Exercise: Tool: Sticky Notes
The first agile tool is a very simple one, Sticky Notes, the sticky little notes often used for reminders and messages in the office and at home.
Sticky notes are a great tool for adopting an agile approach to get information to get out of your head and the heads of your colleagues ideas and thoughts and expectations, and to break things down into manageable chunks of work that can be reviewed.
Sticky notes are great for making our thoughts, ideas, actions, tasks into tangible visible items. When our work is virtual, knowledge based, it is not easy to see, unlike a house being built where you can literally see the bricks, roof, windows being built and assembled, when our work in on a computer, or in our heads, we do not have the same visual cues to help us see progress of our project or product. Sticky notes help us to visualise our virtual and intangible work into a physical form so that we can better plan, progress and monitor, and share it with others.
Personally I used to be a real list person, except often it would get to the point where I was so busy or so much was happening that I would spend an inefficient amount of time writing, rewriting and reordering lists. So if your list often gets too long I whole heartedly recommend buying yourself some post it notes and giving the method a try.
When mapping out the notes just let your thoughts flow onto the notes in whatever order they come to mind. The first step is to get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper, they may be linked to a particular topic or goal, at this point the notes don’t have to be in any particular order or size, the emphasis is on getting things out of your head, and it seems that in most cases our minds seem to hold things randomly and not in any particular order.
Each thought should have its own post it note, if you find yourself writing lists or multiple items on the note separate these into individual notes.
Once you feel you have everything out of your head then you can begin to order and group your post it notes into a structure or format that helps you to organise and map these into an order that makes sense.
Use It! Sticky Notes
The exercises and tools provided in this course provide a number of options for mapping a volume of notes into structures and formats that allow them to be qualified, validated and actioned.
Using post it notes with your team, your manager and your customers can be incredibly valuable in ensuring understanding between all parties.
The activity of mapping ideas and discussing them supports communication. Communication is a two way activity, we talk and we listen.
To improve your listening skills, listening and capturing on sticky notes is a great technique for helping to ensure you are listening and clarifying what others are telling you.
Sticky Note Tips
Peel your sticky note from the side, not the bottom! Then your sticky note wont curl upwards when you try and stick it to something!
Write on your sticky note with a sharpie or fine marker rather than biro or pencil – it will be easier to read from a distance, and when you photograph it too.
Screw up rubbish notes – if a note is rubbish then make sure to screw it up, that way if you find a stray post it note you will know if it’s lost or rubbish!
Use different colours – using colour is a great way to categorise types of activity your board, this will help you to see your ratio and mix of work too, what is the primary colour on your board? what colours are moving? what colour isn’t moving? What should the mix and ration be?
I personally use the brand Snopake, their sticky notes stick to whiteboards well and are about half the price of GM Post It’s, the top brand. You can buy packs of 12 or a multi coloured block – here’s the link for them on amazon!
Snopake Sticky Note Block : https://amzn.to/3mO3x5A
Take photos regularly – taking a photo of your sticky notes is a great record, it can be easily shared if created as a group. It can be used as a recording of time/progress, or current position. I have a physical board and I always take a photo before I travel so I can easily see my board even if it’s miles away!