What is Mural and how do you use it?
Great question! Mural is a virtual collaboration whiteboard you can use anytime and anywhere. It is the perfect platform for CANA’s virtual team members who are located throughout the United States and Canada. With such a widespread group, finding communication and collaboration solutions is key to our success.
Mural is able to import website links, documents, photos, and graphics. Mural is one of CANA’s project management “go to” tools for collaborating on-line with clients and the CANA team. Our project managers can create templates to design, plan, and execute tasks for a project based on multiple contributors’ input, synthesize the collected data, and reach a decision faster than using other traditional techniques. Mural has proven to be outstanding for virtual collaboration and getting every person on the same page.
A recent example of a CANA project use case
Originally, CANA selected this platform to plan and execute the Future Unmanned Logistics Systems (ULS) Energy Logistics Enabling Distributed Operations (FUELED Ops) Virtual Demonstration Day and Design Think Workshop. We needed an on-line platform to collaboratively and simultaneously capture multiple users’ inputs into event design, planning, and coordination. We used Mural to visually map out and plan the event. This gave the planning team a visual representation of the event and kept all of the key information in one place.
This dashboard had 16 different planning boards, and one of these included a storyboard used to plan out the narrative for the virtual event. As a virtual team, it was very important to put together the client’s vision in a way they could readily understand. It increased client confidence that the event would be successful, and their story clearly and accurately conveyed, to the event’s audience.
This is the storyboard mural board the FUELED Ops team used for the event’s dry run. This event showcased the market research and modeling and simulation and provided an unmanned system demonstration for the FUELED Ops Program’s Year 1 efforts.
In addition, during the event, CANA held brainstorming sessions to bring concepts into reality. The Mural board display below was an activity we conducted to come up with a common operational view. The board on the left shows the ideas for the “game pieces” and what we thought the operational concept should look like. The final result, on the right, is a 3D island model and includes game pieces created by CANA’s Graphics Artist. The team was able to use the game pieces and copy and paste them into the island visual to create several operating concepts. This provided an exciting and interactive experience to the FUELED Ops participants.
CANA also hosted the FUELED Ops Design Thinking Workshop after the virtual demonstration. The information from the event will feed into the FUELED Ops Program Year 2 efforts. CANA was excited to host this event, having understood the challenges of how to achieve the best results in a virtual environment. Below are the morning and afternoon session activity boards used to diverge and converge on the future of unmanned logistics systems in the military.
A few examples of CANA operations use cases
A great feature of Mural is that it is completely customizable, and a team can create the board in a way that will work for them. Two great CANA examples are our lessons learned activities and the on-boarding of new employees. We conduct lessons learned activities on Mural to have meaningful conversations in a judgment-free, neutral zone. As a team, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our communication, and Mural allows us to create a space for everyone to add their thoughts and have open discussions. The tool also has a voting feature that allows us to vote on important issues and prioritize them.
Another example is the CANA new employee on-boarding Mural board. We created this board to conduct an easy first-day orientation with documents, presentations, files, and more to help our newest employees understand what to expect for the first day, week, and month. Mural makes it easy to customize these boards for each employee - we can publish a template and customize it specifically to the individual. CANA’s newest Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellow, Neil Young, recently used our on-boarding Mural board, and he commented, “[c]ompleting my onboarding using Mural has been extremely helpful, especially with having diagrams, training, contact information, documents, and the ability to collaborate on tasks in real-time.”
Mural works well for CANA, could it work well for you?
Mural has helped our virtual company collaborate with, and understand one another, in a way much like being in person. It's a very diverse tool kit full of unique features that fit our specific needs, and it works well for CANA. We continue to build new use cases every week using this tool. Does your company use Mural? If so, we would love to hear how you are using the platform!
Hannah, a key Project Manager at CANA Advisors, played an instrumental role in designing, planning, and coordinating the FUELED Ops event and was pivotal to its success. She brings curiosity and commitment to CANA's project management practice - as demonstrated by her research and assessment of MURAL as a force multiplier to our client engagements - and she is a leader within our team often engaging and implementing new technologies and efficiencies. If you'd like to learn more about Hannah Wallace or CANA's project management practice, please reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.