What is Visual Project Management?

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Today, I interview Mark Woeppel (author of Visual Project Management). But what exactly is visual project management?
I met Mark to discuss the book’s title and more.
Mark, what is visual management?
Visual Project Management is a process that visualizes the project delivery process to drive team behavior: to collaborate and effectively manage projects in order to deliver on time.
VPM views project execution as a process. It uses principles and practices to produce repeatable, scalable results.
Why is it that projects are still being delayed and overbudget when professional project management techniques have existed for years?
The project management body of knowledge focuses on “control”, which is often a better or more efficient planning. Execution is only a small part of the knowledge.
There are certain assumptions that a plan will result in a match. Project managers are good at managing the scope but not the schedule.
Peter Drucker stated “…The word “controls” is not the plural for the word “control”. A detailed plan does not give you control, but it can give the illusion of it.
Control is about understanding the interdependencies of work and being able to adapt to the unpredictable.
Let’s discuss the unexpected. How can project managers recognize early warning signs that a project is at risk of being late delivered?
Instead of focusing on the project plan, consider what the team is doing. Are they flexible? Are they quick to respond? Decisively? How are they responding to the daily realities?
This will give you an idea of how “in control” your project is and the likelihood of a predictable result.
Also, look out for:
Visibility issues
Engagement is lacking
Priorities shifting
Wandering bottlenecks.

Let me tell you a little more about each one.
Visibility is a problem. The team will fail if they don’t have clear situational awareness. There will be lots of activity, but very little progress.
The team spends a lot of time trying to figure out where they are at the project’s current stage and what the next steps should be. The path to project completion is not clearly defined. The critical path to project completion is not clearly defined or it is unclear.
Meetings are used to discuss the progress of the project and to negotiate priorities.
Engagement is lacking. The project manager is often the only person actually involved in the project. The project manager will then be able to spend more time enrolling the team than on the main task of moving the project forward.
The “team” members are not fully engaged in the work of the project. They don’t respond quickly to questions, don’t show up to meetings, and are not working with other members of the team to move this project forward.
It is difficult to find the people responsible for solving problems.
Next: The Ultimate Guide for Getting People to Take Charge at Work
Priorities shifting. Priorities can change, adding more work to the project, causing delays and a loss of productivity.
The project team members spend their time sorting through the work and deciding which tasks should be given the highest priority. They will be switching priorities – shifting the priorities of the people and resources involved in the project’s work.
Information changes frequently cause changes in priorities.
Wandering bottlenecks. There is always a limit to the speed at which a project can be completed. However, if the project is moving from week to weeks or day to day, it may indicate a poor understanding of the resources required to complete the project.
Sometimes, this is disguised as a priority issue. The team will chase down resource shortages. It seems that there is never enough of the right resources at just the right time.