Whether you’re commuting to work again, or you work from home, there can be a lot of challenges involved with running a project (or just being part of one) at work. Trying to coordinate a big team isn’t always easy, especially when there are competing ideas at play. That’s why it can be so important to know how to visualize progress on these projects so we can implement them successfully down the line!
Of course, this is easier said than done. For one thing, trying to map out or draw everything on our own can be a real pain. Additionally, getting files out to everyone involved can be tricky as well. Today, we’d like to explain some simple methods of visualizing projects without all of that hassle.
What do We Mean By “Visualizing” A Project?
Before we go any further, let’s establish what we really mean by this. While it might elicit images of trying to imagine the whole project in your mind, we’re actually referring to using a visual aid to help map out everything involved. Whether it’s made digitally or drawn out with pens and paper, it’s a fun way to both visualize your project and to keep everyone on the same page.
How Does it Work?
Since we’ve explained what we really mean by visualizing a project, now we can delve into how the process works. To a large extent, it will probably depend on what the project involves and what your work culture is like. For instance, if you aren’t a team that regularly shares information with each other, you probably won’t want to make a huge, public document.
With that said, in most workplaces, we certainly do place an emphasis on open communication and transparency, even between departments. So, having a way to share the visualization of a project without hassle is a big deal. That’s where project planning resources come into play.
For those who weren’t aware, there are a lot of programs that serve as ways to create these visual aids for project planning. Some are easier to work with than others, and it may take a few different ones before you settle on an option that works right for you and your team. Thankfully, the process isn’t that much different from a normal plan, as you can read about here: https://www.umb.edu/it/about/project-management-office/project-planning-phase/.
Using Visualization Tools
One concern that many folks have when it comes to using programs like this is that they’ll be difficult to get the hang of. No one really wants to spend a week training the team to use a program or tool that’s meant to make our lives easier, right? Finding one that won’t require that is a critical part of the selection process.
For that reason, you may want to opt for ones that offer free trials, since they can be useful for our purposes. With that said, what features might we want to look for? Again, while it will depend on the types of projects you and your team undertake, there are certain things that are pretty much universally useful.
An example of that is having a calendar built-in that can share important dates and meeting times with everyone involved. Blogs like this one go into detail about that for anyone who’s curious, but most of us probably know why it’s so critical to get everyone on the same schedule for work events and office projects. Having access to and being able to add events to a calendar is an easy way to achieve that goal.
Budgeting tools are another thing that can be quite useful. While they may not always be necessary, if you’re doing something like event planning, there’s no denying how critical it is to have a solid budget that everyone is aware of. Some programs allow us to track how much money is remaining with a graph or other type of imagery, giving us easy access to this information at any moment.
Are Project Visualization Tools Worth it?
The final thing we have to consider is whether or not it’s worth the splurge to get access to a program like this. After all, there are some “free” alternatives that probably look quite appealing at first. Here’s the thing: they tend not to be very effective or user friendly.
That’s why we’d encourage you to test out the premium options available by utilizing things like free trials. They can help you get a sense of whether or not your organization would use all those premium tools available! Most of the time, the answer to that will be “yes, your organization would.”
At the end of the day, it’s going to be up to each organization to decide whether or not it’s worthwhile. If you’ve noticed projects lagging behind or struggling to get their footing, this might be something to look into.