DQ: How does a “shared mental model” or visual tool assist in the completion of a project?

HQS 620 Topic 4 DQ 2

DQ: How does a “shared mental model” or visual tool assist in the completion of a project?

A team sharing a knowledge or understanding of a process or situation through communication leading them to be on the same page enabling them to work together and synchronize their actions based on the needs achieving their goals is known as Shared Mental Model. (TeamSTEPPS Fundamentals Course: Module 5. Situation Monitoring, 2019). Being on the same page on what needs to be done with clarity on their respective roles and responsibilities, sharing significant facts with the entire team to maintain awareness of the situation make up for a shared mental model (TeamSTEPPS Fundamentals Course: Module 5. Situation Monitoring, 2019). Two elements that are important in shared mental model are to have realistic picture of the situation (, 2021) and working together using their shared mental model. If the team has a realistic picture of the situation, they will always in agreement with the goals and ways to achieve them. It will make them be on the same page and their plan of action will be based on that picture. With this, it will be clear to them that they need to work together as a team to successfully achieve their goals.



TeamSTEPPS Fundamentals Course: Module 5. Situation Monitoring. (2019).

How does one think about a project? How does the PM prepare details of a new project? What processes are available to the PM to persuade and establish stakeholder support for a project? These questions, and others, are important to consider for a new healthcare project.

The overall mindset of members of healthcare communities is critical to understand by the PM. Of the available peer group of possible project implementation people, which ones are suitable to include on the team? Of the superior stakeholders, what is their shared mental model (SMM) as a project is formulated? Also, once a project is designed, and the SOW is signed, what procedures may be implemented to give an overview for team members?

The SMM framing theory focuses on belief structures, the way people focus, and the application of implementation for action on the project. SMMs consist of a team’s cognitive structures, teamwork, and collaboration skills, person-to-person interaction capacities, and the environment of the project. The environment is physical and psychological. Because this is complex, there are tools for assistance for the PM. One of the tools is a visualization model.

Visualization tools are numerous, and here are several applicable to project management.


  1. The KANBAN Board. This illustrates projects at various stages and utilizes attachable cards under the headings of “to do” “doing” and “done”. It is simple and flexible but has no rigid timeframes.
  2. The SCRUM Board. This works with short to long timeframes and provides for team accountability for continual improvement. It is somewhat more difficult and less flexible than the Kanban Board.
  3. The GANTT Chart. This is a bar chart yielding a project schedule and identifiable tasks. Due to overlaps, it provides relationship visuals and charting progress.  It is not flexible. This tool requires computerized input to structure the chart.


The Gantt Chart is part of our week four studies. There is a reference available for the construction of the chart. RFH

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Glegg, S. M. N., Ryce, A., & Brownlee, K. (2019). A visual management tool for program planning, project management, and evaluation in paediatric health care. Evaluation and Program Planning72, 16–23.

Jenna M. Evans, Karen S. Palmer, Adalsteinn D. Brown, Husayn Marani, Kirstie K. Russell, Danielle Martin, & Noah M. Ivers. (2019). Out of sync: a Shared Mental Models perspective on policy implementation in healthcare. Health Research Policy and Systems17(1), 1–6.

A visual tool works to enhance communication of goals, associated tasks and achieved milestones within a project. According to Harrin (2021), project managers can use visual tools to make it simplify communicating complex constructs or sharing large amounts

DQ How does a shared mental model or visual tool assist in the completion of a project
DQ How does a shared mental model or visual tool assist in the completion of a project

of data points using a graph or showing key milestones over time rather than a long drawn out written list. It is beneficial to incorporate visual models into the project along with any necessary written and verbal communication, as team members learn in different ways and will understand the project goals and tasks better overall. An effective visual tool involves  illustrating andbreaking down a difficult process into an easy-to-follow process diagram, or showing project progress on a visual plan, which can make it easier for your stakeholders to understand your project goals and milestones (Harrin, 2021). As mentioned, incorporating the use of visual tools is a strategy project managers can utilize to increase understanding of the project and its goals among team members and key stakeholders. In order for these visual tools to be effective, they must be simple rather than busy, but include all necessary details and information. Achieving the right balance of simplicity and detail while remaining appealing to the eye makes for a successful visual model



Harrin, E. (2021, September 9). 5 Ways To Use Visual Project Management • Girl’s Guide to Project Management. Girl’s Guide to Project Management.

Shared mental model are defined as “individually held knowledge structures that help team members function collaboratively in their environments” (Wu, 2018, para 7). These models serve as an aid to cognition, reasoning, and decision-making, all of which help and enhance safe and effective care (Wu, 2018). Visual tools assist in the completion of a project by supporting better collaboration and communication, convenient file resource sharing, better visibility of tasks, and visible task updates, and makes it easy to monitor progress (Balo, 2020). Using these elements creates a more organized schedule to follow; tasks are noted in sequence which is easier to follow and keep up with. Moreover, visuals must include these two parameters, time and cost. A deadline is vital to organize goals and the cost draws up the budgeting information to ensure everything is going accordingly and nothing is overspent.



Balo, P. (2020). 5 benefits of using visual project management in your business.


The-Centre. (2016). The four project parameters: time, cost, quantity and quality.


Wu, A.W. (2018). Reaching common ground: The role of shared mental models in patient safety. Sage Journals.