This technique helps you pool your collective experience and knowledge to develop new ideas about your project. It is also a great opportunity to encourage diversity of thought.

Use this to...

  • Develop new thinking.
  • Identify a range of factors that could affect a decision.
  • Prevent premature consensus around a hypothesis.

Try this...

Say what?! There’s no such thing as a bad idea in the brainstorming phase, so suspend judgement and let your imagination run riot.

Prioritize. Think about which ideas could have the most impact? What other hypotheses has your brainstorming uncovered? 

Go further. Now you’ve got your list, test your ideas with another technique. Try Devil's Advocacy to really find out if your ideas stand up to scrutiny.

Watch out for...

Attention! Informal conversations are great for generating ideas but ironically a brainstorming session works best when it’s structured. It helps break down bias and create new ways of looking at a situation. 

Diversity. Make sure you have a really good cross-section of perspectives - this diversity will drive you further. 

Steps...

  1. Phone a friend. This technique works best if you include someone who doesn’t work with your team every day.
  2. Align to the business theme and check for understanding.
    This marks the start of the divergent thinking stage.
  3. Write down every reaction you have to the business theme.
    Leverage the diversity of the group. All ideas welcome.
  4. Take time to pause two or three times during this phase.
    Taking a break helps new divergent ideas to form.
  5. Arrange your notes into buckets, selecting a phrase that best describes each one.
    Check for clarity and understanding.
  6. Scrap any ideas that don’t easily fit to your business theme.
    Hold on to any that may not fit here but have future potential.
  7. Assess what you have achieved in the session and agree on next steps.
    What have you uncovered here that can add value later in the sprint?

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