As avid mind map enthusiasts, hearing about ClickUp’s recent launch of whiteboards grabbed our attention. Even better we got the opportunity to have a live interview with ClickUp’s Certified Whiteboards expert! He is leading the Whiteboards team as a Senior Product Manager at ClickUp, and is obsessed with what whiteboards can bring to the table, no wonder he calls himself, Zach ‘Whiteboards’ Blodgett!
We currently use ClickUp in the Paperless Movement® for our project management. You probably also know Tom is a huge fan of mind mapping, and his go-to app is Miro. Whatever the app though, we always state your tool of choice needs to be one that works for you, and ideally one that fits in frictionlessly into your workstream.
We were thrilled with the chance to chat with Zach, to share, discuss and listen to what could be a game-changer for ClickUp users especially those that need to brainstorm, collaborate and access a bird’s eye view of their tasks. Even if you’re just someone who likes to create interwoven webs when they take notes. A whiteboard can be a great place to start. And, with Whiteboards now inside ClickUp, you’re a few clicks away from turning Notes Taken into Task Creating.
So, with the official launch of the Whiteboard feature, are ClickUp now one step closer to being the all-in-one app? Only time will tell…
Hit play to listen to the Podcast! Take it all in – digest the full blog post below!
Where did the Whiteboards Idea come from?
ClickUp recognized its own need for a better way of working due to the pandemic. With remote working becoming commonplace, they realized they didn’t have the best tools for their virtual brainstorming sessions. It was apparent that an extra level of collaboration was a necessity.
Another tipping point, was when they had to take actions whilst brainstorming, they often had to switch contexts, which resulted in a break in their creative flow. Undertaking creative work and actually doing the work, are two different modes of thinking; one is free-flowing with visuals, and the other is structured with words. They felt there were no tools to do both well, and so wanted to create a means of seamlessly bringing in tasks, regardless of where you are in ClickUp; to stay in your creative flow whilst still being productive.
Whiteboards gives that extra level to visualize and collaborate.Zach Blodgett
A Bird’s Eye View Perspective of Your Project
One of Tom’s favorite benefits of mind mapping is the bird’s eye view perspective you get of your project, roadmap, or goal. With the latest feature, you can use ClickUp to convert those milestones from your whiteboard into ClickUp tasks, that connects directly to your workflow. Having the ability to immediately act on your ideas from any step in your project lifecycle is what makes ClickUp Whiteboards have such potential for the project manager as well as other members of the team too.
ClickUp’s Whiteboarding Feature
ClickUp already had a mind maps feature, involving two parts. A hierarchy overview plus a blank mode, the latter was a free-flowing mind map space, aimed at the conventional style of brainstorming ideas and having them branch out. They have now chosen the whiteboards route with the mind maps as an option as well. Zach explains that their Whiteboards are in the early stages, but they have huge plans. Just like ClickUp Docs are a different way to visualize your conversations or SOPs, they want whiteboards to be a different way to visualize the flow and hierarchy of your work.
So ClickUp has brought the mind map functionality over to Whiteboards, and along with it, they’ve added the ability to not only add multiple nodes but also on either side of the mind map too.
In its current form, you can:
- Change the color of the parent and children nodes/connectors
- Realign the mind map
- Use hotkeys (tab/enter)
- Some simple text formatting (bold, italics, underline, headings, link)
- Change the connector type (straight, curved, elbow)
- Copy and paste these mind maps to easily duplicate them
Why we love mind mapping & Whiteboarding
A great feature of mind maps is the flexible layout, it’s akin to brain connections. The ability to create links between ideas and build a bigger picture makes the information easier to retrieve in various contexts. It is great for creative research, it’s a powerful tool for generating new ideas. You can also find deeper meaning in projects and essentially create your very own knowledge bank. It’s how ICOR® Mastery was created and developed. Using a mind map to capture and connect Tom’s various thoughts and ideas. Seeing a complete view of the whole topic has been hugely insightful.
Tom’s suggestions for ClickUp
We were hyped that Zach watched and took note of our recent YouTube video. In it, Tom compared (and gave some great suggestions) of ClickUp’s new feature versus Miro’s whiteboards. AND CLICKUP TOOK NOTES!
As Zach points out, ClickUp was built through continuous conversations with customers every day. It is a relationship they wish to maintain. This is clear, as they listened to Tom’s suggestions and started implementing them!
Some of Tom’s suggestions: Implementing more dynamic functionalities. If you bring in two tasks and connect them on the whiteboard, it would advantageous to automatically create dependencies. For Tom, this would be a game-changer as a project manager. Being able to open up your whiteboard and instantly see where the bottlenecks are without going into a list of tasks is huge! Zach takes Tom’s suggestions on board, you can listen in to hear his response in the podcast.
ClickUp are…hyper-focused on the community’s response.Zach Blodgett
How ClickUp uses ClickUp to Perform and Scale?
It is always compelling to hear how tech start-ups scale successfully. Zach shares some of the background of how ClickUp grew from 40 employees to currently over 800, in a very short space of time. They use their own platform for all their departments! And what’s more, is they each use ClickUp very uniquely for their particular needs. This demonstrates just how complex yet versatile ClickUp can be.
ClickUp is used within the department, then further broken down by ‘squad’. Each squad has the freedom to create what they need as a team; create lists and set up their own custom fields as they choose. These areas then ladder up to a more defined holistic process. There are also custom fields that need to be filled out in order for everyone to be working on the same roadmap. For example, when it comes to reporting. Despite all operating differently, Zach shares there is great flexibility while still achieving high-level visibility that the CEO or stakeholders can see from a bird’s eye view too.
Why use ClickUp when you have Miro?
The mind mapping app Miro has been a hard favorite for Tom for years. It is the place to gather ideas and concepts, have a bird’s eye view of projects, and easily embed Miro boards into your Single Source of Truth. Plus it can be used on any device and with an Apple Pencil which makes it a breeze to pick up and use. There is certainly far more control and options with Miro’s icons and style features. Whereas in ClickUp there is currently a limited choice.
However, it is sufficient to create some simple processes, it is also the potential of what ClickUp will be releasing that inspires Tom to start using their new whiteboarding feature. In particular the access to ClickUp Docs. This will be another game-changer. For Tom, being able to recreate his workstream inside ClickUp, which links with direct access to the relevant ClickUp Docs will be a huge timesaver and truly create a Single Source of Truth.
We don’t do hype at the Paperless Movement®. Only genuinely helpful, innovative, approved tools and tech!Tom Solid
As you know we only recommend apps and tools that we have rigorously tested and believe will bring real value to our members. ClickUp is one of them! They have officially partnered with the Paperless Movement®. They are offering a huge 30% discount, you can find out more here.
As Zach says in the podcast, ClickUp wants to “give you the tools to be as productive as possible. If it makes sense, use it. If it doesn’t use something else, but we at least want to try our best to provide as much value with our tools.”
After reading and listening, what do you think? Have they done it? We hope they will continue to listen to our feedback as customers and take this forward by being innovative and providing great functionality, rather than emulating similar tools. If so, we are ready to be patient with the new releases coming soon. We’re all about following the ICOR® Principles to consolidate and bring together all the tools we use in one place and create our own Single Source of Truth.
Despite it not being as feature-rich as Miro, having a whiteboards feature, inside the project management app you use on a daily basis for operations, has immense power and potential. To be able to leverage the data that you already have in ClickUp with the potential dynamic functionalities in the new whiteboard is a really exciting step forward.