Saturday, December 5, 2015

2. Communicate visually

This alludes to a book by Woeppel about 'visual project management'. I haven't read the book so I cannot say if it is worthwhile, or just another PM gimmick.

Visual communication has had a boost in recent years with the preponderance of 'dashboards' as an attempt to communicate critical performance information to senior executives (or anyone, really). I use them myself, but one of the risks of dashboard reports is that they will be admired but not digested.

The idea of 'dashboards' was given its first outing, according to himself, by Charlie Kyd, who has an e-book on the topic. Edward Tufte's forum also deals with visual communication in regard to project management, wrestling with gantt charts, as though these are the be all and end all of PM information vehicles. Oddly, Tufte has some good ideas on this topic for medical charts. These could provide an approach for project management, conceptualising the project like a patient and bring a summation of past and current information to the chart.

The idea of visual communication: charts, influence diagrams, fishbone diagrams and the rest of the panoply of this genre is probably good, at a level. The idea of a project dashboard is good too, but one cannot escape the numbers. The two biggest numbers are: current expected (really truly expected) out-turn cost and current expected completion date. Nothing else matters.

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