Thursday, July 3, 2014

Think Visually When Building an Agile Enterprise Change Plan

A picture is definitely worth 1000 words when trying to articulate the true north for an organization undergoing massive change. 

Here are some examples of how someone with even a modicum of artistic skills (i.e. me) to use visual thinking to increase the chance that people in the organization will notice, and even provide feedback on your change plan.

Here is an atypical, if somewhat generic example of an agile transformation plan using a simpler canvas format, you can see a lot of visual metaphors used to represent the different parts of the canvas. 

A Transformation Canvas laid out to support a linear narrative
The format of this canvas is quite different than the ones I have previously shown on my blog and my book. The sections follow a simpler, more straightforward path daily typically seen a lot of canvases including ones that I previously designed.

I like this canvas format as it allows somebody new to the canvas to look at the content in a linear narrative by simply following the canvas horizontally or vertically. I've tried to organize the canvas the following almost Connextra style storytelling approach, For each column of the canvas could be followed according to the following format:
where each column of the canvas could be followed according to the following format:

We want to achieve <vision>

through <target options>  

which will produce <benefits>

that are validated through <success criteria>

and enabled through <change personas>

who are motivated to change because of <urgency>

which will inspire <action>

Here's another example of a transformation canvas template that I've also been experimenting with, in this case the format is less linear, and elements are grouped together according to how closely related they are to each other.

Including specific instructions and samples for each section

In this template, I've tried to provide some guidance around how to fill each section, so that change agents and change participants alike can use structured language to distill the really important points of each section. I've also used some visual narratives to show examples for each section.

Below is an example using this template.

Taking visual thinking to its extreme, I decided to place an immense, wall sized visualization of a transformation canvas in the most public place I could find in my client's organization (no I didn't ask for permission first). This caused people to actually stop, and take a look at what was being planned for the organization, Given the several thousand people impacted, wanted to explore all options when it came to socializing the transformation model.

Graffiti-ing up our client's wall with a transformation canvas

It certainly was a lot of fun (and a lot of work!) creating visualizations for each canvas element. Drop me a line if you want any of these templates, I'm happy to share.


  1. Hello Jeff Anderson, Was amazed to see your visual metaphors and i have a keen interest in Lean and try to add values to the things i do and i would be happy if you could share the templtes to this mail id Thanks in advance. Keep going the good work :)

  2. Hi Jeff,Thank you for a great post. I came across this in my search for ways of visualising the transformation steps, drivers and organisational benefits to Lean and Agile working practices. Your Transformation Canvas in the top of this post tells the story in a brilliant way and I'd much appreciate if you'd share your template with me! You can reach me at jesperlai (at) Many Thanks - Jesper

  3. Jeff - I came across this post while looking for unique ways to communicate the benefits and challenges of our pending organizational change around Agile adoption. I'd appreciate you sharing the templates with me, and any other creative ideas you think I should consider. You can reach me through my personal email brennaz4 (at) Thanks in advance! Brenna

  4. Hi Jeff, It is disruptive and conveys the message when you leave the audience with it. It is like somebody seeing a painting and interpreting things that hidden behind it too. Great work. could you please share the template with me agile4future(at)

  5. Jeff - Would love a copy of these as the approach is just what I have been looking for. Would love a copy of the templates if you will share them with me. You can get me at toddceby (at) gmail dot com.