To Do or Not to Do: That is the Question…

Whether ‘tis nobler in the backlog to suffer.
The bottlenecks and impediments of outrageous misfortune.
Or to collaborate against a portfolio of projects.
And by measuring risks and rewards?
To succeed. To grow; every time.
And by every time we say to continuously improve.

Hamlet had quite the ominous to do list, and those of us familiar with this Shakespearean tragedy know exactly how that worked out for him.  If only he had known about visual project management.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 10.36.15 AMMost everyone in Hamlet thought the Prince had gone crazy with grief, even those closest to him. In a fury clouded by vengeance, he accidentally kills his girlfriend’s father, driving her to commit suicide, and then, caps it all off by inadvertently killing his own mother. You may not have as much riding on it as The Prince of Denmark did, but what kind of losses or setbacks might visual management help you avoid?

Though there was a level of secrecy necessary to Hamlet’s plot, if he had a global perspective of how each element of his plot worked in concession he most likely could have avoided some unnecessary “bumps” on his road to vengeance. If, every time you take on a new project, it feels like a tragedy in the making, you might want to keep reading to learn how to eliminate risk and work smarter.

Bad Project Management, Thou Art Hamlet

Driven by passion and emotion, rather than logic and analysis, Hamlet’s indecision and flip-flopping left a trail of destruction in his wake. It has been suggested, that as a project manager, Hamlet suffered from analysis paralysis –  over-thinking and over-complicating work, leading to the an inability to make a strong, finalized decision on how to proceed.

When organizing work, it is hard to grasp the big picture if you are unable to see all the variables that can influence a project. Sharing that information with all the “players” involved adds even more difficulty into the process. As is the case with many project managers, the inability to communicate priorities with team members, connect details between tasks, timelines and objectives often leads to waste and utter chaos.

How Visual Management Helps Prioritize Work

Managing work so your organization, businesses or team can reap the most valuable rewards in the most effective ways is challenging. Choosing where to commit resources and how to prioritize that work is an imposing barrier to success for many teams. Just because you have the time and resources to take something on does not mean you should.

It is impossible to maximize throughput when everything under the sun is finding its way onto your to-do list. Making certain the work you take on is beneficial and necessary is essential to helping your teams become more efficient and deliver higher quality products. To do this you can start by using visual cues to represent every element of a project and how it relates to your organization’s overall goals.

It is More than Just Time Management

Good time management skills are a big part of getting the right work done. But even if you are the best time manager, you can still experience tons of waste if you are not prioritizing work. Visual Management opens the doorway for optimized time management by being able to clearly identify risks versus rewards and prioritize accordingly.

Why spend time on projects that have little-to-no direct impact on the entire organization’s core objectives? Of course you want to cut waste, but how are you supposed to identify between the right and wrong options?

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 10.35.55 AMWhen supplied with a global perspective of work, you began to see overarching issues more clearly such as:

  • Quick work items that offer bigger rewards

  • The real size of a project versus your initial perception of project size

  • In-progress work that is impeding more critical tasks

  • Opportunities to allocate resources for maximized value

  • Related work items and opportunities for synergy

All of these add simplicity and clarity to the entire production process. The biggest of these items is the ability to see how each task impacts another. If your board contains a large number of tasks that all have interrelated dependencies with little benefit, it may be wise to hold off on doing those items. The reverse of that being, if you see a card that has large value and few dependencies it may be smarter to swarm that specific task.

When dealing with multiple projects you can come up with a variety of scenarios where simply seeing all the details involved becomes beneficial. Given that fact alone it should be obvious to most everyone how a visual project management solution offers a smarter way to prioritize work. In the case of Hamlet it was a matter between life and death – In your case it is a matter between productivity and waste.