Gathering around a dry-erase board with markers at the ready is a time-honored way of bringing a team together to work out a business problem or learn a new skill. In recent years, though, leaders have been more likely to opt for online whiteboard collaboration as a tool for pulling together everyone's ideas and feedback. Using a free, digital option is a quick way to get some thoughts down and put a project on track.
Though there are benefits to a visual whiteboard for training sessions and brainstorming, it often takes more to get the best out of employees. Project managers have to think strategically to make remote whiteboarding as productive as possible. From there, they'll need the resources and processes ready to head into the next steps in achieving the team's goals.
Make Your Brainstorming Count
There's no point in asking everyone on the team to devote their time to a meeting, whether it's in the conference room or online, if you're not getting results you can act on. Too often, brainstorm sessions go nowhere and just leave all the attendees frustrated. Research has suggested people are actually more creative when they tackle an issue on their own first, before an organized session.
Fortunately, there are ways to make these collaborations more effective while still including the whole team. For one, using remote whiteboarding can generate far more high-quality ideas from the group as a whole. This is because people feel freer to offer a wide variety of thoughts online, and when they do, they are less likely to be talked over by a forceful personality in the room.
Keep these strategies in mind to make every brainstorming session as useful as possible:
- Focus the session by clearly defining the problem you're facing before starting to generate responses.
- Let each team member come up with a list of thoughts on his or her own before sharing with the group.
- Visuals are an important part of how people work through ideas, so make sure your your online whiteboard collaboration tool allows drawing.
When the leader allows time and space for the team to bring their best ideas to the table, brainstorming goes further. Using online tools and planning ahead can prevent another pointless meeting and get the project moving forward.
Training with Online Whiteboard Collaboration
Remote training has the advantage of bringing individuals from across the organization together to learn a new process or skill, even if they work in different locations. Of course, the challenge is getting all those people paying attention and actively involved in the session. A free online whiteboard can help with that, getting workers interested and concepts across more clearly.
An straight lecture will mean that team members attending a session from their computers are probably checking out right away. For that reason, it's important to provide engaging visuals as well as plenty of cues and reminders for the points you're making. Whenever there's time and opportunity, encourage participants to respond to you and offer their own thoughts and experiences via the whiteboard. By making the meeting a two-way interaction, you might learn something as well.
For Complicated Projects, You Need More Than a Whiteboard
For both training and brainstorming, online whiteboards can be a handy tool. However, they're never going to be enough to manage a long-term, complicated effort. To assign tasks, track a team's work in real time, provide feedback, and view important data, it takes a project management solution like the one available from Wrike. Brainstorming around the whiteboard is great for pooling everyone's thoughts, but instantly communicating across teams and receiving updates on a personalized dashboard can make all the difference in efficiently and successfully completing a project.