I love my pens.
They have been used on every team and project I’ve been on and several times just for my planning or thoughts.
I’m a fan of both low fidelity agile ( cards and stickies ), and drawings in particular. They do come in handy and are of good quality to do some marking around.
However I’ve never used them as props before yesterday. I was speaking with a developer about an idea for a story that would let the users select data to report on. It’s a complex problem to be sure and as I was explaining the idea, he picked up the markers and used them as data elements, he moved them around and showed how you might want to send these colors in one case, and the same colors in a slightly different order with different colors in other cases. I was thrilled to see that the concept was in his head and he was able to tell it back, in his own words, using a tool that clearly communicated he got it. I’m sure the concept will iterate further and be a valuable story for the product, but those moments of discovery are a great part of my job.
It also further cemented the idea that I want to use some Lego’s we have lying around the house to build physical models of ideas ( data elements, sprint plans, story complexity, etc ) and manipulate them on a table instead of a program or on a wall. The interaction, and ability to rapidly communicate concepts and ideas seem like a good way to work.