Dave Draws Out The Strategy:
Dave was working as a business analyst in the public sector in the UK, when he realized that something was missing. He was running lots of workshops, using all his business analysis tools and techniques, but still things weren’t quite right. It seemed as if writing down words didn’t really fit with what people needed.
Dave noticed that Penny Pullan was running a workshop on graphics. He’d already heard her speak about business analysis and projects, and wondered whether graphics might be the missing link for his business analysis work. He booked the course, paying for it out of his own pocket, as he was so keen to go.
“On the day of the workshop, I found the confidence to draw business graphics!” says Dave. “I’m not an artist and that’s fine! Penny unlocked it for me – it’s not about trying to be artistic but to convey and map a business message. It’s about getting to the essence of what you want to represent. An example would be drawing a simple bag with a £ sign on it to represent money, rather than a perfect representation of individual notes and coins. It was helpful to know how much to do – what to leave out and what to put in, and how to use colour. The workshop was really good for me and pulled a lot of things together – it complimented what I’d done before and brought together my BA tools and techniques, the Soft Systems Methodology from my Masters in Project Management and the mind-mapping I’d learnt from Tony Buzan.”
At the end of the workshop, Dave combined all the skills he had learnt on the day to create a huge poster, laying out a mobile devices strategy for his organization. It distilled everything into one sheet of paper, making the end-to-end process really clear.
Dave rolled up his poster and returned to work with it. His colleagues were keen to see it and talk about it. Dave used the techniques soon after the workshop. He even included his poster in a strategic business case, which ended up becoming the strategy for the organization in the area of mobile devices!
What does he say now?
“The graphics techniques help me to pull together lots of thinking into a whole picture, giving clarity of thought for me and others. They help us to see end-to-end.” He’s used them in a range of areas, both as a business analyst and, more recently, as a project manager.
Dave moved back into project management to deliver the mobile device strategy that he had thought through and drawn up in the graphics workshop. The project rollout was coming to an end as we spoke. “I’ve followed this project from strategy and inception, right through to rollout”, he told me.
Recently Dave included his poster from the graphics workshop in a training course. His director, reviewing the materials, said: “Wow, that’s amazing! Who did that graphic for you? That’s really cool!” Dave was able to reply: “I did!”