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Visual Control and Information Radiator in Agile methodology are used to improve communication, team collaboration, and transparency within Agile teams and organizations. While they share similarities, they have distinct differences. What are they?
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Visual control is a visual representation of work processes and tasks within an Agile team or Agile organization. The primary purpose of visual control is to provide a clear and real-time view of the work being done, making it easier to manage and optimize processes while also enabling to identify abnormalities in the process such as blockages, capacity issues, or dates at risk.
Visual control usually highlights the following types of information:
Information radiator is a display or chart that conveys project-related information to a broader audience, including team members, stakeholders, and even people outside the team. The primary purpose of information radiator is to promote transparency and keep everyone informed about project progress and important updates by making it easily accessible and visible to all viewers.
An Information radiator is a display put up where people working or passing by can view it. It provides viewers with relevant information without requiring them to create a query. Consequently, there will be more communication and fewer interruption. Information radiator usually consists of the task board, automated test counts, team velocity, incident reports, continuous integration status, work package status, and team progress.
Both visual control and information radiator are essential tools in Agile for enhancing transparency and communication, but they have several differences. The following are the differences between visual control and information radiator based on several aspects.
Visual control is primarily used to monitor and manage the workflow and process of a team or organization. It is more focused on process improvement and efficiency. Information radiator, on the other hand, is used to communicate information and status to a broader audience, often including stakeholders and even people outside the immediate team. It is more about sharing information and promoting transparency to a wider group of people.
Visual control is typically the team itself used by the team members to understand and optimize their work processes, while information radiator targets a broader audience, including stakeholders, managers, and anyone interested in the project's progress.
Visual control usually displays information related to work in progress focusing on tasks, their status, and the flow of work. On the other hand, information radiator displays a wide range of information, providing a broader view of the project's health and progress.
Visual control is often placed in the team's workspace or on the team's board, where team members can easily access and update them. Meanwhile, information radiator is typically placed in a central and visible location within the organization to ensure that it is easily accessible to a wider audience.
Frequency of Update
Visual control is updated frequently, often in real-time, by team members as work progresses and tasks are completed. Information radiator, on the other hand, is updated on a regular basis but not as frequent as visual control. It is updated to provide status updates, highlight achievements, or address important changes.
Visual control is usually presented by using Kanban boards, cumulative flow diagrams, burndown charts, task boards, and sprint boards, while information radiator is in the form of Dashboards, project status reports, burn-up charts, and big visible charts (BVCs).
To sum up, visual control is used by Agile teams to manage and visualize their own work processes and tasks, with a focus on workflow optimization. Information radiator, on the other hand, is designed to communicate project information to a wider audience, emphasizing transparency and keeping stakeholders informed about project status and relevant metrics. Both play crucial roles in Agile by fostering team collaboration and ensuring that everyone involved has access to the information they need.