Transitions - Project World Collectable Card #13

From the The Project Shrink Blog
Bas de Baar is a Dutch visual facilitator, creating visual tools for dialogue. He is dedicated to improve the dialogue we use to make sense of change. As The Project Shrink, this is the riddle he tries to solve: “If you are a Project Manager that operates for a short period of time in a foreign organization, with a global team you don’t know, in a domain you would not know, using virtual communication, high uncertainty, limited authority and part of what you do out in the open on the Internet, how do you make it all work?”

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Categories: collectable cards

Card number 13 in my series of 16 Project World Collectable Cards is titled: Transitions.

What do you draw when you are visualizing a project on a whiteboard?

I draw an arrow from left to right that represents a timeline. Not always. But many times.

The way you visualize, determines your focus. I’ve been playing with the simple but powerful concept of a Project Story Circle.

The project is represented by a circular arrow and is divided in half with a horizontal line.

The idea behind it is the following:

  • An organization has the need for something. A challenge has to be conquered. A group of people starts a journey and brings back their result to the organization.
  • The upper half of the circle represents time spent outside the project. Preparing for the voyage. And getting the results back to the place where it is needed.
  • The bottom half makes up for project time.
  • This will focus attention on the transitions organization-project and project-organization.
  • This will focus attention on the idea that you undertake the project long before the actual project starts and that it only ends when you have gone full circle; when the actual benefits are realized.

You can use this shape when discussing projects.

  • Where do people join the journey? (indicate on the circle)
  • In which parts are they active? (indicate on the circle)
  • Where do they expect problems? (indicate on the circle)

Talking about transitions is important. Transitions reveal patterns. And antipatterns. It’s the moment when contrast is at its peak. When everything remains the same, we don’t notice our rhythms and boundaries that much. When all of a sudden everything is changing, we start to notice what felt natural before.


Location of this card on the overall map:

I am creating a poster about projects: Your Big Adventure. :) I started to make cards about different things you do in projects. There are a total of 16 that together make an incredible poster. 
Bas de Baar is a writer who draws about people in transition. He loves to make visual maps and travel guides for the collaborators of our brave new world.
Posted on: July 18, 2013 10:01 AM | Permalink

Comments (1)

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Outstanding work again, Bas. I'm going to explore more fully - but right away I can see that this is in alignment with our upcoming 'sequel' to Green Project Management, which will implement a tool called 'The Sustainability Wheel' (TM) to help organizations understand how well their projects, programs and portfolios align with their mission statements and operations.

We may be in touch about connecting the ideas up a little more intensively.


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