Part C: Visual archetypes for project management
The following chapters provide 12 visual archetypes which can help you influence stakeholders. Consider the archetypes as frameworks for representing particular types of data. To leverage both the visuospatial sketchpad and phonological loop, when sharing one of the archetypes with your stakeholders for the first time you should accompany it with some form of verbal explanation.
Each archetype comes with two examples and then a table outlining the purpose of the archetype and how to tailor the archetype for the content you need to share. Following the table, the archetype examples are provided again with interactive annotations to illustrate the key design choices that have been made when creating the examples. The editable PowerPoint files for each example archetype are provided at the end of each chapter.
The decorative, title and heading elements have deliberately been left plain so you can adapt them to your organisation’s style guide or stakeholder preferences. You can change the colours, fonts and iconography to suit your story and your organisational and stakeholder preferences, but make sure the message you need to convey remains central. Also, as discussed in Chapter 6, ensure you include appropriate date or version details to support configuration management – normally in the header and footer.
This catalogue of archetypes is certainly not an exhaustive list of visuals used in project management practice. The discipline has diagrams with more specific purposes that have been subject to research and shown to support practice. For example, the Stakeholder Circle can be used to profile stakeholders, a burn down chart to track completion of user stories in agile environments, the visual project map to support project portfolio decision-making, and the project-space model to report and discuss project status (for more information on these visuals see the Recommended reading list below). As introduced in Chapter 4 some organisations will also be using information systems, such as Power BI or Jira that provide reporting capabilities particularly well-suited to quantitative data. The archetypes in the following chapters were selected because they’re diverse in the potential content they can communicate and include ideas for presenting more qualitative information that tends to be communicated in text-based formats. They’re designed to empower you to develop your own visual practice.
- Archetype 1: Comparison between options
- Archetype 2: Comparison over time
- Archetype 3: Variable-based comparison
- Archetype 4: Sequence – timeline of activities
- Archetype 5: Sequence – process timeline
- Archetype 6: Reasons and drivers
- Archetype 7: Anticipated outcomes or benefits
- Archetype 8: Related items
- Archetype 9: Hierarchy of items
- Archetype 10: Comparison of relative values
- Archetype 11: Pictorial – contributions of parts and outcomes
- Archetype 12: Progress tracking
You can preview the archetypes by sliding through the images below.
- Mosaic Project Services. (2006). Stakeholder Circle tools. Mosaic Projects. https://mosaicprojects.com.au/shop-SHC-tools.php
Visual project map
- Killen, C. (2022). Visualising data for project portfolio decision making. In K. Angliss & P. Harpum (Eds.), Strategic Portfolio Management. Routledge.
- Killen, C. P., & Kjaer, C. (2012). Understanding project interdependencies: Exploring the role of visual representation, culture and process. International Journal of Project Management, 30(5), 554-566. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2012.01.018
- van der Hoorn, B. (2016a). Discussing project status with the project-space model: An action research study. International Journal of Project Management, 34(8), 1638-1657. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2016.09.001