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How to use online calendar whiteboards to plan and track your projects

How-tosProject managementCacoo
Cacoo Staff

Cacoo Staff

July 31, 2023

Competing priorities. Scope creep. Fast-approaching deadlines. These are all common challenges project managers face – challenges that never seem to get any easier to deal with. These difficulties can be especially pronounced in small tech startups and software development teams

In these businesses, you’re expected to move at a breakneck pace, relentlessly shipping meaningful new products and features that move the needle for your business. But without the right approach to project management, that’s an impossible task for most teams.

You might be able to pull off the odd project through a combination of talent and luck, but over time, sub-standard project management only slows your team down. With no overarching strategy to guide you, your team will miss deadlines, waste resources on low-impact tasks, and experience communication breakdowns that throw entire projects off-track. 

So, what does the right approach to planning and tracking a project look like? 

Enter online calendar whiteboards: an easy way for teams to plan and track their projects. Online calendar whiteboards visually display your team’s workload, deadlines, and personal commitments. You can use them to display multiple projects at once, highlight the key milestones in each project, and democratize access to information across your organization. 

We will explore how you can use Cacoo to create and manage an online calendar whiteboard that keeps your team’s projects on track. Cacoo is a popular online diagramming software used by thousands of teams around the world. With Cacoo, creating, customizing, and sharing online calendars with multiple individuals and teams is easy. 

Read on as we explore what online calendar whiteboards are and share how small tech and software development teams leverage them to schedule, prioritize, and monitor their tasks. Then, we’ll walk you through the key features of Cacoo and share a series of practical tips and best practices that you can adopt to start managing your projects more effectively. 

What is an online calendar whiteboard?

An online calendar whiteboard is a powerful tool that can significantly improve every team’s efficiency. Online calendar whiteboards display the tasks and events of multiple projects on a calendar layout, making it easy for everyone to understand milestones and deadlines. Even better, they can be updated in real-time as tasks are completed, ensuring that everyone is always up to date on the status of important projects. 

Online calendar whiteboards are highly customizable but typically have several key components, including:

  • Calendar: these can be displayed in a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual view and are organized as a grid or table that clearly displays the units of time the project timeline is measured in, i.e., days, weeks, or months. 
  • Tasks: usually represented as a sticky note or a shape, these elements represent the activities that must be completed to finalize the project deliverables. Tasks can be categorized by different shapes; for example, a task in a rectangle may be a development task, while one in an oval is a design task. 
  • Events: also represented as sticky notes or shapes, an event is a milestone that marks the completion of a phase of a project. Complex projects will have many milestones. 
  • Colors: it’s often helpful to color-code elements of the calendar, particularly tasks and events. You may choose different colors for projects, status types, priority levels, etc. 

Used appropriately, an online calendar whiteboard is a powerful project planning and tracking tool that streamlines access to information, making it easier for teams to spend more time moving their project forward and less time worrying about who is responsible for what. 

What are the pros and cons of using an online calendar whiteboard?

Much like any project management strategy, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using online calendar whiteboards to manage projects. With a thoughtful approach incorporating the best practices we’ll detail later, it’s possible to mitigate many of these drawbacks while maximizing the benefits that online calendar whiteboards offer. 

Advantages of using an online calendar whiteboard

Adopting an online calendar whiteboard tool offers tech startups and software development teams many advantages, most notably:

  • Increased clarity: online calendar whiteboards give all team members a clear overview of the project schedule, workload, and dependencies. 
  • Improved communication: by using an online calendar whiteboard, leaders can improve communication and collaboration between team members by centralizing all planning and tracking into a central hub. 
  • Stronger decision-making: increased visibility into important project information allows leaders to make decisions with a higher degree of confidence. 

Disadvantages of using an online calendar whiteboard

As we noted, there can be disadvantages to using an online calendar whiteboard:

  • Can be confusing: if the online calendar whiteboard isn’t organized correctly, it can grow confusing for team members, particularly as projects progress and become more complex. By using an online calendar whiteboard template, teams can mitigate this issue. 
  • Must be updated regularly: like any calendar, an online calendar whiteboard must be updated on a routine basis as tasks are completed. 
  • Oversimplification: online calendar whiteboards are designed to be simple, and teams may struggle to document complex tasks and events sufficiently. 

Now that you know the pros and cons of using an online calendar whiteboard, let’s explore how to create your own in Cacoo: a leading online calendar whiteboard tool. 

How to create an online calendar whiteboard in Cacoo

Cacoo is much more than an online calendar whiteboard tool: it’s a comprehensive online diagramming tool that can be used to create all kinds of project management frameworks: from flowcharts to product roadmaps

Cacoo has dozens of templates, making it easy for teams to set up online diagrams, including online calendar whiteboards, quickly. 

Follow along as we walk you through creating an online calendar whiteboard in Cacoo. If you’d like, you can set up a free Cacoo account and complete the steps below for your own project. In no time, you’ll have an online calendar whiteboard that you can use to plan and track your team’s work more effectively. 

Step 1: Defining project scope

Before creating your online calendar whiteboard, you must plan the project. Your first stop is clarifying the project’s scope, objectives, deliverables, and any stakeholders you need to include. 

Step 2: Identify significant tasks and events

Next, think about how to split your project up into discrete stages. Identify the most important tasks at each project stage and map out your milestones, i.e., the key building blocks that must be completed at each stage. 

Step 3: Estimate project resources

Think a little more about each of the tasks in your project. For each one, what types of resources will you need? Some tasks will likely take longer than others, which should be reflected in your project schedule. At this point, you should note any project dependencies, i.e., tasks that cannot be started until another task has been completed. 

Step 4: Creating your calendar

Now that you’ve planned your project in your head, it’s time to bring it to life in Cacoo. Once you’ve set up your Cacoo account, select the Template icon from your Cacoo dashboard. 

You’ll be taken to Cacoo’s Template Library, where you’ll find a selection of online calendar whiteboard templates. You can choose whichever template suits you best, but we’ll use the Calendar Chart for this example. 

Step 5: Label your calendar

Now, label your calendar diagram with the correct month and dates. You can edit any text by selecting the text you want to change.

Step 6: Add tasks and events

Now, it’s time to add your project tasks and events planned in Step 2 to your online calendar whiteboard. Select Text here in any calendar square to edit, or add a sticky note or specific shape from the Cacoo library and add your own commentary. 

To view available shapes, click the Shapes icon on the taskbar on the left of the screen. You can also add sticky notes from this taskbar. 

Step 7: Add colors, labels, icons, and more

It’s time you make your online calendar whiteboard, well, yours. By adding custom colors, labels, icons, and more, you can bring your whiteboard to life, helping your team members understand the priorities, statuses, and owners of each task on your whiteboard. 

You can also add comments to communicate with teammates. Click the Add Comment button from the taskbar on the left, then select the task, date, or label you’d like to comment on. You can also tag team members to ensure they’re notified of your comment. 

Step 8: Share your online calendar whiteboard

Once you’ve finished perfecting your online calendar whiteboard, it’s time to share it with your team. While these online calendars can be powerful personal productivity tools, they’re particularly valuable when used in a team setting. 

In Cacoo, you can share your online calendar whiteboard directly with your team by adding them to your project. Alternatively, you can export your diagram via a link, download it as a file, or print off a copy. 

How to use an online calendar whiteboard to plan and track your projects

Online calendar whiteboards are helpful at all project stages: from the initial planning phase through actively tracking tasks toward completion. 

Online calendar whiteboards are particularly valuable during the planning process as they allow you to visually plot out your project’s key considerations. Share the project calendar with team members to understand whether the deadlines you set are realistic and achievable. From here, it’s easy for team members to understand the priorities and dependencies of the project’s various tasks and plan their workload accordingly. 

Investing in a robust project planning process pays serious dividends as your project progresses, giving your team a reliable structure and process that they can fall back on when challenges inevitably arise. 

Within Cacoo, you’ll find plenty of features that help you track your projects more efficiently. Teams with multiple projects can view them all from their Cacoo dashboard, easily navigating to specific online calendar whiteboards to view more details. Cacoo’s powerful integrations create a seamless link to the tools your team already uses every day, including Google Calendar, Slack, Outlook, and more. 

Cacoo is also the perfect fit for collaborative teams that like to collaborate on important initiatives. A range of communication tools is baked into the Cacoo platform, including seamlessly editing, commenting, chatting, and sharing online calendar whiteboards with other team members. If a more formal presentation is required, Cacoo online calendar whiteboards can be exported in various formats ready for the limelight, or team members can present directly from Cacoo. 

Start creating online calendar whiteboards with Cacoo today

Planning and managing an agreed-upon project schedule is always challenging in small tech startups and fast-moving development teams. But with the right approach, it’s not an insurmountable challenge – success is well within reach. 

By adopting an online calendar whiteboard tool like Cacoo, teams can better plan and track multiple projects and deadlines. The platform’s powerful features make it easy for teams to schedule, prioritize, and monitor the various elements of their project. With simple visual displays and endless customization options, Cacoo is made for creative professionals ready to bring their ideas to life. 

If you’d like to learn more, sign up for a demo today to explore how Cacoo can help your business. Prefer to experiment yourself first? We’ve got you covered – activate your free Cacoo account now and use our pre-built online calendar whiteboard templates to start planning your next project. 



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