Visual Management Webinar - LeanKit & Patrick Steyaert


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Patrick Steyaert teamed up with LeanKit for this Webinar on Visual Management.

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  • From the perspective of viability, IT projects are not different; especially large IT projects.

    The average cost overrun of large IT projects, according to the study that is cited on this slide, is 45% with a benefits shortfall of 56%.

    According to this study, 17% of these projects go so bad that the very existence of the company is being threatened.

    While these latter may be outliers, they do give an indication of the risk profile of large projects.
  • How can these overruns and shortfalls be explained? Bent Flyvbjerg suggest three plausible explanations:
    The first explanation speaks for itself: Using imperfect forecasting techniques and inadequate forecasting data.
    The second reason is related to cognitive biases that are deeply ingrained in the way people think. One such cognitive bias is that people have a tendency to underestimate how long it will take to complete a task; especially experts. People alos have an optimism bias, believing that they are less at risk of experiencing a negative event compared to others.
    The third reason has more to do with deception, or what Bent Flybjerg so nicely calls strategic misrepresentations. It means that the party that wants to execute the project has an incentive to underestimate the costs, and the party that commissions the project has an incentive to overestimate the benefits.
    The net result of these delusions and deceptions is a misinformed commitment.
  • From our own experience with large projects and programmes we have identified a broader number of classes of root causes of why projects/programmes are not delivering according to expectation. Again we want to emphasize that it is not just about cost overrun but also about benefits shortfall.

    Lack of informed commitment is just one of the classes of root causes.

    Another one is a lack of shared visual understanding.

    The reason why we single out shared visual understanding here is that, together with learning and improvement, shared visual understanding is a lever to address all other causes of project failure.

    Let’s focus on shared visual understanding.
  • In the parable of the 7 blind men and the elephant, there are 7 blind men that each feel a different part of the elephant.
    One touches the elephant’s tail, and concludes that the elephant is a rope. The other touches the leg and thinks the elephant is a tree. The third blind man, thinks it is snake because he is touching the trunc. And so on.
    Each has a different perspective and different understanding.

    This is how many projects feel like where the different stakeholders have a different, sometimes even conflicting, viewpoints. And nobody sees the whole.

    When the different perspectives are not integrated, we do not see the whole. The result is patchwork.
    The result is not an elephant.
  • So how do we create that shared understanding?

    Often we try to create a shared understanding by having one person (the expert) talk with all parties and then integrate the information that has been obtained.
    Obviously by doing so, only one person has an overview of the situation: the expert. Like in the blind men parable, all others still only see their own perspective.
    A better way is to have all parties collaborate around a shared visualization.
    Shared understanding means that we create a visualization that integrates and aligns the perspectives of everybody that is involved.
    And that everybody that is involved sees the whole picture.
  • This taps into one of our most powerfull cognitive abilities, that of visual processing.

    With the right visual representation, our visual process capabilities allow us to literally see the problem; or to see the solution to a problem.

    To illustrate this, please have a look at the game of 15 on the left hand of the slide and try to give an answer to the question at the bottom.
    I bet most of you really have a hard time figuring out what player B needs to do. Many of you where probably not even ready reading the entire tekst. Surely this game must be a very difficult game.
    May be it is, may be not.
    To understand why not, let’s look at a visual representation of this very same game. In this form the game is called three in a row. Player A plays with crosses, player be with O’s. The first playerthat has three in a row wins. You are the player that is playing with the “O”s and it is your turn, what is your move? <short pause> Most people will imediately see that they need to put an “O” in the bottom-right cornere.

    On the left we find a textual representation; on the right we find a visual representation of that very same game. While only a few people will be able to see the solution to the game on the left; most people will imediatly see the solution for the game situation on the right.

    People in general have good visual processing capabilities (better than our numeric processing capabilities). Visualization let’s people actually “see” problems and solutions.
  • Exactly because visualization creates a shared understanding and because it allows people to see problems and solutions, visualization is often a trigger for change.

    This is a phenomenon that is very well known in the Kanban community. It is so fundamental that it is the basis for what is called the Kanban Method.
    The Kanban Method is a proven method for delivering change in technology organizations. It takes an evolutionary approach towards change: start where you are today, create a shared visual understanding that helps trigger a change towards a more desirable future. Visualization plays a key role in The Kanban Method.

    It is exactly the key role that visualization plays in triggering change that is of interest to us. Especially in triggering a change to address the root causes of project and programme failure.
    Let’s see how this works.
  • This brings us to the second part of this webinar: What is visual project management?
    In this part of the webinar, we will gradually build up the different elements of a virtual project room or oobeya.
    While doing so we will also show how such a visual project room triggers the needed change towards addressing the root causes that we talked about.
    Specifically we will show how it triggers a change towards a better balance between risk aversion and entrepreneurship.

    Let’s start with a few examples of visual techniques that are, today, commonly used in agile projects.
  • A first well known example in agile projects is story mapping.

    Story mapping is a technique that was developed by Jeff Patton. It is used to create a shared visual understanding of the product or application that you are planning to build, focused on the user and their experience.

    Building a map is a collaborative experience. It starts with telling stories of the product and then placing them in a simple grid-like structure.
    The resulting story map tells a story from left to right and breaks it down into details from top to bottom.

    A story mapping exercise allows the participants to integrate and align their perspectives. It facilitates the creation of a shared vision on the end-product.
  • In my own experience, the story mapping technique can also be a trigger for change.
    Story maps create a shared language between those that are going to use the product and those that will develop it.
    In my experience this triggers a change towards a more collaborative way of working between users and developers.

    It address one of the root causes of project failure by creating stakeholder engagement.
  • Another example is Kanban as it is used in software and IT organizations.

    Kanban calls for a visualization of the work. The board that is shown visualizes work items like user stories that need to be delivered and bugs to be fixed in a workflow of ready, develop, test, ready for UAT and done.
  • The visualization of work on the kanban board is a trigger for change.
    As the work is visualized, the team can now literally see how the work is flowing. Are there bottlenecks in the flow (is work piling up at a certain place)? Or on the contrary, are there steps in the workflow that are in danger of not having work?
    It is a triggers for change for helping teams to think about how they can improve the flow of work.

    Again this addresses one of the root causes of project failure in terms of improving team collaboration.
  • Work is not the only thing that needs to be visualized.
    In large projects or programmes many other elements require a shared visual understanding.
    We also need to ensure a proper balance between all those elements.
    For example, the focus should not only be on just risk, but on risks and opportunities.
    Not just on issues, but also on learning and improvement.
    Not just outputs, but outputs and outcomes.
    As we will explain, the purpose of a program is not just to deliver systems (which we call outputs) but to deliver benefits (which we call outcomes).
    Moving beyond outputs, we also need to take adoption and change into account. It is not because we deliver something that that something is also used.

    Let’s look at two examples of kanban boards that visualize more than work alone.
  • This is a programme management board that we have used in large transformation programmes. The purpose is to visualize key aspects of programme management including issues, risks, opportunities, countermeasures and actions.
    The board creates a shared visual understanding among the members of the programme management team that includes, business, IS and suppliers.
  • The product management kanban visualizes the different types of value.

    It does so in two different value creation loops that will be explained next.
  • How is value created?
    Again we will see that we have two loops.
    The first is the build-measure-learn loop.
    Because of the fundamental uncertainty of differentiators and the intangible nature of delighter, differentiators and delighters will typically need to follow a validating learning loop, otherwise known as the build-measure-learn loop in the lean startup community. For these types of features, a minimum viable product is build to validate the assumptions with users and customers. Based on this validation, a decision is made on whether to further develop the differentiator or delighter or to abandon. To persevere or to pivot.
    The purpose of the build-measure-learn loop, in other words, is to discovery of what has value under conditions of uncertainty.
    The second loop, mainly followed by enablers and table stakes, is a straightforward plan-execute-verify loop. For enablers and table stakes the main concern is to deliver the outputs and to deliver them efficiently. The focus of the plan-execute-verify loop is delivery because uncertainty is low.
  • On the product management board we find the build-measure-learn loop on the top and the plan-execute-verify loop on the bottom.
  • The purpose of the product management kanban is to trigger a change.
    The product management allows to see the flow of value.
    It allows us gain a visual understanding of whether there is an even flow of value so that our customers and users or business stakeholders stay engaged.

    The product management kanban board can also trigger a more fundamental change.
    In order to understand this, we need to explain the monkey traps that programmes and organizations may find themselves in.
  • The product management board triggers a change towards more balanced decision making.
    The visualization makes it easy to gain an insight in the balance between exploitation and exploration , delivery and outcomes.
    Too much tickets in the bottom lane of the board and no tickets on the top lane may be an indication of a programme that is stuck in the monkey trap of delivery.
    This happens, for example when a business transformation programme gets trapped by a focus on delivery only and loosing sight of the fact that a critical business problem needs to be solved and that user adoption is a key success factor. The organization is stuck in output thinking.
    Too much green “delighters” and purple “table stakes may be an indication of being stuck in the monkey trap of exploitation.
    This happens when product development organizations get trapped in an existing value/revenue stream. As their management system is mainly focused growing and sustaining the existing value stream, the innovation process is hampered.The organization is stuck in the exploitation loop unable to explore new opportunities for future customers.

    Going all the way back to the beginning of the presentation, the kanban board is a trigger for change towards not just thinking about keeping cost under control, but also thinking about creating benefits.
  • We have given 4 examples of shared visualization.
    Each visualization can be used in isolation.
    As a whole they can be part of a very powerful virtual project room also sometimes called an oobeya room.

    They create a comprehensive visual understanding of the different aspects of a large project or programme.

    Taken together these visualizations can trigger a change to address the common root causes of project failure.
    Story maps address stakeholder engagement.
    Development kanban boards address team collaboration.
    Programme management kanban board address learning and improvement
    The product management kanban board address balanced decision making.

    The programme and product management kanbans that we have discussed in this presentation are a part of what we call discovery kanban. The templates for these boards can be found on the discovery kanban website.
  • This leads us to the conclusion of this webinar.

    People have very strong visual processing capabilities.
    It allows us to see problems and to create a shared understanding.
    Often this is a trigger for change for the better.

    This visual capability is heavily underused in most project environments.

    In this webinar, we have demonstrated different visualization that go beyond the visualization of work on a task or kanban board.
    We have shown examples from large IS programmes and product development programmes.
    The visualizations that we discussed are the cornerstones of a virtual project room.

    We have talked about the why and the what, leaving out the how. To learn more, we invite you to our website or to join one of our upcomming kanban trainings.
  • Visual Management Webinar - LeanKit & Patrick Steyaert

    1. 1. © Patrick Steyaert, Jack Strong Visual Project Management is elegant in its simplicity. It improves project delivery performance by improved stakeholder communication, visibility and buy-in, at all levels and all directions, whilst reducing project administrative effort and cost. Webinar Content - Typical Project Delivery Problems Visual Project Management Solution Questions and Answers Dr Patrick Steyaert - Okaloa Patrick is currently working with a global Japanese Manufacturer, on a Pan-European business change project using Lean Visual Management methods. Patrick is a hands-on Lean and Agile Coach with an outstanding track record in delivering successful change in large and small ICT and technology organizations. He is an accredited Lean Kanban University Trainer and has a PhD in Computer Science. Visual Project Management
    2. 2. © Patrick Steyaert, Managing the Webinar Because of numbers everyone other than the presenters are on mute. Using the GoTo Webinar control panel send any Questions to me as they come to you. At the end of the presentation, I will bring up the questions and ask Patrick to answer them. If you have any questions after the webinar please send to A copy of the presentation will be sent to everyone. We will also send a survey which we would greatly appreciate you completing.
    3. 3. © Patrick Steyaert, Visual Project Management May 2014 Patrick Steyaert © Patrick Steyaert, 2014
    4. 4. © Patrick Steyaert, Agenda 4 1. Why Visual Project Management? 2. What is Visual Project Management? WHY HOW WHAT Visual Project Management
    5. 5. © Patrick Steyaert, A calamitous history of projects* Project Actual traffic as % of forecast Channel tunnel UK-FR 18% Miami metro, USA 15% Denver International Airport, USA 55% Visual Project Management 5 Project Cost overrun Channel tunnel UK-FR 80% Øresund access link, DE 70% Great belt link, DE 54% Øresund coast- to-coast 26% Conclusion: don’t trust cost estimates Conclusion: don’t trust benefits forecasts *Source: Megaprojects and risk, an anatomy of ambition, Bent Flyvbjerg, Nils Bruzelius and Werner Rothengatter, 2003 => Risk aversion => Entrepreneurship
    6. 6. © Patrick Steyaert, IT projects Visual Project Management 6 Delivering large-scale IT projects on time, on budget, and on value, Michael Bloch, Sven Blumberg, and Jürgen Laartz 17% of IT projects go so bad that they can threaten the very existence of the company (cost overruns of +200% and schedule slippage of nearly 70%) Double Whammy – How ICT Projects are Fooled by Randomness and Screwed by Political Intent, Alexander Budzier, Bent Flyvbjerg, Aug 2011.
    7. 7. © Patrick Steyaert, Delusions and deception  Imperfect forecasting techniques and inadequate data  Planning fallacy & optimism bias  Strategic misrepresentation and asymmetric information Visual Project Management 7 Delusions and deceptions lead to misinformed commitment
    8. 8. © Patrick Steyaert, Not delivering to expectation Shared visual understanding Not delivering to expectation Stakeholder engagement Team collaboration Balanced decision making Learning and improvement Informed commitment Visual Project Management 8 Optimism bias No business availability Same issues re-occurring Budget focus only No integrated plans Inadequate techniques Strategic misrepresentation
    9. 9. © Patrick Steyaert, When everybody has a different understanding… …the result is patchwork. Visual Project Management 9
    10. 10. © Patrick Steyaert, Shared understanding Visual Project Management 10 Shared understanding good integration and alignment Expert understanding limited integration and alignment Integrate and align perspectives
    11. 11. © Patrick Steyaert, Visual understanding Visual Project Management 11 Game of 15  Player A versus Player B  The “pieces” of the game are the 9 digits  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9  Rules  Each player takes a digit in turn  Once a digit is taken it cannot be used anymore  The first player to get 3 digits that sum up to 15 wins  Sample game  A takes 8, B takes 2, A takes 4, B takes 3, A takes 5  You are player B – what is your next move? X X XO O Three in a row (tic-tac-toe) You are player “O” – what is your next move? “Seeing” problems and solutions
    12. 12. © Patrick Steyaert, Start where you are Shared visual understanding is a trigger for change. 12 Shared visual understanding Move towards a more desirable future Visual Project Management
    13. 13. © Patrick Steyaert, Agenda 13 1. Why Visual Project Management? 2. What is Visual Project Management? WHY HOW WHAT Visual Project Management
    14. 14. © Patrick Steyaert, Example – Story mapping workflow Story Epic Story Story Story Epic Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Epic Story Story Story Story Visual Project Management 14 Visualization of requirements in the language of users.
    15. 15. © Patrick Steyaert, Purpose – Trigger a more collaborative way of working… Visual Project Management 15 Users’ universe Developers’ universeStory maps … and creating stakeholder engagement.
    16. 16. © Patrick Steyaert, Example – Kanban 16 Visual Project Management Ideas Reday for Dev Development Testing Ready for UAT Done ongoing done 5 ∞ Abandoned 5 3 The board shows workflow steps: ready, develop, test, ready for UAT The board shows work-in-progress limits. Visualize the work in the workflow. On this board two types of work items are visualized: user stories and bug fixes On this board two types of work items are visualized: user stories and bug fixes
    17. 17. © Patrick Steyaert, Purpose – Trigger improvement of flow… Visual Project Management 17 Ideas Reday for Dev Development Testing Ready for UAT Done ongoing done 5 ∞ Abandoned 5 3 FLOW … and team collaboration. Work piling up
    18. 18. © Patrick Steyaert, More than work alone that needs to be visualized Visual Project Management 18 Risks & Opportunities Learning & improvement Outputs & Outcomes (Value) Adoption & change Work
    19. 19. © Patrick Steyaert, Programme management kanban 19 Visual Project Management Create a shared visual understanding of learning and improvement by managing risks and opportunities.
    20. 20. © Patrick Steyaert, Context Visual Project Management 20 Programme management kanban Development kanban Focus on management of risks, opportunities, learning and improvement Focus on work Risks & Opportunities Learning & improvement Outcomes & Value Adoption & change Work Risks & Opportunities Learning & improvement Outcomes & Value Adoption & change Work
    21. 21. © Patrick Steyaert, What do you see? 21 Visual Project Management FLOW FLOW Two parallel flows of items moving from left to right
    22. 22. © Patrick Steyaert, Visualizing action and observation Programme & Business environment Visual Project Management 22 Decide Observe Orient Act Check Plan Do Adjust PDCA: Actions & counter measures Edward Deming O-O-D-A: Issues, Risks & Opportunities John Boyd
    23. 23. © Patrick Steyaert, Programme management kanban 23 Visual Project Management Create a shared visual understanding of learning and improvement by managing risks and opportunities.
    24. 24. © Patrick Steyaert, Items that are visualized PDCA  Probe  Time-boxed activity to validate an option  Countermeasure  Pro-active activity to address a risk or implement an improvement  Action  Re-active activity to deal with an issue 24 OODA  Option  The right to do something, not the obligation  Opportunity & Risk  A future problem or event that, should it occur, will affect you for good or bad  Issue  A current problem or event that has occurred and will adversely affect you Visual Project Management
    25. 25. © Patrick Steyaert, Purpose is to trigger change to more proactive management … 25 Visual Project Management … through learning and improvement. FLOW FLOW Issue, risk and action tickets piling up, especially on the left side of the board is an indication that the programme team can not cycle fast enough through the OODA-PDCA loop. The programme is in firefighting mode.
    26. 26. © Patrick Steyaert, Purpose is to trigger change to more proactive management … 26 Absence of “blue tickets” Does the programme only have a downside (risk) and no upside (opportunities)? Or is it an indication of a risk averse mindset of the programme management team? Visual Project Management … through learning and improvement. Absence of “red tickets” A severe case of optimism bias?
    27. 27. © Patrick Steyaert, Visualization makes the difference Visual Project Management 27Risk identification, qualification & response planning Impact Probability Riskfactor QualificationRisk Description risk Status Priority Date raised Raised by Owner Risk category: <Name risk category> 0 0 0 0 0 Risk category: <Name risk category> 0 0 0 0 0 Risk category: <Name risk category> 0 0 0 0 0 Risk category: <Name risk category> 0 0 0 0 0 Qualification Risk factor (P x I) <20 Accept – Assign owner – Identify risk trigger - Monitor 21-55 Accept – Assign owner and escalation authority – Identify and agree risk mitigation actions >56 Unacceptable risk – Escalate immediately to appropriate Board Impact 1 - Very low 3 - Low 5 - Moderate 7 - High 9 - Critical Probability 2 - Very Low 4 - Low 6 - Moderate 8 - High 10 - Very High Traditional Risk log • Compliance focus • Fragmented view • Hard to “see” patterns Visual board • Day-to-day, active management • Overview • Easy to “see” patterns • Triggers change
    28. 28. © Patrick Steyaert, Product management kanban 28 Visual Project Management Create a shared visual understanding of the value that will be delivered to current and future customers taking adoption and change into account. Risks & Opportunities Learning & improvement Outcomes & Value Adoption & change Work
    29. 29. © Patrick Steyaert, What is value? Discovery Kanban 29 Future customers and users exploration / change Existing customers and users exploitation / adoption Delighter Extend current value proposition by delighting existing customers and users Table stake Address a gap that prevents from being competitive in the existing market Enabler Develop a (technological) platform for future applications Differentiator Explore new value propositions for future customers and users Address a problem that has not been addressed before Create goodwill with users to facilitate adoption
    30. 30. © Patrick Steyaert, Product management kanban 30 Visual Project Management The product management kanban visualizes the different types of value.
    31. 31. © Patrick Steyaert, How is value created? 31 Build-Measure-Learn (differentiators, delighters) Unique Value Proposition Idea Option Real option Exercised option Validated option Lean canvas Minimum Viable Product Buying customers Pivot / persevere Plan-Execute-Verify (enablers, table stakes) narrative Request concept Development DeploymentVerificationConcept feature accepted feature deployed feature Visual Project Management
    32. 32. © Patrick Steyaert, Product management kanban 32 Visual Project Management Create a shared visual understanding of the value that will be delivered to current and future customers.
    33. 33. © Patrick Steyaert, Purpose is to trigger change 33 Visual Project Management FLOW FLOW
    34. 34. © Patrick Steyaert, Purpose is to better balance exploitation and exploration … 34 B A L A N C E Visual Project Management … leading to balanced decision making. Stuck in delivery Stuck in exploitation
    35. 35. © Patrick Steyaert, A virtual project room (oobeya) Visual Project Management 35 Development kanban Product management kanbanProgramme management kanban More than work alone! workflow Story Epic Story Story Story Epic Story Story Story Story Story Story Story Epic Story Story Story Story Story maps
    36. 36. © Patrick Steyaert, Conclusion 36 1. Why Visual Project Management? 2. What is Visual Project Management? WHY HOW WHAT Visual Project Management • Integrate and align perspectives • “See” problems and solutions • Trigger for change • More than visualizing work • Good visualization includes risks, opportunities, learning, improvement, outcomes, value, adoption, … 3. How • Visit or • Join our upcoming Accredited Kanban Training 17, 18 June, Mechelen
    37. 37. © Patrick Steyaert, Thank You Visual Project Management @PatrickSteyaert
    38. 38. © Patrick Steyaert, Jack Strong 1. Can you explain more about practical experience and implementation in cases 2. How do you see such a virtual project room practically? Questions Patrick Steyaert