Project Management

Project Visualization: Retrospective Review

Recently, we published a few recommendations for visualization  practices in projects, so let us visualize these recommendations through this board.

Any identifying objects for the project or the customer are removed from this version

The first time I saw this picture was in a project retrospective review meeting. I thought “are we playing a game?”. It was actually a board in form of a snake, although not for playing, but rather for visualize what happened in the project we had just finished. It was used as a facilitation tool in a lessons-learned session with the core team members from the project. According to our recommendations from the last article:

  1. Specify your objective for visualization This board was part of a retrospective review to discuss the project history, what happened, and what lessons we learned along the way.
  2. Make it action-oriented — In the review session, we used post-its™ to discuss what to change in the playing fields.
  3. Make it messy — Although it was printed, we were encouraged to change whatever we wanted.
  4. Make it specific to the situation — This was the real history of the project with the actual events that occurred.
  5. Use different dimensions — It uses different
    • colours, which show effort estimates by week (e.g. black = less than 3 person/day in a week; green = 9-17 person/day in a week).
    • shapes, e.g. block is a week.
    • numbers, which are the weeks in the year (calendar)
    • symbols, which show activities when they occurred
      • inside the blocks = events (e.g. installed the server).
      • outside the blocks = risks (danger sign), holidays, collaboration.
  6. Make it interesting — this is obviously something subjective, but for me this board was catchy and it attracted attention.

The objective of the meeting was to discuss what went well, what went wrong (and why) and what could we have done better. The main idea here was still the act of discussing, communicating with each other as free as possible. This board was an efficient aid for visual communication that encouraged us to evaluate and measure in a comprehensive way.

You can find the template for the board at the following location:

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