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How to Use the New Whiteboards Features and Brainstorm in Jira

Agnieszka Józwiak
Agnieszka Józwiak
Oct 12th, 2020

Project management is a busy job.

As a project manager, you have a lot on your plate. You have multiple projects and tasks to track, timelines to manage, and team members and stakeholders to think about. That’s just the day-to-day. There are also high-level tasks, such as developing processes, monitoring business goals, and problem-solving.

Similarly, project management is the difference between having an idea and bringing it to life. With effective brainstorming sessions, you not only set up your project for success, but you also enable your team to turn the results of a brainstorm into a project, a series of tasks, or even a new product or feature.

By using brainstorming tools, you can work with your team to mind map and visualize possible solutions to a problem or bring a new idea to life.

In this article, we will explore how you can use Whiteboards for Jira for better brainstorming sessions.

The Power of Brainstorming

Solving problems can be troublesome and overwhelming, even for the savviest and experienced project manager. Although brainstorming might be an obvious solution to a problem, the process itself can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Who should be involved? How do you accurately and collectively gather feedback and ideas in a cohesive and organized manner?

Before kicking off a brainstorming session, first ask yourself: What are my resources? Make a brief list of the brainstorming and creative tools you have at your disposal. Some examples can include:

  • Mind mapping or affinity mapping
  • A word or ideas log or notebook
  • A digital vision board with virtual sticky notes

The keys to brainstorming effectively really come down to needing two things: time and tools.

The good news is there are a ton of web-based brainstorming tools available today, many of which are designed to promote online collaboration and for remote teams. And considering that online collaboration is more commonplace in today’s current climate than ever before, having the right brainstorming tools in your project management toolbox can make the brainstorming process that much easier.

One of the easiest ways to brainstorm is by creating mind maps, or affinity maps. Both of these methods involve jotting down ideas and making connections, correlations, and relationships with higher-level categories or even in between ideas.

By using brainstorming tools, you can work with your team—or independently—to mind map and visualize possible solutions to a problem or bring a new idea to life.

Brainstorming in Jira for Different Project Stages

Depending on the brainstorming purposes, there are multiple ways to have collaborative sessions using Whiteboards for Jira, such as:

  • Retrospectives
  • Risk analyses
  • Mind mapping
  • Task allocation
  • Problem-solving
  • … and more

Below, we have outlined a step-by-step guide to start using Whiteboards for Jira.

Step 1: Begin with a Blueprint

Before you begin building anything, you need a blueprint—a starting point, a framework, a guide or a map to follow.

When setting up Whiteboards for Jira, you have the option to select from a multitude of blueprints or a blank whiteboard to get started.

Step 2: Draw Diagrams

Let’s say that we are trying to figure out a way to up-sell a company’s products to existing customers. Our product team isn’t quite ready to launch a brand new product or bring it to market. Therefore, we need to brainstorm some innovative ways to add new valuable features to our existing products to help boost the company’s sales.

By using Whiteboards for Jira, we can have an online brainstorming session with our product team. Then, we can begin to draw diagrams or mind maps to help visualize our ideas, and also make connections between them to see what we come up with as a group.

Step 3: Online Collaboration and Asynchronous Brainstorming

Regardless of how your team members like to capture ideas—whether it's in a note-taking app, a piece of paper, or in Slack—you can use Whiteboards in Jira to help note your ideas for all to see and share those ideas later. You can even use a third-party automation tool.

You can set up a team to use Whiteboards for Jira by selecting the “Start a New Team” option in the “People” dropdown menu.

Brainstorming sessions can be incredibly powerful, or incredibly frustrating. Some teams need more than an hour to brainstorm ideas, think them through, and agree on which ones are worth pursuing further.

If you’re working with a large team on trying to solve a problem, and you are struggling with getting results, then you may want to try breaking into two separate groups. Each group can create their own whiteboard in Jira to brainstorming their own ideas and solutions. Then, the two groups can reunite and take turns trading off and sharing their own mind maps and potential solutions that they came up with and created.

Step 4: Solve a Problem

If you and your team need to solve a problem and brainstorm a solution, there are two ways you can approach this in Jira: 1) Convert sticky notes into a Jira issue, or 2) import issues right into Whiteboards for Jira, as shown in the screenshot below.

For example, let’s say that a customer or another cross-functional team member or stakeholder files an issue with the company’s tech team. The tech team intercepts that issue in Jira. But how does the team solve it? The project manager can then import that issue in Jira right into Whiteboards for Jira.

Then, through the power of online collaboration, the project manager can lead a virtual brainstorming session that involves the product and tech teams to come up with solutions to the particular issue.

Step 5: Build and Automate Your Workflow

Another one of our favorite ways to brainstorm ideas is to help develop processes and workflows to help our teams work together more efficiently. Building a process and workflow isn’t as easy as it may sound. It involves brainstorming, careful consideration, experimenting and testing, and iterative continuous improvement.

One of the best ways to visualize and build out processes and workflows is to brainstorm and build out workflow charts, which you can do using Whiteboards for Jira.

Finally, you can build workflows in Jira by integrating one or several of the available third-party apps in Jira. For example, you can integrate Jira Workflow Extensions, Structure, Timesheets, and more. The possibilities for building, automating, and streamlining your brainstorming processes and workflows in Jira are endless!

Visualize New Ideas, Solutions, and Achieve Project Management Success

Brainstorming and visualizing new ideas can go a long way for enhancing online team collaboration, developing new product features, solving a problem, or building a more streamlined workflow. It also allows teams to process information more quickly, think up solutions, and enable faster decision-making.

If you already use Jira to track stories, tasks, and issues, you can simply add the new whiteboard features by selecting the “Find new apps” option.

If you are looking for a brainstorming tool that also allows for online collaboration for remote teams, then give Whiteboards for Jira a try for your next project!