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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

Visualization Stupid!

Whiteboard drawing

Kanban is a funny animal. I started my journey with Kanban treating is as a tool. Then I realized it is more of a vehicle which improves things around. Now, I extract some ideas standing behind the method and use them independently in different situations.

Since Kanban is as easy as possible – I use to describe it as “three rules, one tool and simple mechanics” – there aren’t many ideas you could exploit, but there’s one which is especially appealing. A contest: which one am I thinking about?

Yes, I know. I ruined everything with the title. What a dumbass I am. Anyway yes, visualization is the concept I like so much. Generally I’m known to be attracted by every whiteboard or flipchart around. If you see me sitting peacefully in a room with a completely clean whiteboard and set of markers you can bet I suffer. I’d love to write, draw, scribble and note on the board, so we all can see some reference to what we are talking about or how others may understand what we’re talking about.

Feel free to laugh at me because of this. It doesn’t happen without a reason. I learned how much value simple visualization can bring. I’m sure there’s some psychological gibberish which shows how our brains deal better when we can refer to a huge visual brutally presenting the core of the issue, but I don’t really care.

I use visualization because I know it helps me. It helps to me to organize presentation, like the one I’m preparing for ACE Conference. It helps me understand the problem, like learning how many quality engineers we do need at the moment. It helps me to express my thoughts, like when we’re discussing performance appraisals.

Next time, when you have some problem, try to draw it on the whiteboard or flipchart. I mean really. No matter what the problem is or how you choose to visualize it. It would help you to understand and chances are good you’ll find a clue how to solve it.

If you wondered why I brought two whiteboards with me to my new room, now you know.

in: communication, kanban

1 comment… add one

  • Peter Z March 18, 2011, 12:30 am

    Wonderful point. I believe the world be nicer place if people would use more drawings for communication.
    With less conflicts caused by misunderstandings.

    The same as you, I love scribbling ideas down on paper or board. It helps me to develop idea for myself, or when talking to peers to explain the point. I noticed that pictures are hidden everywhere – How many features there are? How they are grouped? What’s the sequence of steps?

    By the way, there is great book on this topic I fully recommend: Dan Roam – The Back of the Napkin. It promotes idea of using drawings in everyday problem solving.

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