Cool stuff: Different Work | Your Big Adventure | The Fish Pond
When the path of hurricanes is predicted, maps are used that show us the areas that might be hit. The further away in the future, the larger the potential area is. The weather forecasts get more uncertain if we go from one day, three day to weekly forecasts.
I love those hurricane maps. Not the hurricanes. The maps.
As I am a sucker for visualizations that include maps, I was really excited when the link between Hurricane maps and uncertainty was pointed out to me on the excellent Herding Cats blog.
For me the purpose of a Hurricane Map is to facilitate a discussion with people that are not necessarily into the Project Management profession and language as, well, PMs are. This adds to the notion of being on a Big Adventure, traveling through unknown territory, with a rag tag crew.
On a white board draw an arrow that indicates the path you plan to follow. On both sides from the this arrow, draw a line that start from the same point as the start of the arrow. This is your hurricane map. The further away you are in the future, the larger the gap between the outside lines.
Together with your workshop participants you add keywords from things that may influence the path of the project. Issues you are not sure about. The performance of a system, the acceptance of users. Try to place them as in a chronological order if possible.
This is an awareness exercise. Getting people into an “uncertainty” mindset.
For each of the issues named, you can talk about what “not being on the planned path” means. Discuss worst case and best case scenarios.
The Hurricane Map is part of a change/project management strategy focused on culture and using an “adventure travel” metaphor. For more maps and exercise, visit my list of Shrinkonian exercises.