Team Agility Master: Visual Controls

Creating Visual Controls allows those who perform or oversee work to gain important insights into the status of that work in real or near-real time. This allows them to quickly adjust to problems, and to optimize their work.

Why to do this practice

This practice helps make visible what is required.

Who does this practice

All roles in a Lean-Agile organization are involved in this practice.

In most places, the Team Agility Master is usually responsible for assuring the integrity of the visual controls. This is an important part of serving the team.

What to do

Identify activities or aspects of work that is being done but is usually impossible to gain real-time insight into how it is progressing.

Inputs

Identity of significant activities or aspects of work that are usually invisible.

Approach

  1. Create visual analog for invisible aspect of work, based on the nature of that work
  2. Analog must be automatically updated, or require no net extra time or effort to do so
  3. Analog must be placed in location visible to those who manage the work

Outputs

This practice creates of the required visual indicators. Examples include:

  • Management dashboards
  • Kanban boards
  • Andons (statuses; e.g., running percentage of defects, such as of code that’s passed unit but failed integration tests)

Outcomes

The benefits of this practice include:

  • You can only manage what one can see.
  • It is important to create visual representations of things in the work flow that are normally invisible.
  • Once they become visible, it becomes possible to manage their ongoing activities, find errors or problems as they arise, and also discover opportunities to improve the way they are done or remove hidden delays.