An innovative way to say it’s ‘business as usual’ during the COVID-19 lockdown

Tim Palmer

Lockdown has affected every business here in the UK, resulting in most of us working from home and so communicating remotely with our colleagues and clients. Microsoft Teams has enabled us to stay in daily contact using video and audio calls and sharing screens. But as days turned into weeks, we needed more than this. OCC needed to supplement existing methods of remote contact with a solution that would allow continued innovation and would be inclusive, productive and easy to use. OCC chose to use Miro

The above image was captured during a design workshop using Miro’s virtual whiteboard facility. This provides a common writing space, allowing the OCC team and the client to contribute ideas. The virtual visual aid acts as a focal point to frame the discussion and can be captured and saved more easily than, for example, written meeting minutes.

We have also used Miro to support the delivery of OCC developer retrospective workshops in lockdown. We believe in self-reflection to improve our working practices, so OCC’s Innovation Delivery developers meet twice a month to discuss recent achievements/challenges and future concerns and plans relating to our work. Before lockdown, we used a physical whiteboard to draw the four zones that frame our discussion – our “team snapshot”. The four zones focus the team on accomplishments and learning points from the last two weeks and allow us to raise any concerns on upcoming tasks and share good news on forthcoming projects. In lockdown, we use Miro to draw a virtual whiteboard, with all our comments displayed in ‘post-it’ format.

Once the contributions have been generated (as shown in the image above), the retrospective moves to voting on the issues. Miro offers votes and a set time to use them on a fully customisable basis. Each developer can vote for three post-its they would like to discuss further by assigning ‘dots’. Once the results are in, we start with the post-its that received most votes and the actions we could take to resolve them. 

During lockdown, these retrospectives are more important than ever. By replacing the physical medium of the whiteboard with a virtual one on Miro, we can continue to be both creative and connected, despite the challenges of remote working. The platform has offered an unexpected benefit for those developers who were already working from home, putting them on an equal footing with everyone else. Previously, our remote team members needed a colleague to write their post-it contributions on the physical whiteboard plus the whiteboard could be difficult to view virtually. Miro has provided a more inclusive and democratising platform for the benefit of the whole team.

The post-lockdown business world is still to be defined but the takeaways for OCC from the COVID-19 pandemic are clear. We remain in contact, connected, creative, collaborative, innovative, agile and responsive to each other and to our customers in the changing landscape we now inhabit.