DMS 2.0 – Process Flow

Visual Verses Visible

The first step is for data to be made “Visual.” I use the word “visual” with intention as opposed to being visible. Being “visible” just means that the information can be seen. When data is “visual” it has meaning. It can be understood quickly and easily. Interpreting the data is not ambiguous because it is designed to display in a binary format – “Did we hit the target as planned?”

A way to tell if your data in your visual management system is just visible or qualifies as visual is to review it on a regular cadence such as a Gemba walk. If you see that the chart or graph is not updated regularly or if few people who use the board know when and what to do if a trigger condition happens you have a visible display, i.e. fancy wallpaper.

Visual Management as Process

Visual Management – like the other three elements is a process

  1. Step one is to use “meaningful data” that accurately reflects the current state of our performance and makes it quick and easy to see and understand the “Actual” verses “Planned” or “Target” state.
  2. Since we are focusing on “process” and not “people,” our gaps fall into either of two categories:
    • Performance Gap – Was the process followed? Was standard work or Leader Standard Work completed as designed?
    • Process Gap – Standard Work / Leader Standard Work is designed to produce expected results. If Standard Work is performed as designed and a gap exists, that reveals that the process is not capable as designed so we need to correct or improve the process (the way we do the work).
  3. Step three is to take the appropriate action
    • For performance gaps – coaching or accountability systems are used to improve adherence to standard work.
    • Process gaps result in either improvement (Kaizen) or problem-solving to make the process capable of meeting the target condition.


Your data displayed is either visible or visual. If it triggers actions based on gap identification resulting in an improved process then it is visual.

If the data is displayed and your business is “business as usual” then your data is visible.

Both may look good. Only one will work to drive the improvements you are hoping to make with your visual management system.

I would love you hear your thoughts on this. Leave a comment or send an email.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s