Visual Management – Part 2 – Faces

In our last blog post regarding the good old task board, we covered the basic premise of Visual Management:

“Use visual control so no problems are hidden”

We covered visualising workflow and the work items through that flow – such that the whole team can see and literally touch what’s going on every day.

In this second in the series, we’re covering a simple addition to the good old task board: identifying who is doing what.

We call it Faces…


(Creative commons:

Place the Face of who is working on a particular work item, on that work item, onto the task board:


If we look at the board analytically, it’s easy to see:

  • Who’s working on what
  • Who to go and speak to about a particular work item
  • How many people are working on a particular item
  • If anyone is not working on anything (their face will not be on a work item) you can see what they’re up to, or whether they are available to help out on something else

Faces work if you encourage the individual to be responsible for their own face: “You are responsible for your own Face”. That way, team members start to engage with the task board – by actually using the board people can start to understand the concept the board encapsulates: priority, workflow, work in progress limits, rules…

Eventually people get used to completing a work items and looking for the next thing to do. They take responsibility in finding what they should be doing next. They’ll walk up to the board and find the next highest priority bit of work to take on, take it on, and stick their face on it. It’s one of our founding tactics in reinforcing self-organisation. Being responsible for your own Face, and ultimately being responsible for helping to get the highest priority work done.

We’ve done a lot of work in the games industry. We’ve had a lot of fun with Faces over time:


We’ve worked with some talented artists so end up with some pretty amazing Faces too:


How you represent faces is up to you. Photos are fine, but why not have some fun? Why not try a South Park avatar editor yourself?

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