Visual Plan Communications for the Pharmaceutical Industry

If you lead a team of project managers or schedulers in the pharmaceutical industry, you know how critical effective plan communications can be. Delivering just the right amount of data to the right stakeholders at the right time is a winning recipe for hitting deadlines and building credibility for your PMO – especially when you’re responsible for the delivery of myriad projects across multiple clinical areas. Continue reading

New Guide – Why Data Driven Matters

OnePager is data-driven. Ever wonder why that matters? The answer to you may be obvious, but based on our conversations, it’s not something everyone has thought about.

To help, we’ve created a guide that discusses the importance of data-driven visuals in the realm of project management.  We hope you find it informative and useful.  Just click on the image below, or here, to read-on.


Color-Blindness & Plan Communications: Ensuring Graphic Accessibility

It’s no secret that the smart use of color in visual plan communications is a great way to engage your audience, distinguish important elements and evoke the proper reaction.

In Western cultures, for instance, “red” typically connotes “bad” or “risky.” It’s a great way to get the message across that a particular deliverable is in trouble without cluttering your chart with extra words.

But there’s a problem with only using color to deliver critical information in a project graphic. According to the National Eye Institute, as many as 8 percent of men and 0.5 percent of women with Northern European ancestry are color-blind. They have trouble distinguishing – or in some cases can’t distinguish at all – between red and green (more common) or blue and yellow (less common). Green means go and red means stop, but for those with red-green color-blindness, neither means much of anything.

NFL Color Rush & Color Blindness

How last year’s Bills (red) vs. Jets (green) “Color Rush” NFL game looked to color blind individuals. h/t The Sporting News

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Does Tufte Still Think Project Charts Are Mediocre?

Last week, we concluded a three-part series on Edward Tufte’s theory of graphical excellence. I enjoyed the series, but was provoked to read that Professor Tufte dislikes project charts (aka Gantt charts) because they have “regressed to Microsoft mediocrity.”  I cannot let his claim go unchallenged, and I wonder if he would change his opinion if he were to examine what I present below.  So, at some risk of beating a dead horse, here is what amounts to Part Four in the three-part series, but with my anti-mediocrity perspective. Continue reading

The Project Manager is an Expert in Business Intelligence

What if I told you that a Gantt Chart was a form of Business Intelligence (BI)?  Wait, hear me out.

Wikipedia tells me that BI is “the set of techniques and tools for the transformation of raw data into meaningful and useful information for business analysis purposes.”  Yep, sounds like a Gantt Chart to me.

master_aerospace_program_schedule Continue reading

Why the Legend is Doing You More Harm than Good

If you listen to renowned chartmaker and Yale professor Edward Tufte – and believe me, I usually don’t – then you would say that a good Gantt chart should not need a legend. Tufte says any chart’s colors and formatting should be so self-explanatory that a legend is not necessary. In fact, he would go on to say, it is clutter, or “chartjunk” as he calls it, that should be stripped off the screen entirely.

In this case, I think Tufte has a point, and I must disagree with my colleague Jay. In most cases, if we judge Gantt charts by how well they communicate project status, a legend is probably doing you – and your audience – more harm than good. Continue reading

Why Use Snapshots?

IF you are reading this blog post, you are probably a project manager.

IF you are a project manager, you are responsible for schedules – they’re your bread and butter.

IF you’re responsible for schedules, you talk about them with your project team, project sponsors, and clients.

Talking about schedules is hard. Continue reading

Speaking PowerPoint – Review Part 3

This article should be read as a continuation of the previous two posts in our series about the importance of data visualization in business communication – a broad area encompassing our concept of Gantt Art. Our last two posts covered important theoretical concepts in Speaking PowerPoint, by Bruce R. Gabrielle.

In part three of this series, we’ll cover some best practices in presentation design. We’ll also get into what we consider the most exciting and challenging area, which is information design. Continue reading

Speaking PowerPoint – Review Part 2

This article should be read as a continuation of the previous post in our series about the importance of data visualization in business communication – a broad area encompassing our concept of Gantt Art. Our last post absorbed what we considered to be the main and most valuable points of the first half of the 2010 guide: Speaking PowerPoint, by Bruce R. Gabrielle, along with our own thoughts or additional references where appropriate. We will complete this review in the next two posts.

In Part two of this series, we’ll explore the next sections of the book. The author has quite a bit more to provide by way of suggestions, ideas and examples relative to creating a great presentation overall. Continue reading