The Project Shrink

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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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The Final Project World Collectable Card. Nr 16.

Categories: collectable cards

Last year I created 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 a map. To have something to talk about.

This is the final card, number 16. It is basically the "title card" that explains the layout of the overall map, how to read the story.

The map consists of two "worlds" separated by water. The more permanent "organizational world" that is about everything before and after the project, and the temporary "project world". You read the sequence clock wise.

This is the basic shape of a hero's journey. When I talk about storytelling in projects, I get a little help from movies. The Matrix, Star Wars, The Big Lebowski, Juno. What they have in common is that they all follow a universal structure called "The Hero's Journey". Or "monomyth". I talked about it in detail here.

It is also the basis for The Project Story Cycle…

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.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did creating them!

Click here to see all the cards.

Posted on: February 24, 2014 06:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Organizational Journey - Project World Collectable Card #15

Categories: collectable cards

Card number 15 in my series of 16 Project World Collectable Cards is titled: Organizational Journey.

 
 
The Organizational Journey
 
Why is your project taking place right now? And not last year, or next year? Are there also any other projects taking place now? Why? What is the challenge? This can be either a threat or opportunity that is the cause / reason for the project. What is the legacy the organization wants to leave behind?
 
These questions matter. A lot.
 
Being busy in a project can be overwhelming. Before you know it you are only focused on this Big Adventure. Of course, your project is worth your time and attention. And of course, it is an incredible story, this temporary awesomeness that you and your mates are doing right now.
 
But it is just exactly that. A temporary story. When you’re done, you’re done.
 
 
Your project is part of a larger context. Longer journeys. Larger stories. And these stories shape your project more than you know. It’s like Star Wars. You can watch just episode IV. And enjoy it. But it starts really making sense when you watch the entire series.
 
Your project is an episode in two stories.
 
The story of you. The individuals that are involved in the project. An individual has an ambition and a reputation. And he has a role in your Big Adventure.
 
And the story of the organization.
 
You can address the Story of You with the Map Of You.
 
The same principles can be applied to the Organizational Journey.
 
By exploring the relationship of the project and The Organizational Journey, you and your team create awareness around why you doing things. Awareness beyond the normal “build this” specification. A sense of why you are doing what you are doing. This will help the team to make decisions that fulfill the organizations desires and be more in tune with its context.
 
Draw an empty map which basically looks like a bow tie. Put “NOW” in the center and “PAST” and “FUTURE” on both sides. Ask the participants to write keywords that answer questions as formulated in the first paragraph of this post.
 
 

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. To have something to talk about.
 
If you cut out all the images you can put them all together!
 
 
 
 
 
Posted on: August 30, 2013 05:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Legacy - Project World Collectable Card #14

Categories: collectable cards

Card number 14 in my series of 16 Project World Collectable Cards is titled: Legacy.

 

Legacy

When a project with a deviant culture is finished, project team members become just employees again. Employees of the main culture they challenged for a short period. If the project provided benefits and value for their direct colleagues the deviance will be regarded as useful. If the project leaves the acceptance of transparency and the tools to create it behind, you have left a legacy that people will remember.

 

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. To have something to talk about.
 
If you cut out all the images you can put them all together!
 
 
 
 
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: August 23, 2013 04:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Transitions - Project World Collectable Card #13

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)

Conversation: Who Cares? - Project World Collectable Card #12

Categories: collectable cards

Card number 12 in my series of 16 Project World Collectable Cards is titled "Essential Conversation: Who Cares?". It covers an essential conversation you have in projects: who cares? You might known this question under the name Stakeholder Management

A Lesson From Oz

People are driven by their expectations. If stakeholders have something to gain by the project, and those expectations are in line with reality and vice verse, you have created a very productive environment.

Not every person is happy with Dorothy’s trip. The Wicked Witch of The West tries to stop her from reaching Emerald City. In the beginning of the story Dorothy kills the Wicked Witch Of The East by accident, and her sister from The West wants revenge. Flying monkeys are sent to stop the little girl.

Brave Dorothy keeps The Witch out of her way, with a little help from the Witch of The North. Blocking the bad influence. Keeping her own path.

The Stakeholder Adventure Map!

Invite some relevant people to brainstorm the stakeholder map. Get a whiteboard. This can be an old fashioned one, you know the kind you put on a wall. Or this can be an online version for remote organizations.

Draw an image of the goal. A treasure. A princess in a tower. A shovel.

Draw a line that flows towards the goal. Not a straight line. Create the suggestion that the Big Adventure is one that includes obstacles and challenges. The openness and flow stimulate creativity. It suggests you have room to think.

The next step is concerned with the question “Who are the stakeholders?”

For this, you basically draw people or smileys along your project road map. What is the first time they pop up? That's the place where you draw them on the flow. If you draw them closer  towards your path, they have more influence, are more important. Often you start with the obvious stakeholders, and the longer you talk about it, the more crowded the whiteboard gets.

The attitude of the stakeholders towards the project determines their behavior. Happy people are more likely to cooperate than an angry mob. With the use of smileys or + and - sign, try to assess the indicate of the stakeholder towards the project.

Not all stakeholders are created equal. Not everyone has to be involved. And you don't want to have everyone messing around with your scope. So. Draw walls between your path and the stakeholders that don't have or need an involvement. And when you draw, yell: "Block Them!" For those that need involvement draw a nice and inviting corridor (or arrow) between the flow and the stakeholder. I am still looking for a good phrase to say when you draw the arrow.

Tada! Now you have a nice Stakeholder Adventure Map.

 

 

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 11, 2013 05:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
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