The Power of Seeing Things Clearly: How Visual Planning Helps You Achieve Goals

The Power of Seeing Things Clearly: How Visual Planning Helps You Achieve Goals

People use multiple methods to organize and plan: to-do lists, post-it reminders, emails, printed calendars, spreadsheets, organizers, and whatnot. However, most of these planning techniques are text and documentation based. One could even say they are “more traditional methods.”

Visual planning, a new trend and tool in the project planning space, offers unique benefits over traditional text methods. It taps into a person’s visual aesthetics, bringing plans to life and enhancing strategy settings.

This article breaks down visual planning, explores its power, and equips you with the tools and techniques that will make you a pro.

What is Visual Planning?

Visual planning is a new approach to strategizing and planning for projects using the visual medium. It's a simple and intuitive method that relies on charts, graphics, and other visual aids to plan, manage, and track projects. This technique also makes it easier for project managers to demonstrate how multiple project parts align and how specific tasks are interdependent.

4 Types of Visual Planning Tools

4 Types of Visual Planning Tools

To understand visual management completely, it’s most important to understand the various tools it encompasses. The key components of visual planning are:

Visual Boards:

Visual boards, like Kanban and SCRUM boards, offer a practical overview of the project workflow, assigned tasks, and progress. Kanban boards typically feature three columns: “to-do,” “in progress,” and “completed.” These columns are then filled with virtual or physical sticky notes containing task details. A project manager can quickly understand the project status by observing the column the task is in.

Gantt Charts:

A Gantt chart is a type of horizontal bar chart that displays the progress of ongoing, forecasted, and completed projects. Typically, Gantt charts are used with a timeline or calendar, which helps visualize start dates, milestones, and deadlines. Some Gantt chart softwares, like eRS, also provides information about the resources involved in projects. This way, a project leader is on top of who's working on what.

Gantt charts are an effective way to understand the dependencies and project milestones. They are the perfect tool to use when you are faced with the following scenarios:

  • When projects have rigid deadlines

  • Tasks have to be completed in a particular order

  • You have rough estimates of how long each task can take

Mind Maps:

Mind maps are often known as whiteboards or storyboard tools. Mind maps show a graphical representation of the central idea or project and then all the interconnectivities. This technique uses branching lines, colors, and images to show relationships between ideas. They are an excellent way to brainstorm and collaborate early on in a project without losing sight of the intricate project details.

Mind maps should be your go-to visual thinking method for:

  • Conducting productive brainstorming sessions

  • Organizing ideas

  • Breaking down a complex project into smaller sub-components

  • Improving team collaboration during the project planning phase


Timelines are easy to describe. They are a linear representation of the project schedule, showing the order and duration of tasks.

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Power of Visual Planning: 6 Benefits

So, what is the reason behind the surge in visual planning? Why are more organizations adopting this planning and project management method over text-based, documentation-oriented processes? Let’s discuss the advantages of using the power of visual planning.

1. Easy to understand

Visual planning provides transparency and accountability for all stakeholders in an easy-to-understand manner. Managers can stop juggling through data and pages of numbers to understand what is going on with a project. They simply have to look at the chart or graph and get a real-time update on project status. Likewise, employees can see the chart and know how their work is interrelated with the rest. It’s a time-saving process that allows stakeholders to focus on more meaningful and productive tasks.

2. Highlights bottlenecks and issues quickly

A visual planning technique lays out all the steps involved in a project, therefore showing where there is any overlap or backlog. By being able to see all the steps, project managers can also identify where resources are being used and whether the resources have the skill set to complete the task. For instance, if a testing task by employee X continues to be under the “in process” column of a Kanban board for ten days, the manager can step in and see what’s going on.

3. Improves communication and collaboration

Visual plans aren’t just great for individuals; they are ideal for team discussions and collaboration. As everyone can see the big picture, they can quickly work towards the identification of potential issues together. This collaborative approach also leads to quicker resolution of problems. More minds at work = faster problem-solving.

Visual planners also allow team members to work together in real time, regardless of their location. This again enhances collaboration. It is also easier to convey ideas, plans, and progress through visual tools over email and text-based documents. Not everyone has the time or enjoys reading through pages of “project status” reports.

4. Provides insights into tasks and resources

With a visual workflow, one can understand resource capacity at a glance. For example, in a Kanban board you can see if a resource has too many tasks under their “to-do” column. This situation could lead to a higher error rate in their work and burnout. Visual tools also allow you to monitor progress over time. You can see the average time it takes to complete a task. This metric can help you understand resource utilization and areas where training or process streamlining is required.

5. Comfortable to use

The majority of the population are visual learners. So, visual planning tools play to their learning style, making them the perfect match. Visual learners are better at absorbing and retaining information through graphics. Mind maps, flowcharts, and whiteboards allow them to easily see connections, sequences, and hierarchies between ideas and tasks. They are more comfortable working with visual techniques over text-based planning methods. For example, in a Gantt chart, the bar color will change when a task is completed. There is also a color-coded visual progress bar that highlights the overall project progress.

Let’s not forget that the colors, images, and shapes can keep an employee engaged in project planning and tracking. Why? Visual learners are attracted to the features mentioned above as it gives them a better understanding of their role within the larger picture. The more clarity one has in the project, the more engaged they will be.

6. Customizable and Scalable

Another benefit of visual planning tools is that they offer a lot of flexibility for an organization. Kanban and Gantt charts are moderately easy to customize and scale. Here’s another example: a company can define workflow stages in a Kanban board, add custom fields to cards (tasks), and even decide the color code to represent different priorities or statuses. Many Kanban tools also allow the addition of images and attachments to cards.

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The Final Word

Visual planning techniques are a powerful device to have in the “toolkit” of any project manager. They leverage the strengths of visual aids, colors, and graphics to enhance communication, streamline workflows, and empower teams to achieve better outcomes. The reinforcement of critical project information with images and icons makes it an effective technique.

Whether you're a seasoned project leader or just starting out, consider incorporating visual planning methods into your project management repertoire. Are you not sure which project and resource management provides access to visual planning tools? We’ve got you! Check out eRS.

eRS is an enterprise resource planning and allocation software that utilizes the power of visual planning. Gantt charts, visual workflows, and capacity overload meters; eRS boosts multiple visual planning techniques. It actually makes visual planning a breeze. With eRS, you can visualize project task sequences, identify resources for each task, avoid overallocation, understand task duration, and even identify bottlenecks.

So, are you ready to embrace the visual and see significant improvement in your success? Start your free eRS trial today.

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Marketing Consultant
Nikita Sharma
Nikita Sharma, an impassioned Marketing Consultant at eResource Scheduler, has been shaping the digital marketing landscape since January 2021. With a rich background in web development and digital marketing strategy, she's a beacon of innovation in the field. Nikita has achieved remarkable milestones, including reaching over 1 million social media users for the Jaipur International Film Festival and 3 million-plus SERP impressions for Enbraun Technologies. Her tenure at Nexa as a Digital Marketing Strategist in Dubai, certified by Google and Hubspot, underscores her profound expertise. Nikita's educational journey in Computer Science from Rajasthan Technical University and advanced programming courses have been pivotal in her career. She exemplifies dedication, creativity, and a deep understanding of digital trends, making significant impacts across diverse industries.

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