Project Management

Visual Communication Methods for Project Managers

Chris Merryman, MBA, PMP, is a Project Management practitioner with over 12 years of experience in the IT industry and has developed and worked on several complex software and hardware projects utilizing PMI's Project Management practices and Scrum methodology. Chris can be reached at

Approximately 80 to 90% of the information is received by our brains through our eyes. In the same study (Thinking Maps: Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind), it was also found that our brains are capable of absorbing 36,000 images per minute. These two facts show just how important it is for project managers to ensure information is readily assessable to communicate to all project team members and stakeholders in a visual form.

Audible communication skills should not be discounted as it too is an important skill that must be honed, but visual representation of status and information is clearly of greater importance. Visual communication can take many forms, and for it to be the most effective you need to ensure you are tailoring your reports and messages in a manner that will be the most useful for the intended audience--examples being financial reporting (IRR), process reporting (fishbone diagrams) and status reporting (information radiators and wikis).

Financial Reporting
Financial reporting can and does take many different shapes and forms. As noted earlier, the most effective is by visually representing the data. Project financials are a great example of information that most team members and stakeholders find of interest and is effective in communicating a message in a clear and quick way.

Figure 1 shows an IRR model both in table and graphical form.…

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