Simple Visual Planning and Task Management for Architects

Collaboration is the cornerstone of so many great ideas, and we are always seeking for a way to improve productivity and turn our companies company to the team of superheroes. One of the tools that can help your team be more efficient is visual task management. It works better than to-do lists by making the workflow visible and keeping everyone on the same page. We love visual task management and are working hard to make it simple and efficient.

To-Do Lists Are Not Always a Good Idea

To-do lists are good when you have only 5 simple tasks to do, but when it comes to the teamwork they quickly become messy and they are hard to manage. That’s why we see so many PM software in the market, btw! If your workflow is more complex than 1-2-3 and you have a team, lists can be overwhelming, so  it’s time to try visual task management.
Visual task management is a technique for managing work. Instead of keeping messy to-do lists or spending precious time tracking information in your inbox, file folders and spreadsheets, track your work using a visual task management tool such as a task board, project board or Kanban. Some people use a good old whiteboard and sticky notes, and some go online with the tools like RealtimeBoard.
There are a lot of benefits of visual task management:
  • Save time by simplifying the complex – visual task management helps people understand even a complex project at a glance, see what tasks should be done and when.
  • Reduce waste by improving the communication
  • Overcome impediments. With visual task management, you can always see where work has slowed or stopped and take the necessary steps to fix it.
  • Collaborate and improve. Visual management encourages collaboration among a team because everyone can see what everyone else is working on.
  • See Everything at a Glance and Get the Work Done Visually
Imagine how much time you usually spend planning your work before you actually starting do it. ‘Getting things done’ is more than actually doing it. First, you have to think about what you need to do next, how to do that, how to prioritize your work and how to maximize the productivity for the whole team.
The work being done by a person doesn’t correspond always with the overall aims of the team. But often, PMs do not realize this until the work has already been done. For the individual, it’s great that he was able to get a task done, but for the team, it’s a waste. The time and effort that people put into working on their own tasks could have been spent more efficiently helping the team achieve shared goals.
Visual task management makes it easier to identify work being done that doesn’t necessarily roll up to a team’s shared goals. The identified less relevant work items can be discussed within the team and you can realize why thay were requested and if they have to be done right now or later.
Visual management makes prioritization of the work much easier because you can see it at a glance. Teams start collaborate better and the synergy effect is created (people are usually looking for win-win situations). Team members are always able to see what task comes next and how the work items tie back to the larger objectives of the team.

Agile Culture and Visual Task Management

Agile has become a very popular concept these days and more and more companies start using this aproach for their workflow. Well, what is Agile? All of the principles you can find in a good old Agile Manifesto. It is necessary to say that agile is an idea supported by a set of values and beliefs, not just doing something visually. Agile is about the delivery of the best product to the customer and team efficiency.
One of the popular concepts is Kanban. Take a look at a simple kanban board below:
kanban board
“Kanban+Agile = Agile”. If Agile values are combined with Kanban practices, then Kanban can lead to Agile.
It is possible to practice an Agile mindset with Kanban as a starting place for evolving the process. In this situation, the focus is around Agile values and principles where policies and processes are used to support people’s work. Such an approach may be appropriate where Scrum or XP are not a good fit for the environment.
So, as you can see from the above, visual techniques such as Kanban are very important part of agile culture, of course, they are not enough but are a good starting point of building an agile culture and make your team more efficient.

Visual Task Management with RealtimeBoard

RealtimeBoard allows you to use various tools and templates to get the work done visually and collaborate with your team even if your team is distributed. RealtimeBoard acts like a whiteboard, where you can place sticky notes as the tasks, but it gives even more possibilities – you can save it, you can share it, it has digital superpowers an no physical limits. Below you can find some useful tips and examples.

Useful tools:

Templates and examples

Agile Taskboard

If you’re into agile management, you will definitely enjoy an endless Kanban-like board. Used mostly by software developers, it helps to manage tasks in a flexible and iterative way.
Tip: Post-its and simple shapes will help you build the agile board. Use links to track related tasks.
Visual task management - Production Plan

Gantt Chart

A Gantt chart is commonly used in project management. It is one of the most popular and visual ways of showing your tasks, milestones or events displayed against time. On the left of the chart is a list of the important tasks and along the top is a time scale. Each task is represented by a bar; the position and length of the bar reflects the start and dates and duration of each activity. Gantt chart allows you to see at a glance what has to be done (the tasks) and when (the timeline).
Tip: Use post-it notes and comment tool to explain and discuss the tasks. When the task is finished, add some visuals or documents and link them to task bars.
Visual task management - Gantt chart

Architects Timeline

This simple, yet very effective template developed by our friends from Standard Architects, can help you manage complex design projects, structuring tasks, references and deliverables on a timeline.
Tip: This template can be used for any project, that relies on visual content. It’s also a great platform to collaborate with your most valued clients.
Simple visual task management for remote teams
Hope you’ll find these tips useful for your projects!

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