There’s an aspect of remote-working that I will say is both a bit easier to work with, and at the same time a bit harder to work with – complex topics are often more difficult to gain consensus on when there’s not a whiteboard in the room.

That definitely isn’t a universal opinion. Some people prefer remote working, and don’t find the difficulty in it at all. I love remote working. But when it comes to explaining, sometimes I just want to get people into a room with a whiteboard and just… draw it out.

Because often times I want to just draw out a use case, a user interaction, or just generally how systems link together. Usually when I want to draw this happens on the fly. In cases where we would all be in the office I can usually just grab the nearest whiteboard and just start drawing. But when I’m remote I either need to be prepared with a drawing ahead of time, or I need to use digital tools to do my drawing.

And I’ve struggled with drawing on my Wacom One. Maybe I’m not using the right software, but I am so used to annotating what I write, and breaking my flow to type something in is just rough. I’ve tried using software like Bluescape (and through a browser this sucks), and it’s just not… precise. I want to be able to write like I do on a whiteboard. And it doesn’t flow nicely to me.

I will admit that the tools I have at work are lacklustre. And – to be clear – I’m not dissing on remote work! Sure, even the fact that I have a tablet is already a better situation that most. And yeah we have digital tools. But it feels like there’s a big difference sometimes between being able to quickly draw something out on a whiteboard on the fly versus having to take the time to draw up something ahead of time because of digital limitations.

I’ve been looking ideas on how I can make digital whiteboarding feel more natural. Because right now I’m having to write a lot of documents to compensate, and while that’s fine, and it helps me practice my writing (which has greatly improved over the past year), it feels like I’ve slowed down in my decision making and collaboration. Maybe that’s for the better.