Visual management in agile

Ecrit par << Paquet Judicaël >>

Visual management is a way of managing projects totally different from big documentations or the use of heavy software like MS Project, Excel …

Agile loves boards and visual things; agile loves the absolute transparency. That’s why we talk about visual management. The Scrum Master will decorate the walls and windows (from openspace separation not theses that offers light) with boards and post’it on different topics.

When Agile projects take form, the post’it will not be usedjust for the Sprint board but for different indicators: visual roadmap, risk management, project vision (including personas), team health.

Version françaiseLe management visuel en Agile

Visual management: risk management

Risk management has always been an essential point to deal with any structured project. If the managed projects by Agile approaches will decrease a number of risks, they will never be 0 risk.

In some methodologies, the risk of employee absence was filled by an overestimation of tasks to 180% for example to avoid a delay on the schedules; this was intentionally exaggerated to foresee all risks and because the project was paid for a delivery the day D (with potential penalty fees).

In agility this risk management for absences would not make sense. In order not to put pressure on the teams, the risk of absence will instead be managed in Agile with concepts of MVP (article: What is the MVP?) Where we will see to deliver the minimum acceptable for customers .

A board is also often used to indicate the risks encountered with different acceptance criteria: they are reduced, they are contained, they are accepted and they are avoided …

Here is the example of the board in question that we meet from time to time:

agile risk management
agile risk management

You could highlight the disturbances and problems encountered by filling this board.

Visual management: the product view

It is essential that the product is understood by everyone and have a view centered on it.

The best-known view is the Story Mapping to present a global vision of the project. This view is useful only for completed projects.

If you do not know this concept, here is an article that I did previously on this blog:

Story mapping, a clear understanding of its creation

story mapping prioritized – exemple story map
story mapping prioritized – exemple story map

To complete the Story Mapping, it is important to note the personas of our project to better visualize the final target of our work.

As a reminder, personas are the target users of our user-stories; in simpler terms, they’re the users that will have one or more features on the product.

The agilists prefer that the persona is detailed. Here is an example that I have created in the past:


To have a complete persona, do not hesitate to make a sheet that presents the context, the goals/behaviors and what does this entail.

Picture: It is always nice to draw a picture or put an picture on the persona. It’s important to have the persona more human.

 Context: We describe the persona to obtain useful information (age and sex may be important) that can show the possible behaviors of the person.

Goals and Behaviors: We describe what the persona is looking for ; we will have to find the responses with our product.

What does this entail: We will define the response about the needs of the persona.

It is also interesting to highlight the “objectives” of the project on the wall so that they are visible to everyone.

Visual management: the iteration view

Developers always use a board to manage the progress of developments during each iteration. Here is an example:

Board avec reporting
Board with reporting

In order to prepare the iterations, the Product Owner can also have his own board; this board is very useful for organizing the future Sprint and highlighting the user-story being analyzed.


Visual management: project progress

When we are working on a particular project, it is convenient to make a board dedicated to the progress of the project; We can name it the simple roadmap. Here’s a simple example of a board that you could do:

Board Roadmap
Board Roadmap

Visual management : Team health

It is possible to put on the wall, the health of the team or even a follow-up of it. We will ask at each member of the team to indicate their mood of the day before leaving.

Here is an example of a board that represents this:


santé équipe agile
agile team health

We can use a tracking graph to analyze the average of the team health over a given period. This indicator will bring to highlight the state of the team.

Conclusion Visual management

I advice you to play with visual management as much as possible to become a guru of agility. All that is viewable should be displayed, not just everything described on this article.

In environments unfamiliar with the agile, do not hesitate to post the role of the Scrum Master and the Product Owner to remind visitors… And why not the  values and principles of the manifeste agile.

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