It became apparent to me that whiteboarding and being in a room with your team solve problems faster and more efficiently than online. I am getting accustomed to going to the office at least twice a week. I have my EM and some engineers in the Austin office.
Wayfair has started the shift and asking employees to be in the office at least 4-6 days a month. I am rooting for and excited by this decision. Today was a great indication where my hypothesis of being remote and still being productive failed. During the daily standup with my team, we went into the deep dive on the tasks of a spike ticket and what are the desired outcomes required from that spike. (NOTE: Only my EM and I were in the office, all engineers were remote)
After almost 10 mins of inconclusive decision, we decided that I (as a PM) will take a stab at filling this ticket with more details and try to be more elaborate. I get it. As I was walking out, my EM asked let’s just whiteboard all the scenarios and see what you want to achieve in this spike. We spend 5 mins talking and I was able to draw all the scenarios which could potentially cause the problem and we both agreed on the outcomes of the spike.
We took the photo of that whiteboard and attached it to the JIRA and did a quick 5 min call with the engineer assigned to that ticket. EM was able to talk the technical language and walk through the whiteboard to explain what were the challenges the PM team was seeing during the deployment and how the spike outcomes can help future execution efforts.
Hence Whiteboard is not dead and is a great solution for collaboration. No matter what we build and tell ourselves about the virtual world, the solutions are easier to find in the real world.