Drawing in my opinion is a really underrated activity and I am genuinely surprised more people don’t use it as a means of communicating information. Back in my school days, I never really liked art, in fact I didn’t enjoy the subject at all, which was odd because if you’d put a pen and paper in front of me and asked me to design a logo or a flyer for any event or draw simple sketches I was all over it! I would spend days perfecting the design, colours, visuals, look and feel. It gave me such a buzz!
I eventually went on to study engineering at university and from there started to build and shape my career in software development. I now manage a software testing team and as much as I love what I do, there was always a voice in my head and ache in my heart for designing, drawing, using colours, visualising and creating pictures and images. Along the path of career discovery, I learnt about a little something called the agile methodology in particular the Scrum framework, I met some cool people called ScrumMasters, and they introduced me to a BEAUTIFUL tool called Graphic Facilitation.
What’s Graphic Facilitation?
Graphic (or visual) facilitation, is the process of translating ideas, thoughts and concepts into pictures and words, and is most commonly used when facilitating meetings, huddles, seminars or even just documenting an idea or process in the form of pictures. Research has shown that we remember visual images much easier and better than words and using imagery can make learning more fun and interesting. The better you are able to visualise something the better you will remember it at a future time.
Graphics and Managing? Really?
Absolutely! One of the things I’ve come to learn and understand as a QA Manager is that I can use tools such as drawing images to motivate people and run my meetings. At work I run ‘Think Tank’ sessions with my team, where the purpose is to share ideas, come up with actions points on how to improve processes or skills and learn from each other. Graphic facilitation is one of the best tools to use here! You allow yourself to think differently about how your teams take in and process information, and it gives a kick to the meeting…it become less boring!
Can I draw?
I can image your saying to yourself — ‘but I can’t draw’, well neither could I, but like anything you put your mind to, practice makes perfect. My learning journey started by reading blogs, watching youtube videos and learning about how others use such a tool to transform thoughts and ideas into art. I learnt how to draw basic shapes, and in my spare time I practiced drawing them over and over again, until it was mentally stuck in my head and now I can quite comfortably build a graphical representation of processes and ideas.
Why do I love it?
Simple! It’s given me an opportunity to make my meetings, fun, interesting, hopefully inspiring and different. I’ve learnt to take the love I have for drawing and graphics, and the love I have for developing software and managing my team, amalgamating the two and using it everyday at work.