Visual Project Management

Do we need another project management method?

In IT and Enterprise Transformation we believe that the planning phase in project management is where most problems originate. This is because much of the information needed is not known (and often cannot be known), it will emerge later, during the running of the project. This is a characteristic of the environment more and more businesses have to operate in(VUCA). Project Managers find that the more certainty they try to force unto an inherently uncertain situation, the more the work load expands, the more bad multitasking occurs and the greater the difficulty in achieving coordination and control.

And yet, standard approaches such as that explained in PMBOK emphasise planning and control, at the expense of execution. As an example, execution and delivery take up less than 2,2% of the PMBOK manual. It is widely believed that good planning automatically results in us meeting project requirements such as being on budget, and meeting lead time as well as scope and quality standards.

The problem

According to Pinnacle Strategies most IT projects are poorly executed.

– 39% of IT projects with budgets over $10 million USD fail.

– 2.5% of the companies successfully complete their projects.

– 44% of IT projects run over budget, 7% run over time, and 56% deliver less value than expected.

– Most other projects typically overrun the schedule by almost 70%.

Mark Woeppel writes as follows “Despite the emphasis on better planning processes and improving project skills, project performance is not getting better. We know that between planning and execution, there is a gap – a wide gap. Inside that gap, there are conflicting priorities…a multiplicity of tasks in progress…a misalignment between what is measured and what is meaningful…a failure to identify and adjust for risks…undetected obstacles and bottlenecks that block progress…and more ground-level factors that have not been, and cannot be addressed by planning alone.


The key to improving project performance is not planning, but execution – creating and sustaining a culture where the right processes and behaviours deliver consistent, quantifiable results. “

Visual project management as performed by Stratflow

Visual Project Management is similar in many respects to our Scrum to Flow intervention. The emphasis is on providing visual clarity on priorities to all and to enable horizontal coordination among departments to ensure the project flows to completion within the required time. In Visual Project Management we combine the best of Critical Chain(TOC), Kanban, and PMBOK. It is focused on enabling project managers and employees to execute with near perfection. A somewhat simplified version of Visual Project Management is available to read and view.

Typical Results

Using Visual Project Management the following results have been achieved at Pinnacle Strategies.

  • More projects completed – up to 40% faster
  • Improved due-date performance
    Increased team collaboration
  • Fewer meetings that are shorter and more effective
    Improved productivity increases up to three times 
  • Better morale 

The relationship between the Productivity Platform and Visual Project Management

The Productivity Platform also enable employees to coordinate horizontally across functional lines . The success we have achieved with the Productivity Platform and Visual Project Management starts from our realisation that managers are overwhelmed by the amount of information they receive. Much of this is generated by the conventional way of managing and leading which forces certainty on situations that are inherently uncertain.

In both these methods we limit data and focus activities on that which is truly critical (leverage points, to keep work intellectually manageable), we change mental models regarding the best way of managing and working. We relax top-down control in favour of horizontal coordination, emergence and quick execution.