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Visualizing Projects: Now You Can See the Priorities

project management

Mark Woeppel - February 25, 2014

By posting all the project tasks to ONE board, and attributing a status to each task, your team instantly moves its attention from a competing body of tasks to a SINGLE project, openly displayed.

In this new context, what takes priority? Whatever is most likely to threaten the completion deadline.

What threatens completion? Look at the board:
• Any red tags indicating stoppages are an obvious threat.
• Any yellow tags suggesting possible delays should be examined.
• Any clustering of multiple tasks within a single grid space might indicate a bottleneck that should be resolved.

EPP_VPB

Success Secret #1

Once you visualize your process, priorities are no longer set by whoever complains the loudest or calls most frequently, but by the facts everyone can see.

A common understanding leads to collaborative execution

It’s just human nature: the work we see is the work we think is important. And when we’re isolated in cubicles, concentrating on our tasks, it’s not just that we fail to see the forest for the trees – frankly, all we can think about is our own particular branch. The visual project board lifts the fog and exposes the forest. When they can see their work within its larger context, team members can immediately identify finds ways to help others – and to ask for help without shame or blame.

Rescuing the work floor

ID_Constraint_e-Act1

Before the visualization, the client’s engineers and production resources had been rivals competing to gain resources or displace blame. But when they put the board together, they discovered their common purpose – and even found ways to come to each other’s aid.

Note that the upper board is loaded with blue tags indicating task completions. Note, too, the high number of green tags at row five in the bottom half. Realizing that they had capacity to spare, the engineers applied two of their colleagues to the overwhelmed workload below, helping the operators meet an otherwise threatened deadline.

This is chapter seven and eight of our newest ebook, Visualizing Projects. Do you want to learn more? Download the full ebook here.

Learn more about Visual Project Management and join the discussion on LinkedIn by joining the Visual Project Management group.

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