of collective ownership;
  • Developers wouldn’t be fighting each other about the number of completed tasks that they have accomplished;

Developers should care about the project they are working on as a whole. If we remove the assignments from completed tasks chances are that we reduce the feeling that code related to some task is owned by the developer who executed it.

Furthermore, the lack of assignments on completed tasks relieves the pressure on developers who look less productive than others. Crunking out lines of codes is a complex cognitive activity and measuring its degrees of accomplishment based on the amount of cards that someone stated “Done” is just oversimplification.

Discouragement of such kind of competitive behavior shall be the first step to educate a team whose members work together – as a team –, care about one another’s tasks and sight the project as everyone’s responsibility.

So we get to the following board:


Are we all done? May we go and grab some beer? Wait a moment… what if Taco just gets to be a little less ubiquotous? This leads us to a stage where there is only one assignment per team member – with the extra benefit that we know exactly which task each one is facing at a given moment.

The final result:


A cleaner and more expressive board that

  • focuses on getting the most valuable stuff done earlier;
  • does not promote individual disputes; and
  • leverages collective ownership;

(thanks to Taco, who selflessly joined the board with me!)