In the last months, we have been writing about Visualization in projects on our blog. We have shared a few tips and our experience in making projects v i s u a l. We covered not only project data in the form of charts and diagrams, but also project relevant information such as requirements, expectations, and budgeting. We focused on using visualization to help avoiding misunderstandings, inefficient meetings and a demotivated project team.
In order to improve my visualization knowledge, I attended a workshop on this topic. I learned how to be creative and professional in team building meetings, project planning phase, or in holding a presentation.
The following visualization is the agenda for the workshop (Source: Visual Braindump):
There are different ways to approach the different phases of a project – from a project initiation to project retrospective. For me it is important to keep it simple and yet informative.
Here are my personal learning on being or becoming visual.
1) Don’t be shy, be creative
Sometimes I don’t like to talk in front of other people or cannot explain in words what I expect on a project. Putting my ideas on paper writing and drawing my expectations during the project planning phase can help the project team to provoke a reaction and discuss the different topics. In the workshop, we did an exercise and learned that people remember what was discussed in a more effective way than the spoken words when it is associated with a visualization. We were also encouraged to make our own drawings and take our own pictures.
The comment “I cannot draw” is not applicable. The workshop also proved that everybody can draw.
The following picture is the result of drawing something based on our daily work/tasks using every letter of the alphabet:
2) Synthesize complex ideas and task by drawing them
As humans, we can transmit complex concepts using pictures. This is something robots cannot do. Those pictures can be interpreted by people with different cultures and backgrounds better than words. The capacity of synthetizing an idea, problem, task, or risk in form of an image using your own imagination, creativity and experience is endless. For sure, this will catch the attention of the whole team more than 1000s of words.
The following picture shows a roadmap for a beer brewery project:
3) Feel proud of what you do
It is not only the project manager and SCRUM master that leads the visualization process. Team members can contribute visualizations to the project to make themselves part of the decision-making process. I feel prouder of my work when I am part of the decision-making process, no matter how small or big my contribution is. In my experience, this contribution will increase the personal and professional involvement and the consequent success.
4) Be an active part of the Team – You are more than a role
Visual thinking is about communicating and expressing what I see, feel, think, and know, by drawing; like children do. Using visual thinking in every project phase – from team building to project retrospective makes the project alive. I learned that every task can be interpreted and thus visualized in a rational, emotional or practical way.
The following pictures show
- A ‘persona’ that shows a potential user
- Different approaches -head (rational), heart (emotional), hand (practical) to different project aspects.