The nature of work has changed dramatically in recent times. Many more employees are working remotely and this has meant that virtual tools like online whiteboards have become important for a range of businesses, schools, colleges and other institutions.
Acting as virtual spaces for brainstorming, teaching, presenting ideas, and team collaboration, online whiteboards like Metro Retro, have become truly invaluable. However, these platforms are constantly evolving and innovating, so it’s important scrum masters and their teams keep up to date with the latest developments in this space.
As this is very much our wheelhouse, we thought we’d share our top online whiteboards, so you can start collaborating and organizing your workflows today in a more aesthetic way!
Rhyming conventions aside, let’s get started! Enjoy!
What is an Online Whiteboard?
In essence, an online whiteboard (also known as a virtual whiteboard) is an app or piece of software that replicates the functionality of a physical whiteboard.
This digital canvas enables real-time collaboration across multiple locations and stakeholders, helping teams run great virtual meetings, scrums, brainstorming sessions, mind mapping sessions, product management, retrospectives, and a whole bunch of other dev processes.
With advanced graphic capabilities, annotations, and the ability to integrate various media types, online whiteboards help teams bring their ideas to life in a versatile, accessible manner.
Why is an Online Whiteboard Important?
Online whiteboards facilitate collaborative teamwork by providing a cloud-based platform where ideas can be shared and organized wherever team members are, no matter the time of day.
This eliminates the limitations incurred by having to be in the same place at the same time, making development teams more efficient.
Improved Presentation of Visuals
With the capacity to incorporate digital charts and other visual aids, online whiteboards make conveying complex information both more manageable and more digestible for the recipient.
Their interactive features, like sticky notes and real-time voting systems, also make the work more fun and enjoyable.
On that same note, online whiteboards encourage active participation, elevating the quality of meetings and collaborative sessions.
They offer a level of interactivity and connectivity that traditional blackboards and whiteboards can’t match, making them a valuable tool in modern classrooms and workplaces.
Having features like real-time voting or amusing workflow templates are highly effective ways of improving member participation.
By making meetings enjoyable, you improve performance and results.
Criteria for Choosing an Online Whiteboard
Allows Easy Collaboration
The essence of an online whiteboard lies in its collaborative features. Choose a platform that makes sharing, commenting, and brainstorming effortless… and if it can make tasks fun or enjoyable, all the better.
With a variety of pricing models available, you are sure to be able to find an online whiteboard that fits your budget.
Many of the most popular tools provide free tiers with premium options for additional features or user capacities.
This will allow you to try out a number of different tools and work out which best suits your needs before committing any significant spending.
Data security is crucial when you’re using cloud-based platforms like online whiteboards.
Ensure that you look for a solution that complies with data protection regulations and allows you to control who has access to your boards.
Best Online Whiteboards
- Metro Retro – Best for Agile Meetings
- Figjam – Best for Design-led Workshops
- Lucidspark – Best for Diagramming
- Conceptboard – Best for Visual Collaboration
- Freehand – Low Pricing
- Stormboard – Best for Customized Reports
1 Metro Retro
Metro Retro is a virtual whiteboard that’s as feature heavy as it is easy to use.
It comes with a number of unique activities in addition to all the features you’d expect in an online whiteboard and has the best retrospectives in the game, bar none.
Whatever your team needs to do, from carrying out health checks to hosting remote meetings, undertaking a product management review to designing and defining new Agile processes, Metro Retro has everything you need to make collaboration more efficient, more engaging, and more productive.
Metro Retro Retrospectives let remote teams run productive, engaging, and fun retrospectives to help inspect and adapt their processes.
All boards are completely customizable and boast all the tools you’ll ever need (private writing, grouping & themes, voting, actions, import & export) so you can tailor your retro to the needs of the team, including how to run anonymous retrospectives.
With Metro Retro, you get powerful collaborative project planning with core features like timelines, task boards, and a load more.
Metro Retro facilitates the most productive remote meetings by providing everything you need to get your meeting scheduled and keep it on track including icebreakers, agendas, timers, voting, actions, presentation tools and facilitator controls.
Free – Limited board objects | A single shared workspace | Up to 30 team members
Team – Everything in Free plus unlimited board objects | Private workspaces | 2 free guests | Custom templates | $6/team member/month
Host – Pay for just hosts | Unlimited free guests | custom templates | Priority support | $25/host/month
Pros and Cons
- Great for team engagement
- Best retros anywhere
- Simple to use and easy to learn
- Lack of integrations
- No video/audio calling
Figjam is an online whiteboard used for brainstorming, diagramming, meetings & workshops, agile workflows, and a range of other online collaboration processes.
FigJam lets you work through complex user flows, processes, and systems with shapes and connectors that snap to your flowcharts.
Strategy & Planning
With Figjam, Agile teams can achieve greater alignment of tasks and scheduling through tools that improve strategic planning capabilities with enhanced transparency and coordination.
FigJam facilitates conversations that keep sprints moving forward in stand-ups, retros, and all other types of get-togethers.
Figjam has four different licenses:
Free – 3 Murals | unlimited personal profiles | unlimited collaborators | Mob App & music player + more
Figjam Professional – Everything in Free plus unlimited FigJam files | open sessions | sharing permissions | audio conversations & voting | $3/editor/month (billed annually)
Figjam Organization – Everything in Professional plus CCM | custom templates and color palettes | private widgets and plugins | single sign-on + more | $5/editor/month (billed annually)
Enterprise – Everything in Organization plus dedicated workspaces| advanced design systems and a ton more features, controls, and support | $5/editor/month (billed annually)
Pros and Cons
- Clean and simple UI
- No lag with multiple simultaneous users
- Simple drag and drop
- Lacks integrations with some common design tools
- Less attractive to teams that are not using Figma
- No offline version
Lucidspark is a web-based whiteboard app that allows team members to collaborate asynchronously or in real-time.
With Lucidspark, you can handle product management, carry out brainstorming or ideation sessions, address customer experience issues, and perform all your project and strategic planning.
Lucidspark has a large number of templates for every kind of collaborative endeavor.
A wide range of integrations to fit in seamlessly with your existing tech stack.
Easily tally votes on ideas in real-time and then visualize the results and group ideas by the number of votes.
Free – 3 editable Lucidspark boards | freehand drawing | basic visual activities
Individual – 3 editable Lucidspark boards | 1 GB of storage | premium visual activities | $7.95/month
Team – Everything in Individual plus | advanced controls | guest collaborations | voting + other advanced features | $9/user/month
Enterprise – Everything in Team plus advanced customizations, controls, features and integrations | Price available on request.
Pros and Cons
- Flexible diagramming tool
- A broad set of integrations, including Jira
- Interactive meeting agendas
- Rudimentary sharing capabilities
- Some tutorials aren’t up to scratch
- A limited number of templates
Conceptboard is an online workspace for collaborating and centralized document storage.
This solution has found a lot of recognition recently, not least with G2, who have deemed it a worthy winner of numerous accolades.
Conceptboard board comes with an infinite canvas, one of the most important and beneficial features a virtual whiteboard can have.
Maintain complete control over your boards by granting collaborators 3 different levels of access permissions.
See who changed what & restore your board to any point in time via a time-lapse of the board’s complete history.
Conceptboard has 6 different licenses:
Free – 3 Murals | for individuals | basic visual collaboration tools
Premium – For small teams (under 10 members) | $6/member/month (billed annually)
Business – For larger businesses and teams | 10+ members | $9.50/member/month (billed annually)
Enterprise, Public Sector, and Data Center Edition – license features & prices available on request.
Pros and Cons
- Board history is very handy
- Strong audio & video calling feature
- Easy to navigate
- Can be slow and laggy
- Limited integrations
- Struggles with embedded media
Freehand is a whiteboard with bidirectional integrations and real-time on-canvas planning that has everything Agile teams need to deliver their projects, including daily scrums, sprint planning, retrospectives, and more.
Real-Time Multiplayer Canvas
A workspace for teams to get work done in real-time or asynchronously.
Create end-to-end clarity by visualizing and connecting your team’s data to make decisions and share insights at scale.
Seamlessly connect to the tools your team already uses every day. Make changes on the canvas and keep everything in sync.
Free – Workspace with 3 editable freehands | Up to 30 active users | Unlimited public and private spaces
Pro – Everything in Free plus unlimited workspace with unlimited freehands | Up to 50 active users | $4/user/month (billed annually)
Enterprise – Everything in Pro plus per seat or flat-rate pricing, no user limits | Single sign-on with SSO permissions | Multi-factor authentication (MFA) | Unlimited private and secure workspaces with unlimited freehands for every team + more | Prices on request
Pros and Cons
- Ability to embed external files and view them on the board without having to move out of freehand (YouTube, PowerPoint, etc.)
- Incredible feature set
- Allows wireframes to be created quickly and easily
- Limited number of sticky notes and text colors can be an issue when lots of people are involved
- Grouping and arranging objects can be tricky
- Overly complex permission settings for things like sharing
Stormboard is a data-first collaborative workflow platform and digital whiteboard that has been built to turn unstructured interactions into data-rich collaborative workspaces.
StormAI is Stormboard’s Augmented Intelligence co-collaborator. StormAI lets you brainstorm bigger, solve problems quicker, create plans faster, and come up with completely new ideas using advanced machine learning, natural language processing, and other artificial intelligence techniques.
Stormboard gives you 250 customizable templates, including infinite canvas, Agile integration sections, and workflow templates.
With Stormboard, you can create fully customized, branded, and editable stakeholder-ready documents in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, or Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
Personal – 5 open storms | 5 users per storm | Microsoft Office & Google Drive (view only)
Business – Everything in Personal plus unlimited open storms with unlimited users per storm | Up to 10 guests | Full Microsoft Office 365 and Google Drive integrations plus more | $8.33/user/month (billed annually)
Enterprise – Everything in Business plus full access to StormAI | Single sign-on with SSO permissions | Customized training and support plus more | Prices available on request
Pros and Cons
- Excellent reporting mechanisms
- Great customizations in templates
- Simple to use and easy to navigate
- Slows down with large groups/parallel users (20+)
- Free version is pretty limited
- Limited color options for sticky notes
As you can see, online whiteboards have come on leaps and bounds, especially in the post-2020 world where remote working has become more popular than ever. Online whiteboards have helped remote teams streamline collaboration, so that even while apart, everyone can have an input on projects and work towards a unified goal.
There are now a significant number of digital whiteboards and collaborative platforms that each offer a fantastic subset of core features and additional functionality to make remote collaboration more efficient and more engaging for Agile teams.
If you are looking for a new online whiteboard, or considering whether your existing toolset is really giving everything you need and want at a fair price, then you might want to give Metro Retro a try.
You can set up a free team space straight away and start getting to grips with a collaborative solution built to engage and delight agile teams working together.