Visual Management Gone Wild

Nichole Vanderlaan

A visual management system is a low-tech tool with a simple mission—to visually represent the work that the team is doing. When used regularly and correctly, it can be a project acceleration tool. However, teams often go wild with visuals, decorating every inch of free wall space with gridlines, Sticky Notes, and project stats until it looks like the arts and crafts store vomited all over the office. Nichole Vanderlaan refers to this as “wallpaper,” which is often static and fails to provide much benefit. She highlights common failure modes that result in wallpaper such as not huddling regularly, absence of shared team goals, and over complicated systems. The primary benefit of a visual management system is its impact on team behaviors such as team accountability over individual contributions, problem identification, and continuous improvement. Stop going wild with wallpaper and learn how to create a visual management system that drives team accountability and urgency.

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