If you visualize more you get more agile.
Tom Wujec had an excellent TED talk on 3 ways the brain creates meaning.
- Use images to clarify ideas
Visual shapes, physical space, colors, motion help us create mental model, more understanding
- The act of engaging, being interactive enriches mental model
- Augment memory by creating persistent, evolving views
Let’s say you have a task board for a software development team, either a physical one or a digital one shown on a screen as a dashboard. Let’s say it’s visible in an office so that everyone on and outside the team sees it several times a day.
- People in and around the team gain a shared mental model, a shared understanding.
- People interact with the board as things change, including upstream and downstream stakeholders. A visible task board creates more engaged stakeholders.
- A task board is persistent and evolving, and becomes a new visual, domain-specific language of sorts, where the domain is the reality of the development team.
This language is a more abstract, high-level language, and enables much more effective thinking, communication, and collaboration.
A software development team communicate and collaborate better the more they visualize the work.
- Let workflow on task board be closer to reality
- Show different types of work differently
- Let a status screen display a virtual task board permanently
- Are you working in a traditional waterfall project? Regularly print the latest version of the project plan (and progress) and put it on the wall.
- Show more policies like DoDs, increase transparency
- Are you doing CI or continuous builds? Create alerts or alarms for failures, include status on status screens.
- Show problems and impediments clearly
- Do you share status on sales, bugs, product upgrades, project progress, project backlog etc in monthly or weekly meetings? Make status visible for everyone at anytime via screen or paper.