Hot! Working with Writeboards

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Writeboard37signals is well-known in the project management industry for its cloud-based collaborative service software, most commonly, Basecamp.  Writeboard is another product that is designed for collaborative writing and, following the signature feature of all 37signals applications, its focus is on interface simplicity.

Writeboard functionality lets users:

  • Write their ideas and thoughts down and be sure that they will be stored safely
  • Compare different versions of a document that has been previously created
  • Work with others in creating documents, such as, reports, business plans, etc
  • Receive notifications of document upgrades through RSS subscription
  • Organize their work through integration with Backpack
  • Integrate Writeboards into Basecamp accounts

From a project management perspective, Writeboard allows users that freedom to capture important information that might not sit well in structured project documents and to store them in an easy-to-retrieve way.  The collaboration aspect to Writeboard lets the project manager Writeboard samplshare less formal information with their team and seek inputs from others, and there’s no limit on the number of Writeboards you can have.

It is quick and easy to use – just enter your username, password and email address and you’re off and running. Sharing with others couldn’t be easier and doesn’t need the setup and management of accounts – simply send the recipients the URL and password for your Writeboard and they have instant access.  In addition, the Writeboard owner can then see when others login.  

It’s worth noting, though, that the collaborative nature of Writeboards isn’t real-time.  So, if two people are working on the same document at the same time, it’s possible that changes can be made that the other doesn’t know about unless you refresh the screen regularly. More recently, supporting text formatting, insertion of images and links, Writeboards have become more useful across a variety of types of documents, rather than simply note-taking.

Every time a new revision of a document is saved, it is date stamped and the author’s name is shown. Significant versions can also be flagged, so they are easy to identify in the history of revisions which is very useful where many are collaborating on a document and it will go through several changes.  Once created, documents can be printed or exported in either HTML or text format for use in other applications. So, imaging you’ve just created a sample flier for a forthcoming workshop and your team have had their input.  You’re ready to make it available to clients.  You could export it from Writeboard in HTML format and load it straight up into your website – creating a new page instantly!

As a free offering from 37signals, Writeboard is a must-have, not just for project managers, but for anyone who has a need to write stuff down!



Jan Birley

Jan holds a PhD in computing and started out in software development and IT training. She built a strong career as a project and program manager focusing on IT in the Health Service sector. Jan specializes in taking greenfield and immature services/departments to effective business-as-usual operation and is currently responsible for the delivery of clinical assessment forms into a high profile clinical system. Jan has authored 100′s of articles on project-management related topics.


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