Project Management

The Project Shrink

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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Recent Posts

The Final Project World Collectable Card. Nr 16.

Old School Teams Stick Together

Saving The Planet

What Makes A Culture A “Project Culture”?

Plan B. Another Path For Problem Solving And Innovation.


collectable cards, old school


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 (8)

Old School Teams Stick Together

Categories: old school

Bas de Baar is a Dutch cartoonist. Documenting a world in transition. 

Posted on: February 11, 2014 11:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saving The Planet

Categories: old school

Perhaps you know this feeling ... :)

This cartoon is available as signed print.

Or , if you like, you can follow me on Facebook for more cartoons :)

Posted on: January 20, 2014 09:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

What Makes A Culture A “Project Culture”?

What makes a culture a “project culture”?

I wonder why I haven’t raised this question sooner. Hmmm. Here is my shot at it.

A “culture” is about the shared notion of “how we do things around here”, shared values, assumptions and beliefs.

So. A “project culture” is about the shared notion of “how we do things around here in the project”.

A “project culture” provides direction to the essential conversations around projects. About the goals, the roles, what people have done before, the trip itself, the way interaction with the stakeholders is done, how we know how far we are.

What fascinates me is how a project culture comes into existence? How can you bootstrap a project culture? How can you facilitate these essential conversations without freaking people out?

Currently, I believe there are three steps to bootstrapping a culture.

1. Setting the agenda.
2. Enable the conversations.
3. Explore associations.

In this presentation I describe all three steps with examples. The presentation starts with an introduction to the concepts around culture.  You can view the presentation below, or follow this link to Youtube.

Posted on: December 10, 2013 04:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Plan B. Another Path For Problem Solving And Innovation.

Last year I was part of a fun group of 8 that participated in “Plan B The Journey” as hosted by Daphne Depassé. “Plan B is just what it says. It’s another path. For problem solving and innovation.” And from October until December I experienced it’s simple and awesome power during this extensive course.

I drew this map as an overview of Plan B.

Plan B consists of 6+1 roles and 6+1 phases. And at the bottom of the map is Daphne’s story surrounding Plan B.

I really encourage you to browse around the website or read the post I wrote a earlier about 2 of the 6+1 roles: “The Set Designer And The Storyteller.

Posted on: December 03, 2013 07:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

"No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public."

- Henry Lewis Mencken