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Tip for BAs: make a portable whiteboard

I’m often asked to recommend simple tools for aspiring BAs to use and I can’t think of anything more simple – or more useful – than pen & paper or, where available, a whiteboard.

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For those of you who like to work with pen & paper or with whiteboard & marker, here’s a simple tip: Get a sheet of A4 paper & laminate it. Then get some fine-tip whiteboard markers. You now have a portable whiteboard.

Make an A3 version too, if you wish. Don’t roll them up, though… it’s a nightmare to unroll them when needed. If you want something a bit more robust, laminate a piece of white card instead of paper.

For ‘advanced’ uses:

I also made A3 & A4 versions with an empty multi-level  ‘class diagram’ on one side and a blank Swimlane diagram on the other. By using them horizontally or vertically, they can be used to sketch (among other things):

  • multifunction swimlane
  • activity diagram
  • sequence diagram
  • class diagram
  • hierarchical chart
  • system & subsystem diagram

I recommend BAs carry these with them at all times. Whenever you find yourself asked to capture & diagram a process etc (whether in a workshop or 1-to-1 session), use them. Better still, give your stakeholders the dry-erase markers & encourage them to weigh in. Inclusion breeds motivation and using these portable whiteboards is more inclusive than a wall-mounted whiteboard (which some people find intimidating, especially stakeholders).

Feel free to comment with useful / quick & easy tips for BAs

Oh, and by the way, if you accidentally write on your whiteboard (DIY or otherwise) with permanent marker, simply write over the offending ink with a whiteboard marker and it should remove the offending marks.

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10 thoughts on “Tip for BAs: make a portable whiteboard

  1. i’ve used a sticky wall with great effectiveness. They can be bought for AUD100, else use a flat sheet and use advesive spray.

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  2. Nice idea Ron. I had a laminated “daily plan” which I’ve been using for years. It hadn’t occurred to me to do this though. And if you use a permanent marker… most of them are soluble in alcohol. Try wiping down with surgical spirit. 😉

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    • You don;t actually need to use surgical spirit. In most cases, if you use a Permanent marker, you can overwrite it with an actual Whiteboard marker, which will ‘lift’ the it.

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      • …and I stand by that, Peter 😉

        I don’t roll them up myself any more. However, from what I’m told, some people are prepared to put up with that for the ability to carry them in a cardboard tube.

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