The Importance of Visibility

At one of my former employers, they were implementing a huge engineering project (estimated costs in the billions) and brought me in to lead the IT project oversight for the adoption of software to support the Reliability and Maintenance (R&M) of specialized oil tankers once placed into commission.​

At the onset, the overall R&M Project Manager believed this extra level IT oversight wasn’t necessary.  He said his team of SME’s (Subject Matter Experts) could handle the entire adoption and quality validation of the third party software.  Fortunately, I had the Global Head of IT supporting my position, so my position stayed in place.

Using Kanban based techniques, I was able to make the software testing process visible to the R&M Project Manager and his team.  When first receiving the software, my team of QA specialists quickly discovered and exposed hundreds of product issues that the R&M Project Manager and his team of non-technical experts missed.  These weren’t just small usability issues, but complete show stoppers where the software would block any further progress of a specific workflow or even crash.

After going through an intense resetting of expectations and through continued daily visualization of issues and related tasks with the vendor team, we were able to build out a realistic schedule and deliver to it with a high quality solution, now placed in practice.

The key here is to quickly expose and visualize your work in a manner that everyone can see.  This can lead to agreement rapidly to further expand in delivery.

Published by Agile Mike

“Agile Mike” has over 25 years of experience with software development and product leadership. He is published under the “Built for Success” column in magazine and held the position of Vice President in the Agile Leadership Network. Michael has taught multiple SAFe courses for over the past three years to over 400 people and is currently an Enterprise Agile Coach at Lean Agile Enterprises and a certified SAFe SPC5, AWS Cloud Architect, Scrum CSP, and PMP.

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