New retrospective template released.

Are you a SCRUM master or a member of an agile team? Our new template helps you to conduct efficient retrospective sessions.

Templates based on facilitation cards vs. templates based on background images.

The new retrospective template is based on three facilitation cards, each of which assigned to a color category (Start, Stop or Continue):

The old retrospective template is deprecated and will be removed soon. It is based on a fixed background image with three graphical columns (positive feedback, suggestions for improvements, and other comments):

Drawbacks of templates based on background images:
  • The workspace in the columns is limited.
  • The template cannot be modified or customized as it is a fixed graphical background image. It cannot be used as a template for other retrospective methods.
  • The assignment of the idea cards to one of the three columns is purely graphical. The results, therefore, cannot be exported in data-based formats like Excel because otherwise the assignment will be lost.
Benefits of templates based on facilitation cards:
  • Facilitation cards can be moved around on the IdeaClouds workspace. This means that you are not restricted to one column when assigning the cards to a category. You can freely use the entire area of the workspace.
  • The template can be customized as it allows you to modify facilitation cards, colors, and categories. You can use this template as an example for other retrospective templates e.g., Mad / Sad / Glad.
  • The assignment is semantic instead of graphical: The assignment to a category is based on data (category and color). These results can be exported in data-based formats like Excel.
How to start a retrospective meeting:
  1. Go to Start new workshop page.
  2. Enter topic, e.g. retrospective meeting.
  3. Click on the Next button.
  4. Open Advanced workshop settings.
  5. Choose teamwork technique Retrospective.
  6. Start workshop.
Create idea cards and assign them to a category:
  1. Double-click on the IdeaClouds workspace to create a new idea card.
  2. Enter your idea and a title.
  3. Assign the card to the corresponding category:

Something else you should know:

The new template is just an example of how to use a retrospective method with IdeaClouds. You can use your own customized retrospective method instead.

Just edit the default facilitation cards and categories to switch to another retrospective method e.g., Mad / Sad / Glad. Open the category menu and click on the pen icon to edit the categories:

We hope our new template will be beneficial for your next retrospective session and you will receive more feedback from your team. 👍

New “Permissions” feature released!

There are currently two permissions that you can use as a facilitator (more permissions will follow!): Lock facilitation cards and Block card creation.

When should you use permissions?

Who hasn’t experienced this scenario: As a facilitator, you laboriously prepare a template on the IdeaClouds workspace. The facilitation cards are arranged to your liking, and then the participants enter the workshop. Everything gets mixed up: The participants move the cards and write ideas on them.

After the brainstorming part of the workshop, the facilitator asks the participants to come to an end and to stop creating any more ideas. However, there is always one participant who continues to work, dragging out the meeting unnecessarily.

Benefits of Lock facilitation cards permission:
  • Facilitators can keep the facilitation cards arranged on the IdeaClouds workspace by preventing the participants from mixing up the cards.
  • Because participants cannot move the facilitation cards, they do not have to worry about accidentally destroying the arrangement of the facilitation cards.
Benefits of Block card creation permission:
  • Facilitators can stop the work of participants to adhere to the meeting time schedule, or if enough contributions have already been collected, to bring the team brainstorming to an end.
  • Participants can more easily keep to the allocated meeting time. No one is embarrassed by being a latecomer.

How to lock and unlock facilitation cards:

Facilitation cards are locked by default. Only the facilitators can lock and unlock the facilitation cards on the workspace. Proceed as follows if you want to unlock facilitation cards:

  1. Open the Permissions widget in the widget bar.
  2. Click on the Lock facilitation cards button.
  3. All facilitation cards are now unlocked for participants.
  4. To lock the facilitation cards again, click on the same button.

If the facilitation cards are locked, the participants cannot drag or edit them. A notification will appear if a participant tries to modify a locked facilitation card:

How to block card creation:

Only the facilitator can block card creation.

  1. Open the Permissions widget in the widget bar.
  2. Click on the Block card creation button.
  3. Participants can now not create new idea cards.
  4. To allow card creation again, click on the same button.

If card creation is blocked, the participants cannot create new idea cards on the workspace. A notification will appear if a participant tries to create new idea cards:

We trust these features will be useful for your next IdeaClouds facilitation. Happy brainstorming! 🙂

New “Open workshops” feature released!

We have released a new feature for our digital workshop tool (IdeaClouds) – open workshops! This new functionality is not just about access; it enables totally new use cases and improves your digital workshop experience!

When should you use them?

We recommend using open workshops if one or more of the following scenarios apply:

  • You do not know precisely who within a larger audience (e.g. communities, the public) will join your workshop
  • There is a high number of potential participants, but you know that only a fraction of them will attend.
  • You need to create a workshop quickly (e.g. during a web conference).
  • You are interested in working with more than the allowed number of participants asynchronously (e.g. to increase the audience for the evaluation of cards).
  • Strict restrictions for access to certain participants are not necessary.
  • The participants already have IdeaClouds accounts or can join via Single-Sign-On (SSO).

How do you start an open workshop?

You can enable open workshops on the start page while configuring your workshop. All you need to do is sliding the first option in the “Participants” section:

Open workshop setting in IdeaClouds

By choosing this option, you will no longer need to enter the email addresses of the participants.

After starting the workshop, you can copy and paste the link from your browser address bar and send it to the participants of your workshop via email, chat, or through a calendar entry! All registered IdeaClouds users will be able to access the workshop through this link.

How do you work in open workshops?

For facilitators:

  • You can free seats by removing participants that are currently online by clicking on the “X” icon on the avatar of the participant.
  • You will only be able see whether participants have completed their task while they are in the workshop.
  • As you may know, because of “social loafing” and awareness issues, only a limited number of participants are permitted to work synchronously in the same workshop. This number depends on your license plan. Now, with open workshops, there is no limit to asynchronous participation.

For participants:

  • Unlike private workshops, open workshops only allow you to see the avatar of the facilitator and of participants that are currently online.
  • IdeaClouds tells you when the limit for simultaneous participants for the open workshop has been reached. In this case, you would not be able to access the workshop. You would need to try accessing it later or asking the facilitator to free one or more seats (see above).

Something else you should know.

  • As you won’t be entering any email addresses, you will personally need to send the browser link via mailing list, calendar entry, chat, or other means.
  • For enterprise users: since the workshop is open within your platform, all registered users of your platform will have access to it. If your platform has additional access rules (e.g. IP or domain restrictions), those will still apply.