How visualization helps improving quality

“There are none so blind than those who refuse to see.”

In my experience most people seem to have problems showing their weaknesses and shortcomings. Even more so when someone is looking over their shoulders.  Is it too embarrassing to be caught making mistakes?  It doesn’t make any sense, I believe this attitude is a major hindrance for self improvement.

“The first step in dealing with any problem is to see that indeed there is a problem.”

Acknowledging that there is something wrong is the right path to finding a solution. SONY DSCIn order to get a better look at the situation imagine yourself as a bird. Fly off then! Flap your wings and get a birds eye view on the situation… Get a little bit closer to study the problem in detail. Find the best angle to approach.

Do you know your eyes are extremely powerful to analyze complex problems? More precisely, it’s power comes from the visual cortex of your brain. It allows you to evaluate visual information in a “glimpse of a second”. Yes, I mean literally (300 millisecond to be exact – more info here). DARPA uses the power of the human brain to analyze satellite images for presence of anomalies (enemy installations). Do you know the human brain can successfully analyze several pictures per second? So that’s why visualizing works is so much better… “A pictures says more that a thousand words”.

Improve the quality of analysis by involving others

Humans have learned to collaborate in solving problems, it’s one of our greatest assets in survival. We have learned to adapt and cope with evolutionary challenges together. Why? Looking a challenge with different eyes helps to see things from another perspective and it also helps your to see things you don’t see at all. “Two heads are better than one remember?” Each individual has their own personality and values. These values may contribute to collaboration in unique ways. Some like to help out, others may prefer working out solutions in detail and there are those who love to organize. Another major contribution to collaboration comes from the different experiences and roles people have. A developer may value technical excellence more than others, a tester may be highly aware about the quality risks imposed by choosing a complex implementation and managers may be concerned about the impact on the time-frame and so on.

If you can’t draw the problem you don’t understand it well enough

Collaborating while visualizing the problem can be a very powerful way to evaluate everyone understands it clearly. In addition it will help to ensure we use the experience and values of everyone involved to realize the best possible solution.

To close this post I’ll give you some confidence in starting to draw: A 2 minute wrapup of Sunni Brown’s excellent Doodle revolution

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One thought on “How visualization helps improving quality

  1. impossiblebebong November 12, 2014 / 1:11 pm

    This is a very insightful and powerful post. I wish people would pay more attention to this kind of articles.

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