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Visualizing Projects: “Planning” Won’t Dispel The Darkness

This is where most project plans begin and end: in the dark.

Why are projects late?

If you’re responsible for the performance of a project team, you may be tempted to blame the usual suspects: it’s hard to get everyone working together; you can’t get enough resources, you need to start projects sooner to finish earlier; and the big one, the 800 pound gorilla of process management shibboleths – you need better planning.

But in our experience, rebooting hundreds of previously stuck projects, none of these excuses are true, especially the last one. The truth is that there are no truly accurate plans, only better or worse plans. If you’re not achieving the progress you want, your biggest opportunity for progress is not better planning, but more effective execution that addresses the real reasons projects are late, which are:

1. Confused, conflicted or uncertain priorities
2. No practical means for collaborative execution
3. Too much work in progress
4. Premature starts on tasks that begin without full kits
5. Conflicting goals and agendas

Why can’t we see the real answer?

“Better planning” didn’t help one of our recent clients cut project lead time from 31 to 8 days and increase revenue by $400 million a month. And it wasn’t “better planning” that helped a major petro company increase engineering project throughput by 24% in six months, saving $12 million in the process.

No, these teams, and many others, achieved extraordinary gains by learning just one thing: how to see.

What really improves project performance? Visualizing your process.

This is chapter one 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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