What I Wish I’d Known Before I Built My First Board in monday

Increase your ABILITY

What I Wish I’d Known Before I Built My First Board in monday

You won’t like your first board

When I began using monday I understood, academically at least, what the tool could do. When it came down to actually building my first board, though, I fell into what I now call “Excel hangover.” I used the columns and rows in monday like data cells in old faithful. Then I learned about the connect boards column and mirroring, reassessed my board, scrapped most of it and rebuilt it as a group of boards all connected. Then I learned about single source of truth, and the benefits of operating in that paradigm. Again I scrapped my boards and rebuilt my workspace. Ultimately my growing breadth and depth of information necessitated some kind of summary, and I built my first dashboard. The way my boards were organized didn’t actually organize the data in a way that it could be digested and presented by the dashboard, and so again I scrapped my boards and rebuilt them.

Your first board isn’t going to be perfect. In fact it’s probably going to be awful. But while building it you will learn new tricks, and while building the revised version with those tricks you will learn yet more tricks, and so on. This iterative process will lead to constant learning and improvement, but it can’t begin until you build your first board. Looking back at it you’ll likely be oddly embarrassed at how bad it is yet proud of how far you’ve come when you look at your current boards. Clicking that first click can be daunting, but remember that if you know how to use excel you can already use monday. The rest will come with practice.

Draw a picture of your workflow

I’m a visual thinker, so this may not apply to everyone but it definitely helps me. When I built my first board I just started building: Add column type, enter information, repeat. I walked that path looking straight at my feet and when I finally looked up, forgot where I was going in the first place.

Draw a map. Which board is your single source of truth? Which boards house metadata? Which boards are data entry boards, which are reporting boards? When you have a diagram and can trace the path of a piece of information—whether it’s a lead, task, dollar, or project—from creation to completion, then you’re ready to start building your boards. You wouldn’t start building a house without a blueprint, treat creating your workspace and workflow with the same care and you’ll save a lot of ‘deconstruct and reconstruct’ hours in the future.

Start at the end

Too often my board construction began with “what do I have.” I looked at the information I had, made a column for it, and moved on. This leads to problems down the road, though, because that information may need to be organized, broken out, labelled or presented in different ways depending upon how you want it summarized later.

Before you start building your boards, figure out what information is most important to you: What are the metrics you care most about? What are your KPIs? When you sit down every day and open monday.com, what are the first and most important pieces of information you want to see? With that understanding, work backwards and design your boards to house the data in a way that reflects your vision. There is no wrong way to do things in monday—the flexibility of the platform lets you accomplish what you want to how you want to—but that does leave the door open for less-than-optimal execution. By working backwards from your desired output, you can ensure that the information you care most about is always just one click away.