Ubiquitous Visualisation

Posted on April 12th, 2013 in Visual Management by siddharta || 2 Comments

One of the really nice things about putting a chart on the wall is the subconcious way in which everyone knows whats going on in the team. I already blogged about why visualisation is the key to being agile. I’ll just summarise that post here. Click the link if you want to read the whole post:

  • Donald Gray’s experiment on three leadership systems shows that in complex systems, decentralised decision making within a framework is superior to centralised decision making.
  • In order to make decisions, team members need to have, and understand, the current context in which they are working.
  • David McCandles’ TED talk shows how our brain has evolved to process visual information. We can easily understand a picture in under 100 milliseconds, while it takes a few seconds to get the answer to a mathematical calculation like 13 x 24 x 3.

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Visualisation in Board Design

Posted on November 12th, 2011 in Agile, Kanban, Visual Management by siddharta || 4 Comments

Following up on a twitter discussion, Pawel blogged about alternative kanban board designs, and showed an interesting board with columns indicating priority and stickies on a card to indicate the tasks to complete. This motivated me to search for pictures of the board we used back when we first adopted agile process. Pawel says that exposure to “standard kanban boards” has meant that everyone has ended up with similar looking boards. I think to an extent that is true. This board was designed in 2005, much before there was a kanban method, and it doesn’t really look like a kanban board you would see today. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it a kanban board as it has no WIP limits or pull. It’s more of a team board visualisation.

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Pretty graphs mean nothing

Posted on October 20th, 2010 in Agile, Visual Management by siddharta || 9 Comments

We spend a lot of time thinking about visualization. How can we take information that is generated in a project and visualize it in a way that generates insights. Generating insights is important. There are any number of ways to create pretty graphs. But if the graphs don’t generate insights, don’t spur you to take action when you need to, then it has failed.

My mind goes back to innumerable project management tools with hundreds of reports. Each report is usually a single line, bar or pie chart containing so little information that its next to useless.

I got reminded of this again when I came across this graph:

What a mess. How can anyone make out anything at all?

It’s certainly pretty, but pretty graphs mean nothing.

The 10 foot, 3 second rule

Posted on May 15th, 2010 in Kanban, Silver Catalyst, Silver Stories, Visual Management by siddharta || 3 Comments

Here is a question for you: How long does it take to identify that you have a problem with your process? A month? A week? A day?

Ideally, you want this information in near real time. A well designed Kanban board can do this if you design it with the 10 foot, 3 second rule in mind.

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