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Slide Makeover #90: Showing the timing of steps in a project

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When reviewing the key steps in a project or initiative, the audience needs to quickly understand the timing of each step so they can make decisions. This makeover shows how you can use a data-driven Gantt chart instead of a bulleted list of dates.

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Slide Makeover #90: Showing the timing of steps in a project

  1. 1. Slide Makeover #90: Showing the timing of steps in a project Based on Dave Paradi’s ideas at www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com
  2. 2. Summary: When reviewing the key steps in a project or initiative, the audience needs to quickly understand the timing of each step so they can make decisions. This makeover shows how you can use a data-driven Gantt chart instead of a bulleted list of dates.
  3. 3. Exploring options to fund and build rail load out • November 2016 through January 2017 – Issue request for proposal to design-build firms to complete engineering and construct project • November 2016 - discussions with two other potential partners to determine interest and capabilities • Feb 2017 - decide on project funding approach after design-build proposal selected and costs are firmly established • February through March 2017 – present full business case analysis to sub committees for recommendation for approval to Management Committee the most economic option 3 Original slide
  4. 4. Discussion of original slide: • There is too much text on the slide. It appears that this is intended to be a document instead of a presentation (see this article on when to use each). If the key message is the timing of each step, then only a short description of each step is needed. The additional explanations can be put in the speaker notes for the presenter to refer to. • A visual would help the audience see when each step is taking place and when there may be more than on step taking place. This helps in the discussion of sequencing of steps and whether the required resources are available if multiple steps are taking place at the same time.
  5. 5. Timeline for exploring options to fund and build rail load out Nov 2016 Dec Jan 2017 Feb Mar Issue RFP for design & build Discussions with potential partners Decide on funding approach Develop & present recommendation for approval Makeover
  6. 6. Discussion of makeover slide: • Using a Gantt chart allows the length of each step and the timing to be easily understood. • This example is created using a stacked bar chart in PowerPoint. It can also be created in Excel (here are two articles on creating detailed or monthly Gantt charts with Milestones in Excel). Stacked bar charts allow for accuracy when creating Gantt charts and may make it easier to update as the project proceeds. • In a stacked bar chart, you can use a “spacer” data series to create the gap from the vertical axis to the visible segment. This is an example of using an invisible graph element to position a visible element.
  7. 7. Discussion of makeover slide (cont.): • The month labels at the top of the Gantt chart are part of the data table, not text boxes added on. This is an example of using a blank category for labels instead of data. I encourage presenters to consider ways to make labels or explanatory text part of the graph element so that when it is moved, resized, updated, or copied, the graph integrity remains intact.
  8. 8. Lessons for Presenters 1. Remove speaking notes from slides. 2. When your message is about the timing of items, use a timeline based visual (you can download free pre-made timelines and calendars as a starting point). 3. Look for ways to use graphs to create visuals when accuracy and ease of updating are important.
  9. 9. If you would like me to help your team create presentations that have a clear message with focused content and effective visuals, get in touch: P: 905-510-4911 E: Dave@ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com W: www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com

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