At Cake, we have come across a lot of new projects in our time. We have our Project Inception at the beginning of each one, which has been evolved over time and we’re always seeking ways to improve it.
One tool that was introduced to us fairly recently by a member of the PM team at Cake was RealtimeBoard. This is an interactive whiteboard that allows us to collaborate with people both on and off site. One of the challenges we face during our project inceptions is getting people involved. Our sessions are very interactive and rely upon attendees getting out of their chair, writing out sticky notes and drawing diagrams on physical whiteboards. Obviously, this is impossible for remote attendees as there’s physically no way they can contribute and they often can’t see what’s being written on the board. This leaves them isolated, often struggling to grasp concepts and at a disadvantage as the project starts because of this.
Traveling to the site of the Inception isn’t always an option due to cost and time, so we wanted (needed) a way to involve the wider audience and not just the people fortunate enough to be sat in the room.
RealtimeBoard allows us to capture our “whiteboard” sessions so that everyone can add, contribute and follow whatever is being discussed/drawn at any time.
At first, I was a little sceptical about using a tool like this. I had envisaged a room full of people staring at their laptops rather than actually talking to each other, debating decisions, requests and suggestions. In reality, I couldn’t have been more wrong. We still have the ‘driver’ of the meeting display their screen on the projector at the front of the room, but everyone can follow and add content from their laptop. It really worked well. As we’re in software development, any sort of gadget is going to get a little more attention than pens and paper, but not every tool gets the feedback we’ve had from colleagues and clients alike. This has been a big success so far for us.