IMHO, it's certainly unnecessary to work out your *code* on a whiteboard (or similar).
However, if you are doing anything with complicated data structures, it is beyond useful to work them out in detail before you start using them.
This is especially true if someone else has to read or write your data structures.
"Show me your flowcharts and conceal your tables and I will remain mystified; show me your tables, and I won't need your flowcharts, because they will be obvious." -- St. Brooks
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