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What is Your Process for White-Boarding?

Getting up in front of the white board and taking notes, drawing diagrams, brainstorming, and collecting ideas has become such a part of our project management jobs it has turned into a verb…White-Boarding. What are some of the best practices you use for your White-Boarding sessions? Do you do all the White-Boarding yourself or do you spread it around to everyone that is in the room?

Most importantly, how do you capture what has been put up on the board once the White-Boarding session is complete?

White-boarding has been a problem for me with a virtual team. I have tried things such as using a web cam and the white boards in AdobeConnect, but never seems to work.

Kenneth's option 2 is what I have adopted. Let me preface that I really only have the problem of lots of white-board type information in project planning sessions. Other meeting with a solution for 1 specific problem (like a 1 hour meeting), I just take a picture and transcribe. Project planning sessions can be 2 hours up to a day. I do a lot of prework and create either a diagram or determine what shapes represent. Using the simple boxes and then moving them around works just fine.

The other key part is that I usually have someone (like a note taker) control the Visio diagram while I speak. This helps with intrepretation to the virtual media. It takes getting used to as you can't just assume everyone can visualize what you are saying. You need to describe it in words so both the note taker and then the folks online can understand.

The problem that I see with smartboards is that what you really want is a vector-based, object-oriented diagram (Visio or the equivalent) and a smartboard just gives you a bitmap. So in my mind it's not much different than a photo from a digital camera.

I love SMART boards, you know, the ones that are attached to a computer so notes can be captured automatically? I find capturing discussion boards useful if nothing else but to triggering our memories in later discussions or when writing up detailed notes. Visual pictures can be very powerful.

I often will start a white board session, but will be ok relinquishing the marker if someone else wishes to contribute. Some people are more comfortable talking with a pen in hand and tend to communicate their points better.

Option 1:
Write on the whiteboard.
Take photos of the whiteboard using a digital camera.
After the meeting create a nice depiction of the information that was on the whiteboard and captured with the digital camera, using Microsoft Visio.

Option 2:
Use Microsoft Visio and a projector instead of a whiteboard.
Revise in real time.

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One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.

- Dan Quayle