We’ve all gotten used to the new way of working. We’re pros at blurring our messy bedrooms during important team meetings, greeting new faces with emojis on Slack, and quickly muting our mics to block unexpected external sounds. Some of us miss the random office chit-chat near the coffee machine and find it hard to switch off at a reasonable hour, but to be fair, a lot of us cannot imagine going back to the office full time.
Face-to-face collaboration has switched to remote teamwork, which is especially true for agile teams. Communication and collaboration skills are more crucial than ever.
One of the principles of agile methodology is the importance of face-to-face interactions. How do you do that in the current times when 85% of managers believe that distributed teams will become the new norm?
Your team needs tools to take full advantage of remote agile collaboration. Here’s where Whiteboards.io comes in to help. Let’s see why.
What is Whiteboards.io?
Whiteboards.io is an agile collaboration tool, specifically designed for software development, and product teams. It has an infinite canvas where you can run agile events, plan the product roadmap, kick off brainstorming sessions, and most of all, collaborate online with your distributed team.
One of the roadblocks to adopting the agile way of working is playing down the value of agile events. Sometimes teams can see them as unnecessary. Whiteboards can empower your team and help to explore the full potential of agile meetings by providing structure, visibility, and access to a selection of ready-made agile templates.
Our virtual board lets you embed videos, GIFs, and introduce humor to your daily stand-ups to make them more personal, interactive, and fun.
Whiteboards is a free-form tool that gives me structure whenever I need it.Bartłomiej Zięba Principal Software Engineer
Who is Whiteboards app for?
Whiteboards app has been designed by and for distributed teams. Are you a Scrum Master, Product Designer, Product Owner, Developer, or UX Specialist? No matter what role you hold in the software development or product team, Whiteboards can help you out in your daily task management and agile collaboration.
Whiteboards.io has been also designed for cross-team collaboration. In agile, technical and business people work together to keep delivering a functional and valuable product to the customers at regular intervals. With Whiteboards, you can have visibility of the ongoing tasks and blockers so that everyone is on the same page. Show the stakeholders how low-level tasks impact high-level goals. This will promote more understanding within teams, highlighting the reasons why more complex tasks need more time to be completed.
How to present your online board to those outside of your team? Simply invite external guests to your project and an invitation link will land in their inbox. Group different items on your board, create easy navigation with frames, and switch to the presentation mode. Ask everyone to click on the ‘follow me’ button and you’re in charge of what everyone else sees on the Whiteboards. Zoom in to see the details and status of specific subtasks or zoom out to look at the bigger picture.
Whiteboards.io facilitates the agile way of working
You might have already tested out other online whiteboard tools with your team and you can probably recall the amount of time that went into creating a nice-looking board and then spending twice as much time, transferring everything to Jira manually.
With our agile collaboration tool — this is not necessary. Whiteboards.io is automatically synced with Jira. You can either transform basic sticky notes to Jira issues on your Whiteboards, or drag and drop existing Jira tickets straight onto your online board. You can get easy access to Jira epics, stories, or bugs on Whiteboards.io, one by one or in bulk. Whatever is changed on the whiteboard, gets automatically updated in Jira. The same is the other way round. If you have an active Jira issue on your Whiteboards and you update it in Jira, our Whiteboards app gets updated too, which is a pretty nifty time-saver.
You can easily create dependencies between Jira issues straight on the visual board. Simply connect the two cards and select the dependency type. Create new or display already existing dependencies between epics and their child issues.
You can also create the import zone on your Whiteboards and automatically pull issues from Jira using the Jira Query Language (JQL). You don’t have to break down an issue, or a user story in Jira, you can do everything on your online whiteboard.
Whiteboards.io is also useful in planning sprints. Some of us have this love-hate relationship with Jira, especially when the backlog issues keep piling up and it’s not easily manageable. Import all the backlog issues onto your Whiteboards, assign them to different team members, and prioritize them into sprints.
Our agile collaboration tool can also help you to ‘time-box’ certain ceremonies like voting, estimation, and daily stand-up so that your team is focused without losing that precious productive power.
Check out our Jira templates and see if any of these would come in handy during your daily work.
Agile communication is easier on Whiteboards
The main idea is to have everything at your fingertips in one place, on your online whiteboard. With infinite space to play with, you can keep your discovery, findings, artifacts, and daily scrum meetings — all on one board. You don’t even have to switch to a different app to call your teammates and see their faces on screen.
Whiteboards.io has an integrated video chat option. See your colleagues’ faces next to their cursors. Exchange feedback, provide status updates on blockers and kick off a brainstorming session without leaving the online board. No need to turn to third-party tools, and switch between the apps. Focus on your Whiteboards and discuss what matters.
You can also write comments and tag your teammates to grab someone’s attention to a particular issue. Get notified on the interface as well as via email to be able to respond to your team. This feature supports asynchronous work, and teams located in different time zones. Tag a colleague that works on the other side of the globe and they will respond whenever they’re ready.
Agile templates on Whiteboards
If your team is considering adopting the agile mindset, you’ll be happy to know that our Whiteboards app has a selection of ready-to-use templates.
You don’t have to start from scratch. You can run various agile ceremonies, meetings, and ice-breakers with Whiteboards like Sprint Planning, Retrospectives, Backlog Management, User Story Mapping, just to name a few. Whiteboards’ templates will smooth the way when trying scrum, kanban, scrumban, or any other agile strategy for the first time.
We’re constantly expanding our template library, adding new templates that we think might be the most useful. Give it a go and test them out with your team. Don’t forget to let us know in the comments, which templates we’re currently missing. Here’s an overview of our most popular agile templates.
- Kanban Board Template
Easily visualize the workflow, and quickly spot any bottlenecks.
- User Story Mapping Template
Prioritize product releases by mapping out user stories.
- Plus Delta Template
Analyze and reflect on methods that worked well and those that need improvement.
- Product Backlog Refinement Template
Manage Jira backlog and understand what is the most relevant and needs to be prioritized.
- Daily Standup Meeting Template
Cut down on meeting preparation time and track the status of ongoing tasks.
- Mind Map Template
Visualize your ideas on an online whiteboard, see connections and subtasks to the main topic.
- Dot Voting Template
Vote with your teammates and find a consensus.
- Planning Poker Template
Make your estimation sessions fun and interactive and estimate the team’s effort needed for specific user stories.
- PI Planning Template
Break epics into smaller stories and subtasks, assign them to your teammates and have a global view of the product roadmap.
- Customer Journey Map Template
Visualize every engagement your customer has with the product or brand.
- Retrospective Template
Reflect on your recent sprint and figure out with your team what went well and what needs improvement.
- Affinity Mapping Template
Find links between different concepts and ideas, and organize the output of a brainstorming session.
- Risk Analysis Template
Make informed decisions by analyzing the consequence and likelihood matrix.
- Eisenhower Matrix Template
Prioritize the Jira issues based on how urgent and important they are.
- Flowchart Template
Create step-by-step diagrams that can walk your team through complex issues.
‘Secret’ Whiteboards features
These features are by no means hidden from users, however, they might be a bit less known so they deserve a special spotlight in this post. Check out our power tools.
With Loom integration, you can easily record your screen and create an instructional video, a short tutorial or even conduct a webinar. You can then place the video file straight onto the Whiteboards and share it with your agile team. Enable the Loom integration in the admin settings on your Whiteboards account to benefit from this feature.
Rich media content
Feel free to upload any static images, embed videos, mockup wireframes, or GIFs onto your online whiteboard to liven up the space.
Embed any working website, or prototype onto your virtual canvas.
Embed custom vector icons, graphics, or shapes, and place them straight onto your Whiteboards.
Easily disable your teammates’ cursors in user settings on your Whiteboards. This might not seem like a superpower, however, hiding your team’s cursors is invaluable during presentations when lots of people are attending the session. You don’t want them to cover important bits of information.
Simply known as a table on steroids that lets you organize cards or Jira issues in swimlanes, keeping the dependencies of the rows. Our User Story Mapping template has been built using this powerful component.
Automatically join your company’s Whiteboards account with the company domain email address.
Easily locate the area you’re currently working on by referring to the minimap in the right bottom corner of the online board.
Place your online whiteboard wherever you wish on the web. Viewers will be able to see but not edit the visual board.
Every team embraces the agile mindset in a different way. Agile is flexible, and each team should find its own groove. Don’t just follow the trend, adopt the agile values, customize them to your team’s needs and improve the process as you go along.
Agile processes aren’t meant to deliver the software faster, which means that pressure shouldn’t be one of the motivating factors in your team. It’s about regular delivery of working software, learning, and helping one another while figuring out the best way forward. One crucial piece of advice, no matter what you do, don’t skip retrospectives. Retros are needed to reflect on your teams’ work, to avoid making the same mistakes.
The agile collaboration tool will not make your team agile by itself. Each team needs to recognize its strengths and weaknesses, adopt an agile attitude and be willing to communicate and help one another. Whiteboards can make this exchange easier, especially in the remote setup. And don’t forget, thanks to the agile process and the infinite feedback loop, you can learn faster what your customers don’t like. Implementing the agile way of working is worth it, as it means constantly improving your product, delighting your customers, and being ahead of the competition.
If you want to make the most out of agile with your distributed team, try Whiteboards and see where it takes you!