4 Reasons Why Online Whiteboards Improve Product Management Methodologies
Effective product management is critical for any business looking to deliver a successful product/service. Because of this, many teams attempt to utilize popular product management methodologies to bolster their workflow. Even when using these effectively, however, sometimes you need an extra tool to help cement an effective workflow within your team. This is where online whiteboards become helpful.
In this article, we will provide a brief overview of product management, walk through the different popular methodologies, and demonstrate the importance of online whiteboards when executing any of them successfully.
Product Management Methodologies
What is Product Management?
As defined in a recent article, “the purpose of product management would be to get a new product to the market or to improve an existing product.”
Product management is meant to encompass everything that is done within an organization to improve a product/service or improve the workflow to deliver that product/service. Quite often, this looks like improving team mechanics and workflow efficiency in order to successfully deliver products on time.
In order to better understand product management, we will outline three of the most popular product management methodologies. We will then use this context to demonstrate how online whiteboards are helpful to improving your team’s efficiency.
The term “agile” can be used to refer to a litany of different things within workflow efficiency. When people use the term, they most often refer to the umbrella methodology that defines agile, but it can also be referred to as a series of practices and principles that make up the agile manifesto.
For our purposes, agile refers to the flexible process of product delivery that emphasizes communication and adaptability within teams.
You will soon learn that the scrum and kanban frameworks emphasize very similar things, but are a more specific iteration of a philosophy instilled by the agile methodology.
Agile principles focus on the continual delivery of projects through constant communication and adaptability within teams. This means your team needs to be able to reprioritize tasks quickly and effectively, and if this is possible, then you are successfully working in an agile state of mind.
Scrum isn’t a methodology like agile is; it’s more aptly a framework within the agile methodology that you can use to organize team sprints.
From a distance, scrum can look quite simple, but it can be very hard to adopt within your team. This is because it involves many internal changes both when adopting the framework and during project completion.
There are multiple roles and meetings within scrum where your team organizes and prioritizes the completion of goal-related tasks. These involve the product owner, scrum master, and development team. You meet regularly in planning sessions, daily scrums, and retrospectives.
This strict structure ensures that projects are completed in an almost formulaic method, with clear communication of goals and priorities throughout. This formula isn’t the same every time, however, and scrum also places emphasis on consistent improvement over multiple sprints.
While scrum has strict guidelines, the end goal is to deliver maximum value to the users. This means that there can be flexibility within the team as long as it’s communicated effectively.
Unlike scrum, there aren’t any strict guidelines or procedures that have to be followed with kanban. Kanban is a much more fluid and flexible system of delivering value which also banks on the ability to reprioritize tasks to focus on what’s most important.
Kanban teams use a kanban board, a very flexible task management tool that allows you to group tasks based on their status within your team. These boards traditionally have columns for backlog items, in-progress, and completed tasks. This means your team shares a visual overview of how close you are to completion and what still needs to be done.
This visual interface makes prioritization easier than ever and allows you to quickly rearrange tasks based on what is most necessary for your team.
Now that we have a solid idea of what the three main product management methodologies entail, let’s dive into how online whiteboards assist them in improving your team’s workflow efficiency.
Provides a Focal Point For Your Team
One of the biggest advantages of using online whiteboards to improve product management methodologies is having a central focal point for your team. Especially since most of these strategies surround a group task board, having that on a shared visual interface makes navigating it very easy.
Creating a shared board means your team has one central focus point for all of the knowledge, updates, and meetings that have to do with your project. Especially when it comes to regular meetings and reprioritization, having this knowledge located in the same place every time is incredibly helpful for both efficiency and consistency.
Makes Collaboration Easier
Another key emphasis of product management methodologies is collaboration and communication. Without effective communication, none of these strategies can be successful.
Online whiteboards make collaboration easy between teams and help facilitate collaboration whenever there needs to be a shift in tasks. This means you can incorporate collaboration into even more of our product cycle, inherently increasing the communicative ability of your team.
Additionally, collaboration is less of a chore when using online whiteboards. Virtual collaboration becomes incredibly easy thanks to the inherent navigability and intuitive nature of the tool, allowing teams to conduct more collaborative activities with greater efficiency.
Allows for Asynchronous Updates
Online whiteboards even provide the capability to collaborate asynchronously, allowing your team to update the boards and change the status of tasks even when you’re not together.
This provides an entirely new collaborative dynamic for teams and means you can work on your own time without losing focus on the larger team goals.
Additionally, asynchronous collaboration makes it easier to incorporate team members that might work in a different location, allowing them to update tasks and move the workflow forward without being on-site.
Asynchronous collaboration is something that was all but impossible before the creation of online collaboration tools, and online whiteboards make this a reality for product management teams.
Creates a Visual Understanding of Projects
One of the main reasons people use online whiteboards is to engage their team through a visual medium. This is inherently different than how teams are used to working, especially online where there is significantly less collaboration than in the workplace.
Creating a visual medium to help understand product management methodologies is actually a genius way of providing a deeper understanding of the material. Teams are able to conceptualize the relations between tasks and overarching goals because they have a birds-eye view of how the project is supposed to play out.
When teams are able to create a nuanced understanding of why they do the things they do and relate that to the success of the product, they are much more likely to buy into the team philosophy.
Regardless of the specific product management methodology that you decide to use, they all emphasize increasing value to the customer and creating a flexible workspace where your team can prioritize tasks effectively. For these goals, there is no better tool than an online whiteboard to help you create a successful product.