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General Business

Blog posts that relate to general business tips, tricks and data that help our customers and readers.

Whiteboard Etiquette: What You Need To Know For Your Next Meeting

Wed Nov 15 2017
By: Mike P

We’ve all been in this situation before: you’re sitting in a meeting and the person in charge stands in front of the whiteboard—marker in hand—taking feedback from everyone sitting around a table; you can feel the friction in the room build as ideas are tossed aside one after another by the person leading the charge. Meetings like these are designed to be collaborative but oftentimes serve as a motivational killer, driving employee moral right into the ground.
3 Reasons Every Developer Needs a Whiteboard

3 Reasons Every Developer Needs a Whiteboard

Wed Oct 18 2017
By: Mike P

Here at Magnatag, we’d argue there’s no greater tool for visualizing workflow than a dry erase board—but don’t just take our word for it; search around your office and see for yourself! Each and every day millions of whiteboards across the globe are being used in workplaces just like yours. Over the past 50 years in business, we’ve noticed that a large percentage of whiteboard users happen to be developers. While you may find it a bit surprising that some of the most technologically adept professionals are choosing to use whiteboards for their day-to-day job duties, our team at Magnatag totally gets it—and we want to fill you in too! That’s why we’ve put together this list of five reasons why every developer should be using a dry erase board for their workflow.

  1. Whiteboards Are Great For Collaboration
    Developers often divide their projects into sprints, with teams separating into smaller groups that focus on a specific element of a project’s development cycle. Each group is typically comprised of a team lead and a few front and backend developers, and as a result, elements of a specific product or feature are designed independently and pieced together towards the end of a project’s timeline. Whiteboards serve as an excellent meeting point for project teams to collaborate and visualize how a project is coming together. Maybe you want to start with a large-scale visual of how the project will come together, detailing individual steps in the development cycle and assigning steps as needed, or perhaps multiple team members are encountering a similar bug in the system, and rather than working the issue out individually, you wish to tackle the problem as a group. Regardless of which of these situations you find yourself in—if any—chances are you won't find a better tool for the job than a dry erase board.

  2. You Can Always Erase With Dry Erase
    If you’ve spent any amount of time developing or programming, you know just how excruciatingly painful debugging can be. As with any problem-solving situation, you have to create a workspace that allows you to quickly isolate a problem and receive instantaneous feedback on an issue. It can be difficult to create this environment with coding problems in particular because by nature they can be difficult to identify and isolate on screen. By using a whiteboard for debugging, developers can break down algorithms piece by piece and receive instantaneous feedback from their coworkers.

  3. Whiteboards Spark Creativity
    In past blog posts, we’ve discussed how whiteboarding can have a direct impact on your creativity. In short, writing by hand is scientifically proven to help maintain focus due to the way the brain interprets hand gestures when we’re writing, and since developers are often required to find alternative and out-of-the-box solutions to problems, writing by hand may help stimulate original ideas. Taking time away from the screen may just be the best thing a struggling developer can do to beat programmers block.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can implement whiteboards in your workspace, you may want to start by learning about our WhiteWall dry erase panels!
5 Best Free Time Management Templates For Your Business

5 Best Free Time Management Templates For Your Business

Thu Sep 14 2017
By: Mike P

One of the first steps in taking control of your schedule is finding a time management system that works best for you, but with millions of templates scattered across the internet, it’s nearly impossible to discover which systems are proven to be the most effective. We here at Magnatag like to think of ourselves as certified experts when it comes to the ins and outs of scheduling systems, and naturally, our sales team has taken note of some the most requested layouts that have made their way onto our custom printed whiteboards. So if you’re in need of a major renovation to your time management structure, or are interested in discovering alternatives for prioritizing daily tasks, we recommend starting here.

Gantt Chart (via Vertex42)
Gantt charts can be a great tool for visualizing start and stop times in your project management cycle. Vertex 42 has done an excellent job creating a Gantt chart development walkthrough that’s completely customizable and features task dependencies with slack and float time visibility. You can check it out here.

Employee Shift Schedule (via Microsoft)
Microsoft’s version of an employee shift schedule is one of the most straightforward examples out there. The template is separated into seven sections, with each slice highlighting a specific day of the week and hours of operation. The spreadsheet can be customized to your workday, making it a great starter tool for organizing your workforce. You can download the template here.

Daily, Weekly, & Quarterly Schedules (via Cal Poly)
California Polytechnic University takes pride in the university’s core philosophy of ‘Learn by Doing’, which means nearly every class on campus is accompanied by practice in a real world setting. As you can imagine with a schedule that involves class work and internship experience, ensuring students have access to time-management tools is of the utmost importance to the university. Cal Poly’s templates are nothing extraordinary by any means, but they serve as an excellent resource for simplifying dense schedules in both the short and long-term. You can learn more about Cal Poly’s scheduling resources on their website.

7-Minute Solution Flowchart (via The 7 Minute Life)
The 7-minute solution flowchart isn’t actually a template, which may leave you scratching your head as to why it’s even included in this list. The flowchart is designed for life’s long-term planning, breaking down lifelong goals into 90-day blocks. While we’ve never had any requests for the 7-minute flowchart to be printed on one of our dry erase boards, our sales team has spoken to many of our clients that have found inspiration from this popular workflow. You can check it out here.

U.S. Small Business Administration Business Plan Engine https://www.sba.gov/tools/business-plan/1
At the center of every well functioning business is an exceptional business plan. The U.S. Small Business Administration has created an outstanding template to help early entrepreneurs hit the ground running and develop a roadmap for the future. Once you’ve completed the template, your business plan can serve as an outline for measuring benchmark goals that are critical to your organization's success. We’ve designed whiteboard systems in the past that use business plan objectives as their primary point of focus, with a collection of mini-assignments building into an overarching project. You can get started on your business plan template by visiting the Small Business Administration's website.
If you happen to find any of these templates useful and are looking to add an additional level of visibility to your time management structure, our team of visual systems specialists would be happy to help you and your team develop a custom printed whiteboard for your time management needs.