Category Archives: Card Thinking

Entries about “card scale knowledge”, using cards for project management, scheduling, thinking, writing, sketching… whatever.

Theatre Games

… it’s been a little slow recently, life has been busy. As promised here are some pics of the new card sets I bought. First Spolin’s Theatre Game File:

Spolin's Theatre Game FileOne Game Card

… via Flickr. You can click for bigger versions. All pics I put on this blog are liable to show up under the tag “cardthinking”.

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Spolin’s Theatre Games

So, further in the theme of Tim letting himself buy sets of cards that he loves: I order a copy of Viola Spolin’s “Theater Game File”. They arrived today and made me very happy. Pics follow when I get a chance to shoot ’em.

“Embodied Scheduling”

So, I took my deck of task cards along to the last meeting and talked to the other producer and one of the project leads about what we want to get out of the schedule. We all acknowledged barely concealed hatred of the Gantt and they’d noticed the same flaws as me.

Classical “XP-style” card scheduling kind of avoids the calendar, which is the main reason the other producer likes the Gantt, they’re fond of seeing things against a representation of time. So we agreed that a big calendar plus the cards might give a better scheduling game than we have. We’ll see at the next group meeting in a week.

Breaking down the Gantt

I’m involved in a project at the moment in a project management role. The project coordinates about 12 people towards the creation of a piece of interactive art.

Up until recently, we have managed the team (who are mostly contracted designers and programmers) via regular meetings, but in the last couple of months it’s been a bit nerve-wracking to stay on top of everything that’s going on just using face-to-face reports.

Enter The Gantt

The other producer has championed the development of a big Gantt chart schedule which lists all the known tasks, dependencies, rough schedules, resource allocations… the whole nine yards.

This makes us feel comfortable, but I have enough experience with XP to spot illusory comfort when I see it. The whole thing has flaws – in data capture, in accuracy, in usability – enough to make me want to replace it with something better as fast as possible.

So, today, I’m turning the Gantt schedule into a stack of index cards, a la Extreme Programming’s planning game and I’m going to take these along to the next meeting and see if I can bend the process a little and do a little action research.

I’m writing a little article on issues with Gantt charts for this project and how cards might solve them while maintaining the benefits. I’ll link it somewhere here when it’s done.

Oblique Strategies

I can’t remember where I came across Oblique Strategies, I think probably over at 43 Folders. Created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt as a stimulus for creativity and a way out of blockages.

The more I started thinking about cards and how much I like them, the more I got curious about investigating the ways we use card-form information. That, my friends, is a craven excuse for me to invest in my own set of Oblique Strategies. Pictures to follow.

You can read more about the cards on the web. Despite the plethora of software versions though, the tangible pack of cards is irresistible.

Welcome to Card Thinking

So… I’ve been pondering how effective index cards are in Extreme Programming design; and I started wondering about the other places we use cards to help us think, help us remember things and kept thinking of new examples.

Hence… Card Thinking. I’ll be trying to use this blog to talk about different ways we use cards – index cards, tarot cards, library cards, printed cardsets. If you’ve got favourites… send ’em in!

I’d like to thank Merlin Mann for starting 43 Folders which is the inspiration for this blog.