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Project managing with sticky notes

April 21, 2017

Project managing with sticky notes

Somehow, the no-tech sticky note has become a major tool in Labs’ project development. But what’s so magical about a simple square of one-sided sticky paper?

“You can easily create something visual on the spot,” says Labs’ Project Manager Karyna Silina, “they can be quickly rearranged, and it encourages everyone to contribute. They are an embodiment of spontaneity and adaptability.”

The benefits of sticky notes are inherent in their simplicity. But, perhaps their key attribute is visibility. Sticky notes’ undeniable presence in the non-digital world makes them difficult to ignore or overlook.

Karyna also stresses their metaphysics: “They love to move around and be arranged in patterns or grouped in categories. Contrary to the laws of physics, the similars attract.”

Though mainly intuitive to use, Karyna does have a few tips on how to get the most out of sticky notes.

Moderation: “Control your usage and don’t let them flood your surroundings. Our brains tend to happily ignore things as they become too familiar.”

Preservation: “If a board was cleaned with anti-static spray, it’s a disaster trying to keep them stuck. I wipe the board with water before meetings to prevent sticky note fatigue.”

Surfaces: “No restrictions. I use them anywhere from windows to eggs to another person’s forehead.”

Best writing tools: “Pens for pages, markers for boards. The other way around can damage my acute sense of perfection. Stickies with marker notes on them on a page look like a cry for help. Pen-written sticky notes on boards look like shy kids bullied by older schoolmates.”

Karyna recommends using a colourful array of notes, her favourites being neon green. But when it comes to shapes, Karyna remains a traditionalist, preferring the standard square to “alternative” shaped notes (arrows, daisies, stars, etc.).

But when it comes to peeling stickies off the pad, Karyna is a bit of a rule breaker. Though most project managers recommend the “peel from side to side” technique, Karyna finds this approach burdensome and creatively stifling. “In a frenzy of brainstorming, I’m just ripping them off blindly.”