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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Reeve

The power of visualization

Every year, we host powerful gathering of our practitioners filled with energy, learning, along with making friends, old and new. People comment how engaged the attendees are and I am pleased to be part of the team that runs this yearly gathering.

This year, the event is scheduled for September. I wish I had a crystal ball to tell me what the world will look like in September. Will we be able to travel? If we are able to travel, will people want to travel? What will the economy be doing? Will people want to attend an in-person event? A virtual event?

Typically, events have long lead times. Around this time of year, we would be busy booking keynote speakers, negotiating AV contracts, thinking about the theme for our closing party, and ironing out dozens of other details that go into creating a memorable event.

This year, we don't know what to plan for. Should we keep planning for an in-person event? Should we go with an all-virtual event? What about our commitments and contracts for an in-person event? We circled around and around the uncertainties (unknowns, after all, cannot by their very nature, be known...), and a clear direction didn't emerge.

Until we visualized the work.

Such a basic Agile concept. Visualize the work in order to see everything at once. Visualize the work so you can see the intersections and dependencies. Visualize the work so you can prioritize. There is real power in seeing everything all at once.

Our head of events knew this at some level, as she brought the team together to start thinking through the work involved in each of the above scenarios. In addition to visualizing the work, we visualized the risks - also very powerful.

While I am not yet at liberty to share the outcome, visualizing the work led to a clear outcome and alignment around the outcome. If you haven't already tried it, give it a whirl sometime. While there are a lot of ways to make work visible, in this instance, we used

Google Jamboard ( - a basic post-it on whiteboard type tool.

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