Sticky Notes – so much more helpful than I thought!

As I mentioned in my last post, we have a difficult time finding software that works well for our jobs – and is within our budget.  Event Management isn’t always viewed as Project Management and this affects the tools we have at our disposal.  This class has gotten me thinking about a few different, and low cost, ways to organize our work.

I am not a sticky notes person.  I am a clean desk, organized folders, constantly creating and editing my To Do list person.  Sticky notes are cluttered and unorganized.  However, as we talked about using sticky notes for managing work flow, I saw how many ways it could be helpful.  Right now, we are planning the closing event for our successful $300 Million campaign, Many Dreams, One Mission, The Campaign for DePaul University.  It is hard to keep all of the pieces top of mind, and remember who is responsible for what.  Sticky notes help so much with this.  We can move tasks around as one person gets too busy, or we find a better way to do something.  It allows us to see patterns and to fit together work pieces that otherwise do not seem correlated.

We can also use Sticky Notes to place items in the program.  We are frequently talking over who is speaking when, for how long, and in between what other elements in the event.  Being able to put times on the notes, move them around, and adjust other elements really helps us be able to see how our decisions affect timing and over-all event flow.  Also, it does not require us to create 15 versions of the event plan for everyone to look at and compare.  This saves a lot of time on our end.

I was really surprised to find something like Sticky Notes, which I really don’t like in my normal activities, to be such a help to us.

In trying to find other options such as this – low cost but helpful, I did a little research.  I found Scrumy!  http://scrumy.com/  It is an online version of Sticky Notes!  Yay.  Now, I don’t have to have a cluttered up wall, but I can arrange and change my order of things just as easily.  It is a cleaned up version for people like me!

I also found a ton of other uses for post it notes: http://www.projecttimes.com/kiron-bondale/post-it-notes-just-might-be-a-project-managers-best-tool.html  and post it notes with a fancy name: http://leankit.com/kanban/why-use-kanban-boards/

I have to say, I really didn’t see myself find a use for post it notes, beyond the occasional one stuck to my phone with a number I can’t forget, or a message I attach to my computer as I am running out the door.  I might have to put this on my next Staples order though.  Post It Notes – you are going to revolutionize my life.  Thank you 3M.

14 thoughts on “Sticky Notes – so much more helpful than I thought!

  1. I like this post Alisha, because I found myself in a similar situation. After watching the sticky note video in class I thought that it looked like a useful tool, but would I ever use it, probably not. It looked like an outdated approach that could be mastered by technology and software these days. I never really saw it applied in a real world application, until a few weeks ago!

    I couldn’t believe my eyes when the sticky note tool was applied, as I sat in a high profile meeting consisting of myself, two VP’s and two Sr. managers. It was a meeting discussing lessons learned and project improvements of a recent large scale project we had just completed. One of the lessons learned was that since it was a fairly new “type” of project, there was no management plan or “playbook” in place to help manage the project. All of a sudden sticky notes were distributed to everyone and ideas were flying! Next thing I knew, half of a wall was filled with sticky notes and we had a good foundation built for a project management plan for that type of project.

    The process was fairly quick, easy, and surprisingly successful. I was fairly surprised and amazed that a tool so easy and simple, can be so effective. Not to mention, it is always rewarding to see things learned during the MBA that are immediately applied in real world applications. Plus, it makes it very easy to transition and participate to the topic!

  2. I think this is a great post when it comes to add-ons that are low cost and can help manage a project more effectively and efficiently. One item i find extremely helpful in every project build-up and managing is a simple dry/erase board. I find they work amazing when it comes to plotting out diagrams as well as organizational structure that needs to be in place to manage a project. They also work great when incorporating them with sticky notes to write down ideas or diagram certain procedures and then be able to change them up at any time by re-arranging the sticky notes on the board.

  3. My favorite part about the sticky notes is it gives you the opportunity to step back and really take it all in and get a different perspective on what you are trying to achieve. It serves as a movable road map that you can change up as needed. Especially when it comes to assigning tasks to certain individuals. You can put the specific task under that individuals name and you may see that one person is doing far more or far less than other members on the project team, this allows for some adjustments where someone doing far less may be able to help the person do far more. Just overall I agree using sticky notes in this class has opened my eyes to the idea of doing it, I started doing it a work a bit when planning out my day of mini projects I need to get done and the order I need to do them in. They just help keep everything in check.

  4. Like you, I am reluctant to use Sticky Notes. It seems wasteful to use something for just a few minutes and throw it away. However, I agree they can be very helpful in organizing thoughts. I will definitely look into the online version which provides the benefits of Sticky Notes without the clutter and waste. Based upon your post, I am going to buy stock in 3M; I expect their sales to increase significantly now that you are among the converted!

  5. The company I work for releases a massive 300+ page catalog twice a year. You would think that there is some sort of fancy software package that helps organize it, but in fact, the pages of the catalog are organized using sticky notes. Now granted, these are full page sticky notes, but if you wander over to the Creative department, they have a layout room with the entire catalog spread across the wall. I am a big believer that the simplest solution is often times the best and this example is no different. Technology saves us countless hours each day, but sometimes a good old fashioned sticky note does the job much better.

  6. I was already a big fan of sticky notes, but I forget how versatile they can be! As I was reading this post and some of the comments, I noticed there were a lot of remarks about the simplicity of using sticky notes. However, I think that is a main point in project management as a whole: keep it simple! I think transparency, simplicity, getting to the point and getting the job done are important in project management. Sometimes the simplest tools can get to the root of a problem the quickest. We used sticky notes in a meeting to talk about employee engagement. It was a difficult conversation with our supervisors that started with a simple sticky note!

    Also, Alisha, thanks for the tip about scrumy! I think I will be using this in my near future!

  7. I happen to LOVE sticky notes and your post made me think about the ways that I use them in both my professional and personal life. At work, I use sticky notes when facilitating 5S, Value Stream Mapping (VSM) and Rapid Improvement Workshops (RIW). I also use it when putting together project plans, experimentation plans, and action plans with a group of people. Sticky notes work great in any type of facilitated activity because they allow all participants to see the deliverable as we go and they can be moved around if needed. With respect to “electronic sticky notes”, providers in our health system currently use this feature to share information about their patients in our electronic medical record.

    In my personal life, I use sticky notes to organize my thoughts and list my to-dos, much like the Kanban boards that you referenced in your post. It is a way to visually see work in progress (WIP) and work not yet started. Thank you, 3M!

  8. I am a big fan of sticky notes as it helps me stay on schedule. I find it much easier to use it to write down daily activities and tasks rather than create a schedule for myself. This is a simple tool that can be much useful in planning and scheduling without added cost. As mentioned by Cynthia, electronic sticky notes can be as useful as 3M post it notes for those who are used to using the notes.

    The Scrumy website that you mentioned seems very interesting. I played around with it for a while and I am impressed by its functionality. However, it may take a little while to get used to it.

  9. Thanks for sharing these resources!
    I find myself using post it notes not only for project management but also for meeting facilitation. One way that I found this to be very useful is when a team needs to come to a consensus but there are many people involved. I typically give a vocal group the opportunity to write their ideas on separate post its and have them talk about what they wrote down. Its a good way to prevent those who talk too much and also a good way to ask those who are more quiet to participate. The post its allow the same organization approach to project management. The resource you provided can be helpful if you project and use it similar to that of post-its. I will have to try these in my next facilitation.

  10. Thanks for the great post and idea. I like the sticky notes concept as well since parts can be moved around in a process. At my last position as a consultant we utilized sticky notes during our fishbone diagram creation since various root causes could be more or less significant in an analysis of a problem. Sticky notes allow for a more interactive and flexible element that can increase engagement among project members. They can also create faster organization because of the ability to move tasks and items around faster. I am going to try to expand the sticky note use per this post beyond fishbone diagrams to job tasks and process flows. This may allow for more efficiency in balancing job tasks amongst project team members and reorganizing flows at an easier level.

  11. I’m a post-it-note fanatic!! Serious, I could not function with out them. They are all over my home, car, and office. Mine are normally color coded too! I love that, when needed, I can stack them and take them with me. Some times the simplest solution really is the best!

  12. I will have to try Srumy. I have opposite feelings about sticky notes in my day-to-day work. I like to have 2 to 3 sticky notes of things that are top of mind or high priority right in front of me at work. I usually have 15 different screens open on my computer, ten different chat boxes open, emails flooding in constantly, and a full calendar so I need something visual and brightly colored. I think the point of all of these different methods is that we should pick methods that fit our personality. I personally love getting out different colored pens and notes, sprawling on my hardwood floor, and going to town with the post it notes. Not for everyone… I think the more mathematically charts work well for some people, where I find those more overwhelming then doing the actual project.

  13. I’ve never used sticky notes as a tool but I’m planning on doing so when the next opportunity comes up. A member of our group (hint, the comment right above mine 🙂 ) used sticky notes to try and gather all of the tasks that need to be completed to pull off our comedy show. Her sticky notes were transformed pretty easily into a legitimate project plan that we’ve been following all along. She took what seemed to be a pretty daunting task and broke it down into tiny, easily digestible steps that made everything move along much quicker. I guess sometimes the most technologically advanced and/or complicated programs aren’t nearly as effective as simple old school pieces of paper.

  14. I found this article completely relevant considering I am a college student myself. We all know the struggle of a low budget and need for time management within our hectic schedules. With this being said, I have always found sticky notes the perfect solution. There is an electronic Macbook program known as, Stickies, which I personally prefer to organize all of my study information. It is not only efficient and FREE, but I am able to color code each sticky note to coordinate with a specific topic. The app also allows me to position the notes anywhere around my desktop that seems most fitting. This not only makes studying easier, but it helps to keep all of the needed information easily accessible and organized!

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