Tufte Envisions Projects. [1].

Tufte Envisions Projects..

Is the generic GANTT chart useful?

Edward Tufte explores visualization of the project diagram.

One challenge is the medium. Computer screens don’t have the resolution to see both the macro and the micro. 

Printers spread the project over dozens or hundreds of pages. HP DesignJet plotters are in my project toolbox, they work.

In the comment thread, Robert Towry said:

Placing the plan on the wall is a big help and changes the nature of the discussion. Instead of sitting around the table and talking about what each person is doing, people are more inclined to get up, walk to the plan on the wall, point to a task and say “This is what I’m working on, but I cannot finish until Mary finishes, and I can see that Jim is waiting on me, and he has to complete his task by – good grief, by Friday!”. The other people gather around and people are actually talking about their tasks, interdependencies, milestone dates. The stuff you want them to be talking about.

This works great for projects where people work in the same building.

What about the distributed team? You can’t really see through a monitor and there no tools that compensate enough.

The visualization challenge: Help project members visualize:

  • the body of work,

  • relationships among many tasks and roles,

  • tradeoffs among potential project designs and risks,

  • your place, responsibilities, workload

Envisioning projects a la klog?

How can weblogs contribute to project visualization?


  1. Associate each project post with one or more tasks, issues, milestones, and deliverables on a given project.
  2. Enable a few extra attributes for a post: Red/Yellow/Green Priority (U.S. cultural bias). 
  3. Create a view into a team’s weblog posts organized by the work breakdown structure, another by priority  

PM is about the conversation more than formal modeling. It is how we come to appreciate project dreams and know project reality. We discover our colleagues’ capabilities and limits. We negotiate commitments. We make the thousand mid-course corrections to the project plan. My project communication templates help you script some of those conversations.

But conversation is narrative and auditory. How do we get the best characteristics of project conversation into visual media? Into electronic visual media?

Thanks to experience designer Diego Lafuento for the Tufte pointer.

 [aka design]

[a klog apart]