The Power of the Post-it
7 reasons why foryouandyourcustomers use Miro Whiteboards to improve collaboration internally and with clients through post-its and doodles.
It is fair to say that the past two years have been pretty unusual due to the pandemic. The way we work or socialise has changed and may never go back to “the good old days” of the recent past. Collaboration at work has seen a huge shift to working from home and video meetings which are mostly manageable but have been a real challenge when working on highly complex topics or large projects.
This is where Miro (an online whiteboarding application) has made a powerful impact for our business as a digital consultancy and systems implementer. We normally rely heavily on face-to-face interaction with clients and regularly run all-day workshops when working on large scale change programs but this has been very difficult in lockdowns and ongoing restrictions. Miro has been a game changer for us and here are 7 tips for how it can make a positive difference for you too:
#1 Remote working
“Employees who are most engaged are those who work remotely 60-80 percent of the time.”
Even when we return to the new normal, people are unlikely to return to the office full time so remote working is here to stay. Employees are also putting a premium on flexible or hybrid working conditions so having solutions to collaborate remotely are becoming essential. Some basic whiteboarding features are embedded in MS Teams, Zoom, etc. but these are generally used for temporary scribbles in meetings rather than something that can be leveraged later for designs. Miro is significantly more powerful and can even play a role in face-to-face meetings when sharing boards on large screens just like a physical whiteboard and this also allows some people to be remote (on and device).
#2 Power of the post-it
“I admit that Post-it notes that adhere to virtually any surface are now my substitute of choice for retention.”
There is nothing more simple and honest than a good old post-it for encouraging participation and inputs from a team. Miro allows drawings and text boxes but by having post-its in multiple sizes and colours, it gives users a very clear and intuitive way to collaborate. There is friction when editing documents/texts simultaneously but this is not a problem with individual post-its… even if you end up with duplication, that’s great as it shows people on the same page. Post-its also get people into an ideas mindset and help to think fast without restricting thoughts that often leads to more effective discussions and solutions in a democratic way.
“Sometimes you sacrifice legibility to increase impact.”
It’s great to get people’s inputs but it’s often hard to read their handwriting, especially if you’re collaborating with new clients and haven’t got used to their writing styles. This problem becomes worse if you ever try to document a workshop a long time after the session as it’s difficult to remember why certain comments were shared and in what context. Pro tip: you should agree to a default layout and text size for your boards otherwise zooming in/out constantly can get confusing!
#4 Pen is mightier than the Keyboard
“The pen is mightier than the sword, and considerably easier to write with.”
I’ve been completely paperless for over a decade now and even manage daily lists or meeting notes on OneNote or Keep. I use the keyboard to type notes all the time but holding a pen sparks creativity in a unique and impactful way. It’s so much easier to draw something out on scrap paper first before typing it up or creating nice diagrams on the laptop so I would strongly recommend doing that from time to time. Miro does take this backwards a bit as you can type comments in post-its but we often have hand-drawn scribbles all around the boards and you can just use pens on touchscreens as needed. Regardless, the interface gives you something as close to a pen experience as possible.
“The choices we made today were templates for the future.”
There is no point in reinventing the wheel when you can simply reuse work that has proven successful in the past (this is a key principle of foryouandyourcustomers’ business model). It is especially easy in Miro as you can just copy and paste the boards/layout from past sessions and clear the notes/comments to run a similar session again. There are also plenty of industry-standard models and layouts that you can browse and select to start a new board with a particular goal in mind. We’ve found these to be particularly helpful when planning a facilitated discussion with clients and even internally.
#6 Efficiency (no write-up)
“Efficiency is intelligent laziness.”
Following on from the templates points above, the whole process for preparing a workshop and documenting it afterwards becomes very efficient using Miro. You can prepare the board to use ahead of time (Pro tip: include guidance notes around your board to help users collaborate), manipulate during the session depending on what’s needed and, most importantly, share it after the meeting so everyone can refer back to the outputs. There is no extra write-up needed, no deciphering poor handwriting and no blurry photos of physical flipcharts. The content of the online boards can be used directly into documents and are much easy to update to give tangible results from meetings.
#7 Knowledge sharing
“Knowledge Shared = Knowledge².”
Finally, one overlooked benefit of using online boards is that these can be centrally stored within the app and be separated into different teams so that any user can search for boards used across teams and even projects. This allows work from one project to be easily reused for another project and gives visibility to others so that they could get inspired by how other teams tackled problems even if they decided on a different approach. Users can also see how projects, initiatives, marketing plans or roadmaps are shaping up even if they are not directly working on those topics, which can also lead to ad-hoc conversations internally and add value. If your focus is within one project then this is still very helpful as you can access all the boards needed to see the full context of the project and how the work is progressing.
Kunal Lohia Example of Miro Board.
At foryouandyourcustomers we enjoy working with Miro and it’s made a positive difference to how our teams operate. The online whiteboard has become an essential tool we use to collaborate with clients and internally, especially on complex project topics. It fits in particularly well with our proprietary methodologies which require in-depth workshops with clients. I even prepared this article by brainstorming in Miro as you can see with my post-its! So I would encourage you to try it and see if Miro can help your teams supercharge their collaboration too.