Managing the Big Picture with Planning Boards…by Alan Zucker, PMP, PMI-ACP

Jun 2, 2021 | Project management

Planning boards visually depicts the organization’s future activities or work.  It is a flexible tool that can be adapted to multiple needs:

> Describing the strategic roadmap for the next several years by showing major milestones, key events, and how teams and projects support those efforts; and

> Coordinating a program or strategic initiative and by aligning teams to the common goal.

Visual tools help us quickly comprehend complex information.  Building a physical planning board on the wall creates a strong focal point.  Online tools such as Mural and Miro are good alternatives for virtual teams.  Organizations can configure their program board to meet their unique needs.  A typical structure is:

    li>Planning Horizon. The top row shows the planning time horizon.  Program boards that extend many years into the future may reflect progressive planning practices where shorter durations (months) are used in the near-term, and longer ones as the horizon extends (quarters/years);
  • Coordination Points. Major milestones or significant events are shown in the second row.  These events create focal points, such as product launch, major conference, or key deliverable;
  • Projects & Teams. Subsequent rows depict projects, programs, operational organizations participating in the initiative;
  • Deliverables & Activities. Cards depict major deliverables or activities for each group.  The cards can be color-coded to show the type of work, initiative, or criticality;
  • Sting or lines show the interdependencies between milestones, deliverables, and activities.
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