Monday, October 31, 2011

Visual Meetings and VisualTeams--Read, Use, and Learn

Dave Sibbet of Grove Consultants has delivered two excellent books for leaders and members of complex, distributed teams (how work gets done these days).  This web site provides further details and there are also brief videos on each book.

These two books provide a wealth of information, easily accessible and usable.  The focus on using visuals and graphics to improve team performance and the critical meetings that we must have for full collaboration and success.  Visual Teams explores a wide range of tools, for example(from the Amazon review):
Same Time/Same Place—Face-to-Face Meetings
 The tools explored in Visual Teams for this team mode are:
• Graphic recording on large paper
• Static and interactive whiteboards and multi-touch screens (and walls)
• Computer projection of idea mapping, flow charting, and other software
• Predesigned presentation murals and charts
• Wall and tabletop graphic templates
• Workbooks, worksheets, and handouts
• Sticky-note displays
• Decision-support software for electronic brainstorming, voting, and ranking
• Tablet computers for active graphic recording that is projected

Same Time/Different Place —Virtual Meetings
Many face-to-face meeting involve a virtual component with several people calling in. Its tools are:

• Teleconferences with target documents
• Web conferences with shared whiteboards and interactive presentations
• Web conferences with active recording on tablets
• Video conferences with telepresence and interactive whiteboards integrated
• Interactive whiteboards and telephones
• Live chat with or without video
• Browser-based decision-support software

Different Time—Same Place Meetings
This brings us back to a physical office or workspace. When teams are collocated they can communicate visually through the physical environment in ways that allow coworkers to see what is going on at different times. These tools include:

• Physical bulletin boards and project-management walls
• Posters
• Posted action plans and road maps
• Team rooms with displays
• Kiosks—physical and electronic

Anytime/Anyplace—Social Media and Cloud Computing
With cameras on smart phones and tablets, wifi and other Internet connects becoming universal, and data access from the cloud expanding exponentially, the “anytime/anyplace” possibility is becoming reality. Some of the tools that specifically make this possible are:

• Texting
• Video and photo sharing
• Teleconferencing on smart phones
• All the above plus drawings on smart tablets
• Coordinating through cloud computing services
• Mobile appliances of increasing variety

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What is your project?...Really?

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, HP CEO Meg Whitman nailed it: 
"I want to be able to answer the question what is H-P very crisply."
In our work with global corporations in the Fortune 500, we are continually amazed by how hard it is for leaders of large projects to, in Whitman's word, crisply explain what their project is and the value it brings to the company. Questions to help you be able to crisply define your project should consider:
  • Can you explain what the project is in a 1 minute conversation with your CEO?  If not, why not?
  • Can your core team explain what the project is in a 1 minute conversation with their teams?  If not, why not?
  • Can any member of your project team explain what the project is in a 1 minute conversation with their peers?  If not, why not?
  • What specifically does "done" look like?  Do all stakeholders know that and agree to it?