Visual Project Management: why you should give it a try

 

In the Last issue of PMNetwork from the PMI I have been really interested in an article called: « Now you see it » about the advantages of visual modeling in project management and moreover in gathering requirements.

A short experience

I have myself used Visual Project Management to manage a Continuous Improvement project this year.

Mur Pit Stop visual management
What you can’t realize from the pic is that this tool helped us for:
  • Planning
  • Risk analysis
  • Stakeholder mapping
  • Cost management

We did not use it for requirement analysis but know we have seen that we could do that visually too.

The main interest is as everything is represented graphically, with dedicated colours, with earned-value indicators, and positioned within time (just a funnier and more complete Gantt chart). So you can really see each morning what is late, what you should have on your desk, what is the next task/deliverable/risk to be mitigated…

You have your project under your eyes at a glance. And not only you as project manager. But the whole team. Everyone gets more involved, responsible and accountable for his tasks, in a gentler way that usual Project management tool. That’s one of the most impressive effect of Visual Project Management: Team involvement.

Where should I look to find visual project management tools?

Lost of tools exist and are already mastered into your company. don’t try to reinvent something that your organisation masters. However some new tools can enrich this approach for the best of your project.

  • Continuous improvement tools
    Such as Ishikawa, Value Stream Mapping, Process Workflow and so on can be used to gather requirements, find interactions and lean-ify your project
  • Visual management
    Of course Visual Project management is first of all… visual management so please take a look at your dashboards and see what could be useful for your projects.

Those first two are kind of classic. However I would like to mention one family that is of a big interest for my actual projects

  • Design thinking tools
    Yes really. Design Thinking. Customer journey, Blueprint, persona etc… are very good tools to manage a project and model its interactions, requirements and deliverables. Planning can be fined tuned using Customer journey. Give it a try!

Of course most of the tools that helps you to analyse a situation or predict scenarios can be helpful.

What for?

More than just tools, Visual Project Management will have a major impact on your project. A faster agreement on requirements is done using a Ishikawa like diagram called « features diagram » or « features tree ». You can build a better common understand of the project and its deliverables using the Customer Journey. Project monitoring is easier when leverage on Visual management tools and techniques.

As a conclusion

You should really try the Visual Project Management. Definitely. After my first experiment of it I use it every day to manage my R&D/Innovation portfolio together with more classical PMP processes. It helps me to leverage the portfolio approach while giving me the opportunity to better understand and model the interactions among the projects, esp. the resources, and to communicate at the easiest with all stakeholders.

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