Chart your Project with a Project Landscape Map

Friday, May 1, 2015 | Likes: 0 | Comments: 0

Mark Paauwe

Sales Director

Dragon1 Inc

Chart your Project with a Project Landscape Map

Projects are still hard to manage

Every organization deals with projects. Often an approach like Prince2 and software like MS-Project are used to get a grip on projects. But this is not sufficient.

So, from my own experience doing project management I noticed that visualizations of the project itself were missing. I was surprised that in a steering group committee or project team there was not a supported or even common view of the project structure. Of course, you have auditors, but they often were not on time to signal what had to be repaired to the project structure. Also a lot of project managers, because of time and budget pressure, were not in a position to solve the project structure problem.

Why create a visualization of the Project itself?

With a visualization of the project itself you can measure, check, evaluate, and change the structure of the project. You can organize the correct environment for the project to excel. You can build the structure correctly. Make sure everything is in place. With an overview visualization of the project, it is much easier to communicate everything is in place than with the project plan in text only.

With an overview visualization of the structure of the project itself you can create a common view of the structure of the project and make it a supported one.

My suggestion is that the owner/client has to demand a steering group that they have an updated Project Landscape Map for every project and that they will report on it monthly. The project landscape maps have to be filed for permanent access and surviving organizational changes. And this way of working has to be made part of the quality system of the organization.

What to draw on a visualization of a Project?

Suppose the owner/client asks a steering group to report to him monthly with a visualization only of the progress of projects. Then the steering committee is puzzled about what to draw from it.

Dragon1 EA Method has a generic Project Landscape Map. It is an example of how you can create a landscape map of the project. You could even call this a project framework. In this general visualization, the most important project controls (points on which a project can be measured and improved) for the owner/client and steering group members of a project are shown.

Why these controls? These are the controls the Dragon1 EA Method addresses as important. There are often used controls by various project methods. So it is easy for you to adjust this Dragon1 Project Landscape Map to your situation so you have already a lot of known controls. You only have to adjust the controls you already use in your project management approach.

Also you can take a look at what auditors see when auditing a project. You can also add these controls to your visualization.

project landscape map

Visualization Project Landscape Map.

Why is that rectangle colored red?

This example of the project landscape map is still a neutral visualization. It only shows what should be in place for a certain type of project. But in this way, it does not show yet what's in place for a certain project at a certain moment in time. For that, we need to chart our project on this map.

In the following visualization it becomes clear what impact it has when colorizing the controls communicating their status or progress. With this reported information the owner/client can start asking the steering committee: “Why is that rectangle called 'budget' colored red and what impact does that have on that cube called 'integral solution'?And for us architects, that’s all we want to achieve with visualizations. Isn’t it? These visualizations are used for supporting decision-making.

decision making project landscape map

Decision-Making Visualization Project Landscape Map.

Dragon1 Checklist for IT Projects

In the Dragon1 EA Method all the important project controls that make part of the project structure are listed in a checklist that is available for download on the Dragon1 Platform. The checklists have been separated into short versions for the board / top management, project managers, and auditors.

Here is a link to the short checklist for IT projects (Board member version):

Here is a link to the detailed checklist for IT projects (Auditors version): 

There are also other visualizations, like a deliverable / work breakdown structure, recognized in Dragon1. I will post a blog on that one shortly.

I am very interested to find out about your experiences charting your project on a landscape map. Please post them for example, in the LinkedIn Dragon1 Usergroup | Visual Enterprise Method. So we can use your experience to improve the Dragon1 EA Method.