Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)

Agile Brainstorming Techniques

Being agile is not just about how much you can accelerate the pace of business. It’s about increasing effectiveness with less work. Being agile is being innovative. Before getting into brainstorming let’s look at two factors that prevent it from happening:

Micromanagers: This is the number one inhibitor in being an agile enterprise today. Micromanagers will absolutely kill your company. You need to change their ways or change them.

Hierarchic Chain of Command: Look at this as the absolute opposite of empowerment. You are not going to get the sweeping and continuous innovation if people aren’t empowered. Don’t kid yourself that the simple little “suggestion box” programs that corporations implement as a part of good PR has any resemblance to real empowerment.

Brainstorming is a group or individual creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its member(s). These meetings are used for solving a process problem, inventing new products or product innovation, solving inter-group communication problems, improving customer service, budgeting exercises, project scheduling, etc.

Effective Brainstorming Technique:

Set a basic ground rules to effective brainstorming. A basic set of ground rules for brainstorming is:

  • Attendance of all team members is expected

  • Check you baggage at the door

  • Start and end the sessions on time

  • Everyone is of equal rank while in the session

  • Team member comments will be kept confidential

  • Deal with issues, not personalities

  • Everyone participates, no side conversations

  • Reach consensus or request a decision from project sponsor

Now put the puzzle together- you are supposed to arrange the cards together on the table and determine which ideas are critical ones. This allows everyone to equally collaborate and voice out their views. Solve it as a team- the session is focused on a more in-depth discussion around the most important ideas, which are broken down into individual assigned tasks, if appropriate, or general consensus on the desired course of action is taken.

Who wants the lead designate an individual to facilitate the session and ensure that the philosophy is carried out appropriately to achieve the desired outcome of the meeting. Ready, Set, Goal- the facilitator will present a specific question or goal to the group to generate ideas or feedback.

The brainstorming process will not only produce ideas, but it can also be used to help develop ideas into specific action steps. Once ideas have been generated we need to separate jewels from junk, which can be done by

Clarifying – Moderator should make sure he repeats all the ideas and clarifies them so as everyone understands them

Correctly -Once this is done one of the team members should categorize ideas as themes And finally they need to be prioritized. This helps to focus a team's efforts to find workable solutions to the issue at hand And finally they are worked on based on highest priority

TIP: A process map is one the most effective way to identifying the work processes

The team first identifies the highest-level processes and then the sub-processes within each high level process. They define the data inputs required by each process and list the sources of the data. Their work also defines data outputs generated by each process and lists the destinations of the data outputs.


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