Using Visual Controls and Pull to Disseminate Information.

This section of the portal is for supporting the Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant Workshop (DAVSC), currently under development. Discussions on the pages here will take place on the Disciplined Agile LinkedIn group.


If you are not familiar with the terms ‘visual controls” and “information radiators” please read Visual Controls and Information Radiators before proceeding.

People often associate pull with managing what work to do. But it can also be used as a method for distributing information. One of the key values of visual controls is that they can be used to eliminate the need for status reports.  Status reports use a push mechanism. That is, someone sends the information out to others. In large organization this can result in a tremendous amount of status reports, many being ignored, others lost. In any event, then tend to overwhelm people.

Well designed visual controls can eliminate the need for status reports about the information they convey. They are, in a sense, the report. But they are available on demand, not sent from the source. A basic visual control that is used to convey status requires the following:

  1. the information to be conveyed
  2. when that information was last updated
  3. when viewers who are required to see the information last looked at it

The last two enable both the conveyer of information to know that the information was received, as well as the receiver to know if there is any new information presented since their last view. This enables both groups to decide on a regular cadence of checking that people are attending to the visual control (in the case of the sender) and that they have received the latest information (in the case of the receiver).

Advantages of Using Visual Controls to Pull Information Instead of Having to Push It

From the provider’s perspective

  • It takes less effort because only the visual control needs to be updated. Emails do not need to be sent nor email lists managed.
  • The provider can see that people have actually read it (or at least had an opportunity to read it).

From the receiver’s perspective

  • This eliminates many emails that come in, thereby eliminating many interruptions
  • You can set a time for when you want to review all or sets of the status you need to attend to
  • You are ensured of getting access to the information you need

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