Agile tools are not only there for software development teams. Many companies and business units have assumed agile toolsets and methodologies if they seemed to be a good fit for their workflows. I don’t need to tell you a lot about software collaboration and project management tools out there though. Maybe we could think about “hardware” instead? Today I want to tell you about PATboard, a Dutch company that wants to sell physical agile and lean tools.
What is it that PATboard has to offer?
The primary focus of PATboard does not actually seem to be about actual boards. They are providing their customers with either magnetic sets or sets intended for use on glass. The main difference here is that the magnetic ones stick only to metal surfaces but the glass-version of the product sticks to all flat surfaces.
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PATboard is not just selling the sets, bits, and pieces though. They are selling an experience of haptic collaboration. Writing things down with a pen, slapping it on the wall, moving things around as you plan the project and deliverables, all of this is quite enjoyable and can usually motivate teams more than dragging and dropping virtual cards around on a digital kanban board.
Are there any cons?
The cons of such a physical solution are quickly pointed out. Any physical agile working tool to visualize project management tasks are only visible locally. While there is a strong motivation to touch physical things to interact with them and progress the action items towards the “done” lane, it could only be done on site, it’s not synchronized into any digital format and not visible to remote staff.
This is not a problem per se but it has to be pointed out along with all the positive sides of the PATboard solution. The other things I wasn’t happy about is the pricing. The full Scrum board magnets set for instance will cost you $211.44 for 137 items. The glass version of the same set will cost you $223.88 for 135 items. It’s certainly not the same experience but you could buy a lot of sticky notes for that budget.
PATboard had an interesting idea and I am sure that their solution has a niche market full of people who are looking for exactly such a product but it might not be a good solution for 100% of agile project practitioners and that is okay. If you would like to see more of their products and options, make sure to pay them a visit or check their storefront on Amazon.
What do you think about the PATboard solution for providing a physical scrum or kanban board? Do the pros outweigh the cons? Is it worth the price? Let us know of your opinion below in the comments!
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