When products are becoming more complex and their life – cycles become shorter it sets higher demands on product development within companies. Also, it is becoming more common for companies to have multi-site projects where team members are divided between different geographical locations. A method for planning and synchronising projects is Visual Planning, from Lean Product Development, which have strong benefits in its simple design. Normally the only resources demanded is sticky notes, some pens and a wall to place the notes on, but when including several sites in projects and demand that they all should work as one team the physical solution with sticky notes cannot achieve desired results.
The purpose of t his study was to address how Visual Planning can help a multi- site team within product development to succeed, and has strived for finding every day, practical solutions. The research within the area is limited, especially on how to achieve the benefits of Visual Planning. The study has therefore included interviews, and in several of the cases observations, from ten companies and with an expert of Visual Planning to gain a practical approach on how Visual Planning can help a team to succeed. One of the com panies included has been the case company, Emerson Process Management, which is a global company that has used Visual Planning for about a year. The use of a case company
gave the opportunity to interview and observe teams within product development over time, and to verify information gained from the field of research and the reference companies through performing tests.
The study has shown that Visual Planning can help a multi-site team to succeed, and also includes new findings on how it can be accomplis hed. Visual Planning fills its purpose well for teams that need coordination and/or collaboration, and Visual Planning enables a structured way of visualisation and communication. The main difference between a multi-site team and a single site team is that nothing is gained for free, such as small chats by the coffee machine, so the structure of Visual Planning is a way to ensure that necessary communication between sites occur . Also, for receiving the benefits of visualising information in multi-site teams, the whole team need to be able to see and interact with it and therefore a digital tool is recommended instead of sticky notes.
In this study the digital tool Yolean has been chosen which was developed to support the methodology of Visual Planning.
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