Kiviatt Charts

A Kiviatt Chart (source unknown) uses a circle to portray multidimensional data. Each dimension is represented by a line segment radiating from the center of the circle and extending out to the outer edge of the circle. The line segments are equally distributed around the circle. Every line segment has the same scale. Low values are at the center of the circle and high values at the outer edge of the circle. I have used Kiviatt Charts to represent as many as 20 dimensions and have not sacrificed the intuitive properties of this charting process. Kiviatt Charts have been in use for a number of years in a variety of applications. Several examples follow.

Figure 3.1 is an example that shows thinking style data produced by the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) [1]. There are four dimensions: analyze, organize, personalize, and strategize. The analyze thinking style is characteristic of an individual who thinks logically, who is analytic, who is generally a technical person, often mathematical, and one who likes to solve problems. The organize thinking style is characteristic of an individual who tends to be administratively focused; they are often conservative and like to follow process and procedure; these individuals lead a controlled work life and like planning and related tasks. The personalize thinking style is characteristic of an individual who is very "touchy-feely." They are interpersonal, emotional, and

Hbdi Scale

very social, and often they are spiritual and musically inclined. The strategize thinking style is characteristic of an individual who is a conceptualizer, who is imaginative, and one who is particularly good at synthesizing a situation. Each dimension is measured on a scale that ranges from 0 to 133. The data points are determined from a 180-question survey that the individual completes. The responses are analyzed and filtered through an algorithm and four scores are produced. In the example the four scores are 114, 84, 55, and 42, respectively. A closed quadrilateral, called a kite, is formed from the four scores, as shown in Figure 3.1. High scores indicate a preference for that style of thinking. Low scores indicate an avoidance of that thinking style. The example is of an individual who is primarily a left-brain person as indicated by the high scores on the A and B quadrants. The kite can be symmetric, representing those individuals who equally prefer and use all four thinking styles. The kite can be very asymmetric, representing those individuals who have a strong preference for three, two, or one thinking style. A strong preference for a single thinking style and an avoidance of the other three produces the most asymmetric kite.

Figure 3.2 is another example of the Kiviatt Chart. Here the figure displays the skill profile of a project team on five skill groupings: project management, management, business, interpersonal, and personal. Each skill grouping consists of an aggregate score based on a number of individual skill proficiencies.

Project management

Personal

Project management

Personal

Management

Interpersonal

Business

Interpersonal

Management

Business

Legend: Projects

Type I projects Type II and III projects Type IV

Figure 3.2 Use of the Kiviatt Chart to display a skills profile

The bar represents the range of proficiencies of the team. Superimposed on the Kiviatt Chart are the ranges of skill levels that should be present in a team for a specific type of project. For this example there are four types of projects that range in complexity from critical mission (type I) to simple (type IV). This particular team does not display a skill profile sufficient for type I projects.

Figure 3.2 displays only the range of skill proficiencies. Some prefer to see actual values. Figure 3.3 displays the skill proficiencies of each team member on each of the five skill groups superimposed on one Kiviatt Chart. Knowing the distribution of skill proficiencies within the range does convey more information than the range alone but it is a more complex graphic. I guess you get what you pay for. For even more detail, the skills in a specific skill group could be displayed individually in the Kiviatt Chart format.

Figure 3.4 shows a Kiviatt Chart for nine dimensions. You can see that the figure is still quite intuitive and not at all cluttered even for this many variables. The data here represents the affinity of a project team for each of the nine roles that Belbin's [2] research shows is essential for every team to be effective.

Following are brief definitions of each of the nine roles.

• Plant: Someone who is expected to bring creative and new ideas to the team. They often will be instrumental in helping the team solve problems.

• Resource investigator: These individuals are good at reaching out for resources and linking the team to external ideas that may be useful.

Project management

Personal

Management

Interpersonal

Business

Project management

Personal

Management

Interpersonal

Business

Legend: Type I projects Type II and III projects Type IV Project i i ^M

Figure 3.3 Use of the Kiviatt Chart to display several individual skill profiles.

• Coordinator: These are the leaders of the team. They take advantage of team strengths and avoid weaknesses and generally make sure that the project plan moves ahead smoothly.

• Shaper: These are the planners. They set objectives and establish priorities.

Plant

Specialist

Completer finisher

Implementer

Plant

Specialist

Completer finisher

Implementer

Resource investigator

Coordinator

Shaper

Teamworker

Figure 3.4 Use of the Kiviatt Chart to display Belbin'steam role data.

Resource investigator

Coordinator

Teamworker

Shaper

Monitor evaluator

Figure 3.4 Use of the Kiviatt Chart to display Belbin'steam role data.

• Monitor evaluator: These are the analytical members of the team. They study the team's problems and evaluate alternative solutions. They are a good balancing factor on the team when it comes to decision-making.

• Teamworker: These team members have a talent for bringing the team members together into a functioning unit.

• Implemented These team members have a talent for turning the plan into action. They make things happen.

• Completer/finisher: These are the detail members of the team. They make sure that things happen as they are supposed to happen.

• specialist: These are the subject matter experts on the team. They are expected to contribute their expertise and that is all.

Higher values are plotted towards the outer edges of the circles. This team has an observed weakness in plant, resource investigator, and coordinator roles. For a discussion of these roles see Belbin [2].

The Kiviatt Chart can also be used to compare two sets of data along the same dimensions. For example, the team's HBDI profile from Figure 3.1 can be superimposed on the project's HBDI profile, producing Figure 3.5. This use of the Kiviatt Chart is unique and provides a powerful tool for the project

Figure 3.5 Use of the Kiviatt Chart to compare the team and project HBDI profiles.

manager. It shows the degree of alignment between the project and the team using the HBDI as the metric on which that comparison is made. In this example the team has a preference for left-brain thinking. The project, on the other hand, displays more of a balance among all four thinking styles. In this case there is a distinct gap in the personalize and strategize quadrants. The project manager is aware of this misalignment and can put the appropriate corrective measures in place. The interested reader can consult Wysocki [3] for more detail on how to analyze this type of data.

As you can see, the Kiviatt Chart is quite adaptable to a number of situations. We will have many occasions to use it as we examine maturity level data for the 39 project management processes. It will be used for decision making at the process level and at the knowledge area level.

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