Visuals Matter!

Visuals Matter!

Designing And Using Effective Visual Representations To Support Project And Portfolio Decisions

Book - 2015
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This book is the result of a two-year research project, funded by Project Management Institute and University College London to explore how visuals can be used and designed in the project, program and portfolio contexts and with what effects. Visuals are integral to how we manage projects; consider e.g. Gantt charts, stakeholder maps, traffic lights, bubble charts, PowerPoint slides. Visuals are an opportunity to think sharper, quicker and clearer. Yet, they also constitute a threat, can bias decisions and encourage detrimental behaviors. Project managers and researchers alike have paid little attention to visuals and how they can be used mindfully. The intent of this book is to increase the awareness of project practitioners and scholars about the importance of visuals and to provide guidance on how they can be used and designed. The research underpinning the book is focused on the impact of visuals on cognition and communication in project portfolio decisions. Our empirical research delves further into the role of visuals in cognition. Cognition is critical in this context. The complexity of portfolio problems quickly exceed human cognitive limitations as a result of: a large number of possible combinations of projects in a portfolio, project interdependencies, a high degree of uncertainty (as future outcomes are unknown and goals and constraints change over time) and the need to balance different and changing objectives of multiple stakeholders. The irrationality in the behavior of decision makers constitutes an additional challenge, an aspect that is widely studied in decision theory and mostly neglected by the current project management literature. When making decisions, executives are both rational and intuitive. While intuition is important, we contend that the analysis and use of data is pivotal to address the complexity of portfolios and make effective decisions. Visuals can help, as they are a powerful cognition aid. Therefore, this research contributes to a better understanding of the use and design of visuals, and how they can support cognition in portfolio decisions. Specifically, our goal was to better understand, what role visuals can play in portfolio decisions, and how the use and design of visuals can influence cognition in portfolio decisions, and ultimately to help project and portfolio management practitioners enhance their visual literacy.
Publisher: ©2015
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania :, Project Management Institute, Inc.,, [2015]
ISBN: 9781628250787
162825078X
Branch Call Number: 658.452
Characteristics: xi, 143 pages :,illustrations (chiefly color) ;,28 cm
Additional Contributors: Arlt, Mario

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