Project Management

Visual PM: Something Old, Something New...

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

One of the hot trends in the world of project management is Visual PM, which focuses on providing the most accurate status of a project through tools like Kanban boards, visual signals, user stories and other techniques. Basically, Visual PM is all about communication that does not rely on traditional tables and charts.

Visual PM has its roots in Visual Control Management, which gained widespread recognition in 2001 when Toyota integrated it into the “Toyota Way”--Toyota’s term that reflects its managerial approach, philosophy, values and manufacturing ideals. Specifically, the Toyota Way embraces (but is not limited to) the following principles (adapted from

  • Respect for People: ways of building respect and teamwork; judging success based on outcomes and not effort
  • Continuous Improvement: establishing a long-term vision, working on challenges, continual innovation and going to the source of the issue or problem
  • Elimination of Waste: due to (1) overproduction; (2) waiting, time on hand; (3) unnecessary transport or conveyance; (4) over-processing or incorrect processing; (5) excess inventory; (6) inefficient motion; and (7) defects
  • Solving Root Problems & Drives Organizational Learning: problem solving that emphasizes thorough understanding, consensus-based solutions swiftly implemented and continual …

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