ode to a giant sticky note

Production / Monday, March 23rd, 2015

My favourite piece of stationery is now the giant sticky note.  I did not know these existed before I got my project room this semester, and now they are to me the most useful, versatile things on the planet.  We use them for brainstorming, retrospectives, design sketches, composition boxes…  There’s so much good stuff on these things that I always feel reluctant to throw them away.  Additionally, I’ve noticed that just having one on our table during a team meeting with a cup of markers is subtly effective – people start writing down ideas and drawing absentmindedly, and suddenly there’s a wealth of design input or a new way a code problem can be solved or a rough sketch of what the UI should look like.  Oftentimes these sticky notes end up being a mess, but the process of capturing thoughts and ideas is invaluable not just in brainstorming meetings, but any time the team is talking about something.  I’ve done up schedules on them mid-meeting, written reminders to myself to follow up on afterwards, and used it to try and explain things better when people don’t understand what I’m going on about.

Advantages of the giant sticky note:

  1. It is giant.  There is lots of space for everyone to contribute, and it gives everyone a sense of equality in a meeting.  There is one and it is in the middle of everyone instead of separate sheets of paper, so everyone shares.  Writing on the same sheet is something special and impossible to do effectively online without each person being behind a screen.
  2. You can write on it.  This has the advantage of being able to draw arrows between team members’ ideas, sketching out things in a corner, walking around to the other side to add something to a list, using different colours and crossing things out, all things that are harder to do in digital format.
  3. It is sticky.  You can take it off the table and stick it on the wall after the meeting, or you can stick it on the wall and have people stick smaller sticky notes on it or write with it on the wall.  The possibilities are endless.

Taking a photo of the giant sticky note afterwards can be a good way of archiving or communicating the information, though frankly it’s usually a mess and I try to get the important things off of it and into our notes or design documents.

Some of my team’s giant sticky notes:

20150323_giantstickynote1 20150323_giantstickynote2 20150323_giantstickynote9 20150323_giantstickynote5 20150323_giantstickynote3 20150323_giantstickynote4 20150323_giantstickynote10 20150323_giantstickynote8 20150323_giantstickynote7 20150323_giantstickynote6 20150203_scrumRetroWentWell

I love giant sticky notes so much I have decided to write a bad poem.  Here it is for your amusement.

Ode to a Giant Sticky Note

o giant sticky note
the things we shared
each word i wrote
each thought i bared

part mind map you are
part sketchbook page
philosophy testing ground
inkless marker scribble rage

but when the time comes
i hesitate, i’m scared
o giant sticky note
those things we shared

i walk empowered
faculties renewed

knowledge, ideas
brew up within
and yet you end up
in the bin