What in the World is Whiteboard Project Management?

It’s Monday morning, and you’re in the middle of a brainstorming session to solve a problem your remote product team keeps running into—when you suddenly have an idea.💡 

This could be huge.

Andy from Parks and Rec saying OMG
PeacockTV via GIPHY

Without a pen or notepad in reach, you try explaining the solution—with lots of hand gestures—until your team lead says, “Uhhh, that’s an idea.” 👀

But before the moment passes and the conversation pivots, you quickly doodle your vision on a clean digital whiteboard to share with the group. A harmonious “Ohhhhhh” sounds through your monitor.  

Now they get it, and they love it. 🥰

When people hear the term “Whiteboard Project Management,” they’ll likely imagine a variation of this exact scenario, and while it’s totally valid and super common, that example only scratches the surface of the infinite benefits this methodology has going for it! 

Whiteboard project management and whiteboard software, in general, is booming right now. 

…But if you’re new to this approach and think you’ve already got this topic covered because you hung a mini whiteboard in your kitchen or home office—think again, my friend.

Not only is this post largely unrelated to the physical whiteboard you use to manage your grocery list, but it also dives into a collaborative, creative, and efficient approach to project management that you might be missing out on.

Digital whiteboards give the entire team clarity into a project from the ideation phase and beyond. Unlike your roadmap or dashboards that provide insight into where your work is headed next or how it’s doing, whiteboards show you what that progress actually looks like. 

Before the FOMO sets in too hard, let us take you through everything you need to know about whiteboard project management including what it is, how it can align with your workflow, and the tools you need to make the most of its benefits.

🚀 What is whiteboard project management?

You don’t have to be a project manager to benefit from using a digital whiteboard. They are extremely versatile! Whiteboard project management should be a go-to approach for teams who are looking to prioritize or improve upon: 

  • Team collaboration
  • Organization of ideas
  • Creativity
  • Accessibility for individuals who learn differently
  • Project turnaround time 
  • And more! 

Almost sounds a little too good to be true, huh? 

Whiteboards are the best of both worlds-type of tool that allows people to feel as creative as they do productive by breaking away from text-based information models or document-heavy practices. 

Representing and managing almost any project visually is one of the biggest advantages of whiteboard project management because it can help you see connections you may not have recognized before.  Plus, it’s more engaging and accessible for people who approach their work in different ways.

The collaborative nature of whiteboard software is also a huge benefit for agile teams—who do the bulk of their work asynchronously—as it automatically stays up to date with the latest and most accurate information at all times. In this instance, you can basically think of your team’s whiteboard as your project’s living document!

From key tasks to project milestones, and even your roadmap itself, everything can exist on your whiteboard from start to finish because your canvas is truly infinite—you will never, ever run out of space, so there is no need to delete or start over. Plus, they’re built to be used by a team, so the group has nothing to lose in giving them a try. 🤗

It lasts throughout your project’s entire lifecycle and beyond, storing key conversations, helpful links, drawings, workflow diagrams, and maps that help keep your team on track no matter what. And if you’re using a powerful digital whiteboard tool like ClickUp’s Whiteboard feature, your canvas is also the place where you can uniquely connect your drawings to your workflow, instantly.  

Act on your ideas in ClickUp Whiteboards
Merge the power of ClickUp with the creative freedom of Whiteboards and start acting on your ideas instantly

If you love ClickUp Mind Maps, feeling creative at work, and improving on your processes, then ClickUp Whiteboards are right up your alley. With productivity already at the core of every ClickUp feature, this is the next step in helping teams achieve clarity from the get-go—acting on your thoughts and connecting ideas to your workflow faster. 

Like our powerful ClickUp Docs, Whiteboards allow you to work alongside your group with real-time editing and live cursors to know who views or contributes to your session. Choose your tools by hand or revert to your favorite ClickUp Slash Commands to pull up rich editing, formatting, objects, and more to maintain your creative momentum. 

Create quick drawings or mockups in ClickUp Whiteboards
Add notes, text, images, and more to expedite the feedback process on any quick drawing or mockup in ClickUp Whiteboards

Ideas can happen anywhere and at any time, and digital whiteboards are designed to capture those ideas as quickly as possible.

Think of your whiteboard as your starting point for: 

  • Creating a clear concept, mockup, or blueprint for your project 
  • Listing and allocating your project resources
  • Touching base with your team and providing feedback and virtually anything
  • Viewing the latest updates with access to your workflow
  • Staying on track and within budget
  • Presenting to stakeholders 

This sounds like a lot, but rather than a notebook with disorganized pages or a physical whiteboard that runs out of space, this software was built for the amount of information and the dynamic features needed to bring your project to life from initiation through closing.

🛠 Plan and manage your project on a digital whiteboard

Different teams will use whiteboards in different ways, but whether you manage projects in construction, technology, real estate, or truthfully, any industry, your project lifecycle will follow the same five phases:

  • Initiation
  • Planning 
  • Execution
  • Monitoring
  • Closing

Especially if your team is shipping constantly, whiteboard project management will help you cut down on some of the busy work while progressing from the initiation and planning phase with the ability to act on your ideas as soon as you have them. 

But let’s show you what that really looks like. 

Phase 1: Tackling initiation with project management whiteboards

Before the project exists, there is a problem that your idea is aiming to solve and a group of people who can benefit from it.  In the initiation phase, your project management whiteboard is essentially the vision board of what’s to come, loaded with the key research, value proposition, user journeys, immediate goals, expectations, and more.  

Yes, this all goes on the board.

As a clean and infinite canvas, you are creating your ideal structure from scratch on your whiteboard. With click-and-drag drawing tools, shapes, and grid-lined backgrounds, you can start building sections that you can move as needed. Nothing is set in stone!  

Knowing that your board will remain a constant in your project’s lifecycle, this is where having a whiteboard tool packed with powerful and intuitive features really comes in handy. 

Sticky notes, text, multiple drawing colors, embed capabilities, and shapes are crucial for things like concept mapping, SWOT diagrams, or simply drawing a flow between sticky notes to get an idea of the next steps—all of which you’ll definitely want to flesh out in phase one. 

Having a template library at your fingertips can help you save time from the get-go in this step by automatically adding a starting-point structure to your canvas that you can edit and adjust as you go. 

ClickUp’s growing library offers nine flexible whiteboard templates for this exact reason! Get started with the template of your choice to ease your way into the most visual project management methodology on the ultimate productivity platform. 💪🏼

Browse ClickUp's Whiteboard template library
Instantly add structure to your creativity with one of ClickUp’s nine designated Whiteboard templates designed to maximize your ideation process

Designed with project managers in mind and built to be customized for any use case, ClickUp Whiteboards offer multiple templates for flowcharting, mapping, brainwriting, stand-ups, and diagramming to enhance and expedite your initiation process.  

From here, you can immediately progress into the next phase of your project without ever having to click away or leave the whiteboard you’ve already created. Are you starting to get the whole “living document” vibe of your whiteboard yet? And it only gets better!

Phase 2: Project planning like a pro

You can use the existing structures on your whiteboard to start digging into the planning phase and crafting your project charter

With the information you’ve already accumulated on your board, you can drag, copy, or draw connections between any shape to signify your top goals, necessary resources, and key deliverables to gauge a realistic timeline for your project. This stage in your process focuses largely on how you will balance your budget and time, and essentially where you build a blueprint for the project.

Draw connections between objects in ClickUp Whiteboards
Draw connections and link objects together to create roadmaps or workflows from your ideas alongside your team in ClickUp Whiteboards

The visual and collaboration aspects of whiteboards are crucial in the planning phase because your software should allow virtually anyone of your choosing to share or contribute to the board.  

This includes chatting, providing feedback, mentioning others, and customizing your privacy settings.  And with a tool like ClickUp Whiteboards, live-editing cursors allow you to see who’s on your board, what they’re doing, and work alongside them without overlap. 🙌🏼

As a visual tool, you can either draw freehand or use a template to mock up a proper roadmap for your project and determine the requirements, scope, and flow of tasks going forward. 

Having a whiteboard tool with rich formatting options, multiple colors, clean connectors, and image upload abilities can be a game-changer in project planning. These features are the difference between instantly having a document ready for stakeholders’ immediate approval or needing extra time to prepare something presentable. 

Drag and drop media into ClickUp Whiteboards
Powerful styling and format options help you arrange, annotate, and present your ClickUp Whiteboard exactly as you imagined

And for some project management software, this may also be where the use of whiteboards stops entirely. 😳

But more on that in a moment. 👀 

Phase 3: Lights, camera, execution

By now, you’ve heard us praise whiteboards for providing teams with a referrable source of truth—a visual document that’s linked to your workflow and stays updated with the day’s latest information regarding your project as your timeline progresses. 

But the thing is, not every whiteboard software lets you do that. 🥸

The execution phase is where ClickUp Whiteboards take the cake for this project management methodology.  But don’t just take our word for it. See for yourself!

Convert objects into tasks with ClickUp Whiteboards
Let any object take on a whole new meaning by drawing connections and converting them to tasks that link directly to your workflow in ClickUp Whiteboards

At this stage in the game, you’ve done the research, you’ve identified your audience, created a roadmap, and determined whose skills are needed to bring the project to life—so you’re ready to execute! 

You’ll be able to see the objects that represent tasks and milestones on your roadmap, and if you’re using ClickUp, you’ll also be able to convert those shapes from your whiteboard into ClickUp tasks that connect directly to your workflow. 

Being able to immediately act on your ideas from any step in your project lifecycle is what makes ClickUp Whiteboards such a valuable tool, and what gives this methodology the potential to be so efficient and accessible for any team.

The connection between your whiteboard and your workflow keeps your canvas updated at all times, and what makes it unique from dashboard insights or even your roadmap.  

Phase 4: Monitoring KPIs as you go

Since your whiteboard never runs out of space and never has to be deleted, the monitoring and controlling phase of your project is simpler than ever to keep up with. 

The project manager can easily reference the whiteboard to locate completed tasks and milestones, or even initial research and KPIs to determine the project’s progress at a glance or address any issues.

What’s more, ClickUp has a retrospectives whiteboard template to assist in this step, and in true whiteboard fashion, it can exist alongside all of your other work, so no information is left out or forgotten. 

Phase 5: Closing (but never forgotten)

The fifth and final step in managing your project on a digital whiteboard is as simple as keeping it around! 

This is the phase where you can truly evaluate the success of your completed project and identify the lessons you can apply in future endeavors.  But even though you’re closing, the door is never closed on your whiteboard! 

You can easily refer back to past projects through their corresponding whiteboard and follow its lifecycle with a fresh perspective or improve on future projects by building upon the foundation you’ve already created.

✨ It’s time to start making project management magic with ClickUp Whiteboards

Whether your team is distributed or huddled around a conference table, collaborate in real-time with fast and reliable live editing. Then keep your whiteboard relevant and automatically updated past the ideation phase by connecting your thoughts directly to your workflow with ClickUp Whiteboards.

The real power and versatility of whiteboard project management comes to life when you’re able to seamlessly connect your thoughts to your workflow, a feature that ClickUp Whiteboards have perfected!

Collaboration and creativity take on a whole new meaning with shapes, objects, and notes easily converted into tasks, real-time editing, and so much more. 

Draw freehand with ClickUp Whiteboards
Make notes, draw freehand, and connect creations to your workflow alongside your team, without overlap with real-time editing in ClickUp Whiteboards

With a growing list of features and even bigger plans ahead, ClickUp is the no-brainer starting point for your Whiteboard needs. Access Whiteboards and test drive ClickUp for free, forever. 

Import your work from virtually anywhere in as little as 60 seconds and eliminate unnecessary tabs and tools from your process. Plus, ClickUp integrates with over 1,000 tools to make your experience as smooth as possible.

Try it for yourself, and comment below to tell us what you think!

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