Whiteboarding for product teams: The comprehensive how-to

Whiteboarding for product teams: The comprehensive how-to

Some of the most overlooked jobs in the world are those of product designers and developers. When using a website or an app, few people stop to think about how it came to be. So many decisions go into the finished product looking so seamless. But those of us on the inside know just how much research, thinking, and planning goes into making a user-friendly product.

Our product team at Nulab put together the perfect online whiteboarding tool for your product team to do just that! Cacoo is a great online tool to whiteboard out your brainstorming and decision-making processes. A product made by product teams for product teams: What could be better?

Ready to get your product team whiteboarding? Let’s get going!

What is whiteboarding?

As the name implies, whiteboarding is when you integrate the usage of a whiteboard into your processes. Using a whiteboard (whether physical or virtual) to take notes and map out ideas is an easy way to enhance your team meetings. If you’re looking to learn more about whiteboarding in general, check out our earlier blog that will explain all.

This may sound like assigning a fancy term for a straightforward idea, but the benefits whiteboarding adds to your team (especially whiteboarding for product teams) is more than worth it. And, what’s even better, is that you can hold your whiteboarding session in person or online.

Now that we’re all clear on the basics, let’s move forward into the specifics!

Whiteboarding for product teams

When it comes to working on a product team, imagery, visuals, and organization are more important than for most teams. That’s why working with a whiteboard is even more helpful for you than it might be for other departments.

Here are just a few processes that you can start improving by using a whiteboard:

1. Flows/customer journeys

Mapping out the UX of your product can be easier when you and the whole team sit down and decide what the flow will look like together in real-time. With everyone’s input, figure out how many steps each process needs, what buttons are necessary and where they belong, which steps you can eliminate, and anything else included in your specific product.

2. Interface design

When designing your product’s interface and individual screens, it can be easy to lay out version after version working on your own. But, think how much faster that can go with the whole team in one room (or on one virtual board), giving expertise and input! You’ll probably still have to lay out a few versions back at your desk, but the work should go faster with the options narrowed down.

3. Brainstorm ideas

Of course, a product team’s only job isn’t to design layouts and flows — they also brainstorm other ideas to add to or improve the product that they’re working on. Whiteboarding is perfect for just such a mission. Easily take notes, organize, and vote on ideas as they come up, so you know what to revisit in the future.

Getting started whiteboarding with your product team

Ready to get started whiteboarding for product teams but don’t know how? No problem! Our best piece of advice to just jump in and start adding ideas. A completely blank page can be intimidating, but once you start adding things, the perfect idea isn’t far away.

Jot down anything that comes to mind or suggestions that are thrown out. Getting the ball rolling is one of the most important things, and — one of the greatest things about whiteboarding — it’s just as easy to erase something as it is to write it down. Seemed like a good idea at first but now has been proven wrong or eclipsed by something bigger and better? Just run the dry eraser over it (or, in our case, click on it and hit the delete key).

A whiteboard is a conversation. You should be constantly adding and erasing items, reorganizing, and analyzing. To keep that conversation going, make sure that when you hand someone a marker (or ask them to make an addition to your online board), you’re asking questions and giving prompts.

Never hand over the reins with the expectation that the next person already knows everything they want to add. One of the biggest balancing acts here is to keep an open floor while still facilitating good thinking. This is something you’ll get better and better at the more you practice.

One of the best things about virtual whiteboards is that you’re done with your whiteboarding session, you can easily share it with the whole team. If you created it using Cacoo, everyone has the link and can go back to revisit the work you put in together any time they need to. If you were using a physical whiteboard, just pull out your phone to grab a high-quality picture and send it out to the team aftward as part of your meeting notes.

Final thoughts

Whiteboarding’s benefits to a product team are clear. Being able to brainstorm and actively visualize and organize the team’s thoughts is a great way to kick off new projects or solve problems that have been creating bottlenecks for the team.

Our online whiteboarding tool Cacoo is a huge asset when it comes to conducting your whiteboarding sessions online. With in-app video and chat, the whole team can be online editing and communicating in real-time. Your team will be able to collaborate as if there were in the same room.

Introduce whiteboarding at your next meeting and see how quickly your product team’s remote collaboration improves!

Lauren Grabau Lauren Grabau is a globetrotting copywriter providing SEO web content, puns, and a keen eye for spelling wherever she can. She's probably currently planning her next trip or lost on a long walk.