Turn development teams from
reactive to proactive
With my long background as an activity developer with product and system development organizations, I’ve seen many variations of how people relate to accountability. In smaller enterprises, you get an indirect and natural sense of the big picture. Development teams see what is going on and the status of things. You hear about problems incidentally and you can spontaneously suggest solutions or make adaptations to your own work to avoid unwanted issues with the upcoming delivery.
However, when the enterprise is large, a lot of the informal ‘word of mouth’ information distribution is lost. Instead, you are directed to structured meetings and established information channels. As a result, most people need to stay put and wait for someone to tell you when a problem has occurred or relevant changes have been made that might affect your work. You will depend on that Project Managers, Product Owners, Integration Managers and other roles with an administrative responsibility understands what is relevant for whom and when.
Visualizing dependencies for everyone is one way of turning things right again.
If you study what happens in organizations that make information available and visualized, especially when it comes to dependencies within large or complex system development, you’ll notice a substantial change of attitude. Studies prove that approximately 80 % of all people perceive visualized information easier than in a textual format. Correctly done, visualized information makes people aware of the big picture and their contribution to it.
I have with my own eyes seen what happens next. Instead of waiting for information and directives, people get proactive. Individuals and development teams take their own initiatives to seek up and help others who have encountered problems or understand in what ways they might be affected. And the other way around. If I have problems, it will be easier for me to inform, involve and ask for help from others that have dependencies to my work.
The organization turns from reactive to proactive. Project Managers and other leaders can spend more time with value creating activities and things that are within their field of expertise, instead of acting as an information router. And probably the best thing of it all; everyone takes responsibility for the wholeness which in return creates an engagement and a culture of creativity and problem-solving attitude.
Information Visualization is a field of science in itself. To do the right type of visualizations, you first need to understand what decisions and actions they should support. Based upon this, you can decide which information that is relevant, with consideration of what is available. Finally, the information should be grouped and visualized in a format that is easily comprehensible. For that, you need to have knowledge about human perception. I’ll leave that to a future blog.
Anyway, you have all to gain by visualizing information for all in an organization. Go ahead and try, fail, learn and adjust. If you want some inspiration and examples of how to do this, I can recommend one of our recorded webinars. https://dependency-map.com/webinarpage/
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