by Samuel Scott
Published on 9 March 2016
Project management tools have become essential in the data-driven, highly-competitive, and fast-paced world of business. But now the methodology of these tools is being reinvented with a complete focus on visual representations of data.
Visual management tools are heralded as the future in their app category, but what really makes these solutions better than the rest and do they stand up to the acclaim?
Visual representations of data are not a new concept; for years, almost all SaaS business solutions have used graphs and reports to help businesses easily see data. Their goal was to make the most mundane tasks and data more stimulating. However these pre-defined graphs often lack interaction and flexibility.
Visual management solutions help to solve this problems by using agile project management approaches such as Scrum and Kanban to completely visualize your business environment. This can improve collaboration by allowing teams to adapt and get better visibility into the work being done.
Alena Kuzniatsova, marketing director of Targetprocess, a visual tool for agile project management, says: "Applying a visual approach helps businesses to find focus amid all the modern complexity and visualize the working process in order to understand what is going on and what can be improved".
Visual solutions such as Targetprocess give you the freedom to work in a way your industry and your business demands, instead of offering a pre-defined set of workflows to follow. "You can easily customize the tools to follow your unique workflow, which helps you see priorities, loops, bottlenecks, dependencies that are specific for your organization," explains Kuzniatsova. "You can then spot problems instantly and react accordingly, rather than finding them once the problem magnifies."
This flexibility allows you to extract any data about your company's projects and processes in order to see and realize trends and issues. Visual tools also do a better job in improving collaboration, by providing greater visibility across different processes and departments.
"As a result of this visibility into the work being done and the transparency across teams and projects, companies can focus on what is important to them and make smarter decisions, which is invaluable," says Kuzniatsova.
Simon Hurley, development manager at marketing company Elateral, explains how implementing Targetprocess's visual management tool has helped his company realize these benefits: "At my current company we have many international clients with big budgets, along with our own large development team. This software is critical in ensuring everyone is working on the priority items, which change on an hourly basis. We appreciate more and more how valuable this tool is to our development department."
Visual management tools are incredibly helpful for modern businesses, with benefits ranging from the ability to locate commonly unnoticed information, to the greater satisfaction that results from the easier to understand and seemingly fun visual representations of data.
Nevertheless, this model of application is still a relatively new and undeveloped choice for SaaS customers. As a result, many still see the software as a novelty or as a medium which achieves the same outcome as traditional project management tools with just a little added creativity.
"Visual management is an extremely young discipline," says Kuzniatsova. " Basically, it is an attempt to merge information visualization and project management domains. While both domains are quite developed, its integration is a novelty and demands extensive research."
Despite this factor, visual management tools have helped to redefine the project management landscape offering an advanced and engaging resource to help businesses and their employees track their everyday tasks. By enabling greater visibility through detailed and highly customizable workflow setups, these solutions allow businesses to work how they like, as well as providing a complete and accessible way to track progress and identify problems.
These tools allow you to better spot trends, behavior patterns and dependencies, get answers faster, set better priorities, make smarter decisions, and grow more successful business, to enable true collaboration. However, they can't work in isolation in your business, which is something Targetprocess has identified as a trend for the future.
"In the next few years we can expect a closer integration of project management tools with business intelligence tools and much more powerful and holistic approaches to project management," explains Kuzniatsova.
This post was brought to you in conjunction with the visual management solution provider Targetprocess