Visual Project Control and Motivation

One of my favorite tools of “Lean” is visual control. The idea is that visual information on the wall next to the workplace communicates better than intranet pages or databases.

Projects Wall - Objectives, Status and What to do Next

For each project I run, I have a whiteboard of roughly 1 square meter per project, with the most important information, updated at least weekly. I include: project objectives, deliverables, team members, status, decision log and maybe most important: What are we working on now?

At least half of the project team is located in the same room, so they will invariably see what is going on in the project.

Typically, we have pulse meetings once or twice a week, to get alignment on what we are doing and who is doing what.

For me, this spices up my motivation.
Once in a while there are slow days, when the brain goes on half speed and the weather outside looks alluring. Then it is tempting to log on to [Your Favorite Social Network Site] and just click around. Or read another article about PyUnit, or a long email about a policy document change from HR.
But then I glance at the project wall and I see my name on a task, I am back in focus again.

I think that all tools that remind us about what we should be doing are useful.
And, by aligning weekly with the rest of the team, we can scrap some activities that we actually should not be doing, at least not now.

It is also more fun to finish tasks that have been self-assigned than diffusely delegated!

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One thought on “Visual Project Control and Motivation”

  1. You’re right about the distraction part of tracking a project using a software. Having said that, I believe that an online PM tools are much better than whiteboards, for the only reason that the latter can get messy very fast.

    Yes it’s more convenient for very small projects, but when the project is slightly bigger and you see those change requests coming (see this on change requests), then I have no idea how you’ll be able to run your project.

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