Brainstorming Workbooks


Tap Directly Into Your Creative Mind... And Easily Access YOUR Million-Dollar Ideas Ideas are the lifeblood of success... and the best ideas originate with brainstorming. Brainstorming can help you successfully fix any problem, build any business, generate any plan, or develop any story. But the problem is that most people have no clue how to effectively brainstorm - either by themselves or with groups. You can waste a lot of time coming up with old, boring ideas that won't work... and the whole time you actually believe that you are brainstorming.

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Brainstorming methods

There are three primary brainstorming methods Each has advantages and disadvantages that the group or discussion leader will have to weigh before determining which one would be best to accomplish desired results. In some cases, the best method may be a combination of the various brainstorming methods. For instance, the brainstorming session may start with a round robin or slip method and move into a free-wheeling method to add more ideas.

Step Brainstorming Problems and Improvements

My assumption in this discussion is that you have formed a continuous improvement task force and it is that task force that is using the problem-solving model. Based on the task force members' specific understanding of the knowledge area or process within a knowledge area and its PD and PP maturity levels, the underlying problems and improvement opportunities might come to light through a brainstorming session. The benefit here is that the openness of a brainstorming session tends to bring out opinions and suggestions that might otherwise be held back. This is important because we do not want to miss any opportunities for improvement. Getting all of the task force's ideas on the table gives them the best chance of correcting the maturity anomaly.

Brainstorming example

There are many advanced brainstorming techniques beyond the basic three mentioned above. Two of the most popular of these advanced techniques are nominal group techniques and affinity diagrams. Nominal group technique. Nominal group technique is a refinement of brainstorming. It provides a more structured discussion and decision-making technique. The nominal group techniques allow time for individual idea generation. This can be anytime. Sometimes, if the subject is not too complex, the team may only have 5 to 10 minutes. For a complex issue, the team may be asked to generate their ideas between team meetings. Once the ideas are generated, the nominal group technique then allows the leader to survey the opinions of the group about the ideas generated. Finally, nominal group technique leads the group to set priorities and focus on consensus. The nominal group technique steps can be summarized as follows

Brainstorming Dependencies and Activities

In this case, you must invent the activities through brainstorming with your project team, group them and arrange them into a WBS, and then find all the dependencies using the information presented earlier in this chapter. To help with the invention of new activities, use the nominal group technique described in the next section. It is simple to use and extremely valuable for collecting balanced input and ideas from those on the project team. Then you can lead the team in finding dependencies amongst the activities as described in the Process for Identifying New Dependencies section.


Brainstorming is a simple but very effective method of associative or lateral thinking. Brainstorming in particular is one of the most current methods of mobilising a group of people and their minds in a collective effort of analysing and solving a problem, developing a concept or strategy, or planning projects, programmes or actions, etc. Brainstorming is normally moderated and visualised, the moderator being the person who organises the brainstorming process and its visualisation. For a well prepared brainstorming session, it is useful to have a moderator who knows the subject well and understands the context of the process. A person without this information but with experience in moderating may also serve. It is important that the moderator is, or pretends to be neutral throughout the whole process. The moderator is no more than the master of the rules and the steward of visualisation certainly not a person to decide about wrong or right, good or bad. He or she is the organiser of...

Workshop participants

The selection of participants for a brainstorming workshop is very important. They should be chosen to include expertise from a cross section of disciplines and stakeholders that covers all areas of interest in the project. This may require people external to the project team to be included. Where time and resources permit, all members of the project team should attend the brainstorming session, including functional unit members assigned to the project on a part-time basis. People who might be included in a brainstorming group are As well as specialists and stakeholders, there are often advantages to including a 'creative outsider' in a brainstorming workshop. This may be an 'intelligent layperson' who can ask questions and make suggestions that are outside the standard ways of thinking about the problem, thus stimulating different approaches and ideas.

Information Gathering

Information gathering encompasses several techniques, including brainstorming, the Delphi technique, interviewing, and root cause identification. The goal of these techniques is to end up with a comprehensive list of risks at the end of the meeting. Let's take a quick look at each of these techniques. Brainstorming Brainstorming is probably the most often used technique of the Identify Risks process. You've probably used this technique many times for many purposes. Brainstorming involves getting subject matter experts, team members, risk management team members, and anyone else who might benefit the process in a room and asking them to start identifying possible risk events. The trick here is that one person's idea might spawn another idea, and so on so that by the end of the session you've identified all the possible risks. The facilitator could start the group off by going through the categories of risks to get everyone thinking in the right direction. This technique is mentioned in...

Focus on Total Installed Cost

Following brainstorming sessions and subsequent analysis, a written Strategy to Minimize Total Installed Cost was adopted, addressing key elements of engineering, procurement, and construction with specific directions to achieve the objectives. This document was widely distributed and updated regularly. Some of the elements were

Stage Oneidentifying Risks

The first stage, identifying risks, begins with brainstorming. Ask the group to brainstorm all the things that could go wrong with the project. Give each team member a set of self-stick notes and a marker and ask them to record the risks as they identify them. Tape a piece of banner paper to the wall and let people call out the risks, write them down, and then walk up to the paper and slap the self-stick note on the wall, all at the same time. Don't take turns. Everyone should brainstorm together. This brainstorming method is called Write it Say it Slap it and it's another example of a team-based tool that uses all three learning styles visual (self-stick notes), auditory (say it ) and kinesthetic (slap it ). (See Chapter 3, principle 4 for more information on learning styles.) When brainstorming, it's important to keep these simple rules in mind Make sure each idea is recorded and posted on paper. It's best to use self-stick notes that are then posted on flip-chart or banner paper....

Identification of opportunities

The processes for identifying opportunities are similar to those used for identifying risks, described in Chapter 3. In much of our own work, we favour a structured brainstorming approach, but 'opportunity workshops' need to be conducted carefully and often differently from workshops that focus only on risks. On some occasions, the process of identifying project risks and associated treatment actions will also result in the identification of opportunities. For instance, the successful resolution of a particular risk may open up significant opportunities for the project. Workshop and brainstorming sessions should be flexible enough to allow for this.

Creativity And Problem Solving

Brainstorming is still the best-known and best-understood technique for stimulating creativity. Its ground rule is no judgment of the different contributions. To make sure everyone gets a chance to contribute, the facilitator can give each person the floor by going around the room and asking each person for his or her input.

For the exam dont forget that you define probability and impact values during the Plan Risk Management process

If the risk impact scale has not been previously defined, develop one for the project as early in the Planning processes as possible. You can use any of the techniques I talked about earlier in the section Tools and Techniques for Identify Risk, such as brainstorming or the Delphi technique, to come up with the values for probability and impact.

How to Transfer What Youve Learned to Others

You should include input from all key stakeholders in your study, with you and the project team typically taking a leading role in organizing and carrying out the study. The format and structure of your lessons learned sessions (i.e., the logistics) can vary, but it is often done in a team meeting context, using an approach similar to brainstorming.

Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats SWOT

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (also known as SWOT analysis) is a technique that examines the project from each of these viewpoints. It also requires exam-ing the project from the viewpoint of the project itself and from project management processes, resources, the organization, and so on to identify risks, including those that are generated internally to the project. Strengths and weaknesses are generally related to issues that are internal to the organization. Strengths examine what your organization does well and what your customers, or the marketplace, view as your strengths. Weaknesses are areas the organization could improve upon. Typically negative risks are associated with the organization's weaknesses and positive risks are associated with its strengths. Opportunities and threats are usually external to the organization. SWOT analysis is sometimes known as internal-external analysis and can be used in combination with brainstorming techniques to help...

Selecting the Best Alternative

Obviously, you can't pursue every idea identified through processes like brainstorming. After soliciting all reasonable alternative solutions, the project team needs to pare the list down to only those that are worthy of further development, investigation, and definition. You can reduce the list by comparing each alternative against predetermined criteria.

The customer experience starts the design

The brainstorming sessions should clarify how and where to start design work. Many of the early ideas generated in brainstorming probably describe some way to design the system to solve a problem. Each one of those ideas has at least one visual representationin terms of how the software or web site would actually look to someone trying to use itthat can be sketched out and discussed without writing a single line of code. (If the project is an embedded system or an OS kernelsystems that have no tangible user interfacethen attention should be paid to what conditions are never acceptable.) Here is one of the sample problems I listed in Chapter 3 it is hard to find commonly used items on the home page. Let's assume that after a brainstorming session, three decent ideas were found

Understanding How This Applies to Your Next Project

My two favorite Identify Risks techniques are brainstorming and the Nominal Group Technique. Both techniques help you quickly get to the risks with the greatest probability and impact because, more than likely, these are the first risks that come to mind. Identify Risks can also help the project team find alternative ways of completing the work of the project. Further digging and the ideas generated from initial identification might reveal opportunities or alternatives you wouldn't have thought about during the regular Planning processes. I have used brainstorming and the Nominal Group Technique to strategize response plans for risks on small projects. When you're working on a small project, you can typically identify, quantify, and create response plans for risks at one meeting.

The bubblechart format

The bubble-chart format in Figure 4-7 is particularly effective for supporting the brainstorming process for both small and large projects. You interpret the bubble chart as follows The freeform nature of the bubble chart makes it effective for easily recording thoughts generated in a brainstorming process. You can also easily rearrange activities as you proceed with your analysis.

Global Technology Solutions

Tim then asked what specific activities or tasks the team would have to do to create the test results report. For the next ten minutes, the entire team brainstormed ideas. Tim dutifully wrote each idea on the board without judgment and only asked for clarification or help spelling a particular word. After working together for only a short time, the team had already adopted an unwritten rule that no one was to evaluate an idea until after they finished the brainstorming activity. They had found that this encouraged participation from everyone and allowed for more creative ideas. 2. Why should the project team members not be too quick to judge the ideas and suggestions provided during a brainstorming session

Presentation objective example

The outline of the presentation should be geared to accomplish the objective. When preparing the presentation outline, consider the audience, understand how the recommendation affects others, and outline the organization-wide benefits. The audience may be supportive or unreceptive. Conduct a force field analysis to determine the restraining forces and driving forces of the audience. At the same time, consider how the recommendation affects others. Anticipate objections. Again, conduct a force field analysis to determine driving forces of any known objections to your proposal. Further, outline the organization-wide benefits through brainstorming and data collection.

Chapter Identifying the Tasks and Activities

Creating the Work Breakdown Structure, building a product-oriented work breakdown structure (WBS) involves decomposing a large activity (the whole project) into successively smaller activities (top-down approach) until the work is described in detail to manage properly. Alternatively, it involves brainstorming everything that needs to be done as detailed activities and arranging them until enough are present to carry out and manage the work (bottom-up approach). In either case, identifying the right activities for the work is paramount.

Gathering information to identify real risks

I Brainstorming Be sure to document all ideas regarding risk identification. The idea that you omit because it sounds lame could end up being the best idea of all. Another reason to accept all ideas is so that no one feels that their idea is too dumb to be accepted. You never want someone with an idea to avoid raising his or her hand because this could potentially keep you from discovering some valuable information. i Delphi This strategy is sort of like anonymous brainstorming. You and others provide your input on risk identification but no one knows who submitted particular ideas.

Defining Potential Security Project Solutions

In traditional project management, once you have defined the problem and the desired outcome, you begin thinking about potential security project solutions, which is done by brainstorming ideas and narrowing the resulting list down to the solutions that fit both the problem and the outcome. The list of choices is further narrowed by looking at which potential solution is the most viable for your specific circumstances. In this case, you cannot identify potential solutions until you identify the required components of security.The objective at this stage is to identify (at the corporate IT security project level) the relative scope of your project. Another potential solution might be to hire a security expert, or you might decide to send one or more IT staff to

Step Project Portfolio Strategic Alignment

Once a governance structure is established, decision makers are able to focus on the objectives of the business and portfolio. The PMO typically gathers the relevant decision makers, often C-level personnel (for example, the CIO and CFO, senior vice presidents, and senior business unit leaders), to brainstorm, define, and structure their objectives into a hierarchy. (The terms objective, criteria, and attribute are often interchanged in the literature of decision making. For this chapter, the term objective will be used because it expresses intentionality and more directly identifies the purpose sought. Moreover, experience indicates that organizations that focus on the accomplishment of objectives are more likely to do just that.) This step is often the most challenging because it requires leaders to collaborate about the nature of the problem or decision. They must consider all objectives for the business or portfolio and ultimately align the portfolio objectives as best as possible...

Developing and selecting feasible risk treatment responses

From the review, a list of responses to the risk should be generated. The methods for this are similar to those for risk identification brainstorming with a selected team to generate ideas examining the lessons learned in similar activities, or using ideas generated in similar projects and utilizing previous organizational and other experience captured in the form of checklists. The material in the preceding sections of this chapter may provide a guide.

Chapter Considering Dependencies

We will discuss what dependencies are, and some of the types found in scheduling activities. We'll explore some typical dependencies in a software development project. And we'll look at a brainstorming technique for identifying activities and dependencies when life cycle model activities are not already available to modify into a workable project plan. All of these explorations will help us build a realistic and believable schedule in Chapter 15. Scheduling the Work. In this chapter, we'll be introduced to some of the concepts of activity representation in a network diagram and we'll complete the coverage in Chapter 15 on scheduling, when we bring all the pieces together to build an actual schedule.

Principle Participation process

Their interests and responsibilities. This consequence implies a non-hierarchical approach to improvement and learning processes. Problem-solving processes must be organised in a way that gives each contribution its own special right, since it is based on a specific experience and view of the problem. The same applies to learning. The apparently clear-cut roles of teachers and learners get blurred in the process of a common learning process where everybody feeds in his her special experience and questions. Again, modern brainstorming and moderation methods (Metaplan techniques of visualisation, mind mapping and other brain-writing instruments, etc.) can be of great importance for organising such joint learning processes.

Case Study B Stoveburden Trucking Company

Improvement initiatives may be little more than educated guesses at the ideas and activities that have the potential of improving the maturity level of a process or knowledge area. Remember, they may have come as a result of a brainstorming session. Even though they are the task force's educated guesses, they are expected to result in some level of improvement. That expectation may even be stated quantitatively. As a result, we have to continuously monitor the actual improvement and take the necessary steps to continue to deliver improvements until that expectation is met or it is clear that it cannot be met following the current approach. In this chapter we will take a much closer look at the performance of those improvement initiatives and develop action plans to reach specific maturity level goals.

Just the facts Written reports

However, written reports do have drawbacks. They don't allow your audience to ask questions to clarify the content, meaning, and implication of your message. With written reports, you can't verify that your audience received and interpreted your message as you intended. In addition, reports don't enable you to pick up nonverbal signals that suggest your audience's reactions to the message, and they don't support interactive discussion and brainstorming about your message. Most important, you may never know whether your audience even read the report

Approaches to identification

Identification of sources and responses can be an individual activity or involve other people in a variety of ways, including interviewing individuals, interviewing groups, or various group processes such as brainstorming and decision conferencing. A key concern is to stimulate imaginative thinking and draw on the experiences of different individuals.

Chapter Five Where ideas come from

The less-than-surprising truth about the origins of ideas is that they come from people. No idea in the history of mankind has ever come from a pile of large rocks, a warm mound of dirt, or a bundle of sharp, pointy sticks. Nor have ideas come from self-help books, creativity seminars, or brainstorming sessions. While ideas might be presented or consumed through these things, it's the people who create them that are the source. It follows then that on projects, it's individualsand not processes, methodologies, or committeeswho come up with ideas and figure out ways to apply them toward the work that needs to be done.

Teams Adopt Various Working Styles

The random group style is a brainstorming style for finding a creative solution to a difficult or controversial problem. When meetings are well run, with a precise schedule and agenda, people are often reluctant to disrupt the proceedings. More chaotic meetings are much less intimidating. Since random group meetings are purposefully chaotic, it is easier for people to speak up. An example of a random group is Sally's team. While the team was discussing project risks, Sally stood at the front of the group and asked the members to randomly suggest risks, which she listed on the board. She let the team members discuss whatever risks they thought of, but she prevented them from evaluating or comparing any items. She asked that they hold any discussion for later so that they could initially focus on ideas. She kept the team in brainstorming mode until everyone had run out of ideas. When all of the risks they could think of were listed on the board, Sally led the group in an open-group...

Deliverables of the Second Consensus Meeting

Once the present has been discussed, the meeting moves into the future. As you start to talk about the future, there should be no constraints, such as budget or time, placed on the initial discussions. In the beginning, the team members can express whatever ideas come to mind to allow a brainstorming session. If a team member feels that, in the past, their job has been made difficult by deficient software, then their input will be valuable in determining exactly the sort of functionality that the new product should embrace. Therefore, it is vital that they are allowed a say as we start to drill down to the third level goals that will provide the foundation for the design of the product. By far, one of the most powerful tools in any brainstorming or consensus type meeting is a simple yellow sticky pad. You can write each goal onto a separate piece of yellow sticky paper and stick it to a page based on its ranking. If another goal is found that outranks this one, you can just stick it...

How Do I Spot Problems

The best way to do this is to have a brainstorming session with the team (and or your managers and users) to get a list of possible problems. Assess the impact and likelihood of each on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), and multiply the two numbers to give you a severity rating. Then, for the most severe potential problems, develop an action plan (for prevention if possible) and an outline contingency plan (in case you can't prevent it). Give someone on the team the job of tracking any indicators you can think of, so you get the maximum warning of the need to activate the contingency plan.

Move it along Meetings that Work

Meetings don't have to be painful experiences. If you plan and manage them well, meetings can be effective. They can help you find out about other team members' backgrounds, experiences, and styles stimulate brainstorming, problem analysis, and decision-making and provide a forum to explore the reasons and interpretations of a message.

Perspective and improvisation

I found that improv class helped me to step out of my job and my relationships and grow in ways I couldn't while inside those things. Helping this along were the four rules we used during in-class games to help us stay aware and keep ideas flowing. I found later on that they transferred easily into design discussions and small-group brainstorming meetingssituations where the goal was to seek out new ideas and create a big list of concepts and thoughts to be reviewed later.

Improvisational rules for idea generation

To do the improvisational game for brainstorming (warning it's not good for deep design thinking), you need a few things a small group of people (2-8), a comfortable room, a nice chunk of dedicated time, at least one problem definition relevant to the project, and someone at a whiteboard to write down short descriptions of each idea people suggest. If people need the whiteboard to explain ideas, that's OK. But since the goal is volume, detail shouldn't be the focus.

Good or bad compared to what

Thus, the real craft of problem solving and creative thinking is knowing which constraints to use or ignore and when to do so. I've seen super-creative people arrive at my door with fantastic ideas three weeks past the last possible date I could have used them. I've also been in brainstorming meetings for tiny, under-funded projectsalready behind schedulewhere people offered their biggest, most radical, out-of-the-box ideas, which only infuriated the entire team because not a single one of the good ideas came anywhere near the final project plan.

Soft Systems Approach

Coming into the 1990's, this thought was accepted mainly in Europe and got attention. Japan, on the other hand, took notice early of the necessity for this sort of approach, brain storming, KJ method, and work design had been used earlier and they are familiar thoughts for them - refer to Concept and Problem Formulation Technique, P124.

Using Alternative Identification

To do alternative identification, the project management team will do research, brain-storming, and lateral thinking. Their focus is to identify all of the feasible alternatives to the project's deliverable or even components within the project. Alternative identification also broaches a quality topic grade. Grade is the ranking of materials or service, such as first class versus coach or plywood versus oak wood. We'll see this again in Chapter 8.

Assessing Project Risks

It is usually best to list risks first, then to think about contingencies for dealing with them. One approach is to divide a flipchart page in half and have the group brainstorm the risks, which are tabulated down the left side of the page. You then come back and list contingencies things you can do about risks if they do materialize.

Options For Scheduling

What happens if you just can't meet the deadline date If your project priorities indicate that schedule is more important than costs, you might be able to buy time. You can do this by adding resources to the schedule, such as outside consulting help. If the schedule is more important than scope, then reducing scope may be an option. Brainstorm a couple of different options for narrowing the scope (assuming you must meet the deadline and cost limits), and present these options to the sponsor and customer. That allows them to make a choice about how to best spend the resources time and money of the project.

Communicating with Customers

FogBugz is not just a piece of software for managing cases. It's also a support system for communicating with your customers. This communication happens in two ways. First, there's a comprehensive e-mail system that both allows e-mail into the system and sends responses back out. Second, there's a full-featured discussion group implementation. You can use discussion groups to gather customer feedback on new features, brainstorm new ways to market your product, or just provide a virtual place for people to relax and chat. In this chapter, I'll show you how to use these aspects of FogBugz.

Steps In Managing A Project

How many different ways might you go about solving the problem Brainstorm solution alternatives (you can do this alone or as a group). Of the available alternatives, which do you think will best solve the problem Is it more or less costly than other suitable choices

Defining Interim Deliverables

The best way to develop your list of interim deliverables is to brainstorm them with your project team. Write the name of the final deliverable ) on a self-stick note and place it on a piece of flip-chart or banner paper attached to the wall. Then ask team members to write down the name of each interim deliverable that will be produced in order to create that final deliverable. Write each interim deliverable on a self-stick note and place it on the paper.

Fixing the Problem of XFlow at Mega Fund

The politics heated up as individual companies escalated their causes. It seemed that a solution would be very difficult to find. The MegaFund ScrumMaster, Jack, and I sat down to brainstorm with Geoff. Did Scrum offer anything that could help him and save XFlow We focused on the Sprint review and Sprint planning meetings. Would it help if Geoff facilitated a meeting like these for the engineers and customers Neither the engineers nor the customers had given Geoff the authority to create or prioritize a Product Backlog and they weren't likely to, either but perhaps he could facilitate a session where this would naturally occur.

Using different methods to keep them involved

Group meetings These are planned sessions for some or all team members or audiences. Smaller meetings are useful to brainstorm project issues, reinforce team-member roles, and develop mutual trust and respect among team members. Larger meetings are useful to present information of general interest.

Identifying Risks Risk List

You may use a variety of methods to identify risks. One method starts with the assumptions your team felt necessary in order to develop project-work estimates. Each of these assumptions represents a risk of not being true. You may use checklists, such as the one included in R. Max Wideman's Appendix A 2 . You may use computer assistants, such as included in some software offerings 7 . You may simply get your project team together and brainstorm a list to start with (this is the approach I usually take). You may evaluate the problems encountered by previous similar projects. Coming up with the list is usually the easy part. You will never be able to predict the future, so you will never be able to come up with a complete project-risk list. It would be infinitely long anyway and not very useful to your team. Instead, you should seek to obtain a representative list of the type of risks likely to confront your specific project during its time of execution.

Identifying activities

Oou Course Outlines

The activity-based approach The activity-based approach consists of creating a list of all the activities that the project is thought to involve. This might involve a brainstorming session involving the whole project team or it might stem from an analysis of similar past projects. When listing activities, particularly for a large project, it might be helpful to subdivide the project into the main life style stages and consider each of these separately.

What Fears Do Executives Have About Project Management

Central Station Monitoring Panel

10-16 Brainstorming at United Central Bank (Part I) As part of the 1989 strategic policy plan for United Central Bank, the president, Joseph P. Keith, decided to embark on weekly brainstorming meetings in hopes of developing creative ideas that could lead to solutions to the bank's problems. The bank's executive vice president would serve as permanent chairman of the brainstorming committee. Personnel representation would be randomly selected under the constraint that 10 percent must be from division managers, 30 percent from department managers, 30 percent from section-level supervisors, and the remaining 30 percent from clerical and nonexempt personnel. President Keith further decreed that the brainstorming committee would criticize all ideas and submit only those that successfully passed the criticism test to upper-level management for review. After six months, with only two ideas submitted to upper-level management (both ideas were made by division managers), Joseph Keith formed...

Setting Boundary Conditions

135 Brainstorming Method

Use the Is Is Not technique to help draw crisp boundaries around the project scope and its objectives individually. This technique is simple. For each goal or objective, your team uses brainstorming techniques to define what it is and make a list for the team (see Figure 7-6). Next, brainstorm a list of what it is not, and make that into a list. Both lists can then be used to make a list of assumptions about the project.

Risk Management Plan Purpose

Risks shall be identified during an initial brainstorming session engaging all available team members. (Risks shall be identified using full sentences to clarify the nature of the negative effect they may have on the project and or the organization.) They shall be evaluated using the H-M-L scheme defined herein by the project manager and or his or her designee. Those risks achieving a score of M-H or greater shall be posted on the team watch list, and strategies will be determined for each. Strategies will become tasks embedded in the team activity list and will be assigned to individual team members. They will be tracked as activities in the project management software in a risk table and will be updated to reflect current status. The process shall be updated at least once every 2 months.

Task I System Overview

The project manager is brought on board at the beginning of the conceptual phase but acts only as an observer. The project manager neither answers questions nor provides his ideas until the brainstorming session is completed. b. When brainstorming is completed during the conceptual phase, senior management appoints one of the brainstorming team members to serve as the project manager.

Defining the Composition of the System

One thing you must be careful about is not stopping once you find a solution to your problem. Once an initial set of use cases and sequence diagrams have been drawn up, the developers should come together for a brainstorming session. They should review the diagrams and try to find alternative ways of accomplishing the goals of the system. Alternative use cases and sequence diagrams should be created. Once several possible solutions have been arrived at, if this is possible (some systems only have one workable solution), the best solution should be chosen.

Software quality circles

From contributing ideas to a group and brainstorming can help to reduce this inhibition. prominent of which is brainstorming. A subject or problem for which ideas arc needed is nominated and the group then suggest as many ideas as possible. As ideas arc suggested they arc written down on a flip-chart. Other members of the group do not, at this stage, make any comments or criticisms of any suggestions made. At the end of the session the group go through the ideas listed and put similar ideas together and combine overlapping ideas. Typically this technique assignment that you have just completed. By means of a brainstorming session, brainstorming session, group together similar problems and combine overlapping

Managing ideas demands a steady hand

To illustrate this, Figure 6-1 conveniently shows an idealized view of the creative phase of a project, with a singular point in time when problems and goals have been defined (vision document and or requirements), and a single point in time when specifications will be completed. Between these two points are much brainstorming, sketching, designing, prototyping, and all sorts of other fun activities described in Chapter 5. For the first half or so of the available time, everyone is focused on coming up with ideas and growing the space of alternative designs. For the second half, the emphasis shifts to narrowing the field by refining and improving the best designs. Eventually, a point is reached where enough design decisions have been made to document them all in a specification.

Identifying Best Practices

The team was faced with the need to find alternative methods for identifying organizational project management best practices, and agreed to utilize a brainstorming technique to facilitate the collection of input from individuals in a group, in such a way that no single person could dominate the process. This process was expanded to include members of the PMI Seminars and Symposium Standards Open Working Session in September 2000. In a first round of brainstorming, participants were invited to suggest elements that constituted maturity in organizational project management. Definitions for maturity were developed. This resulted in approximately eighty suggested elements, which were then consolidated into fifty-nine to reduce overlap and duplication.

What Are Best Practices

OPM3 first identified a number of Best Practices, using a brainstorming technique (see Appendix B) to elicit from professionals within industry and government the valued practices in project management adhered to by their own organizations. This list was later organized into logical categories. Such information was eventually further decomposed and refined to develop listings of Capabilities that aggregate to each of those Best Practices.

Harnessing creativity and experience

'Thinking the unthinkable' calls for creativity and imagination. One of the best-known techniques for fostering creativity is brainstorming, which is used to improve problem analysis by providing more possible solutions and unusual approaches to a problem. The process typically involves a group of six to twelve individuals with a variety of backgrounds in order to facilitate the analysis of a problem from different points of view. In a typical brainstorming session the emphasis is on generating a large number of ideas. In problemsolving situations it is hoped that this will increase the chances of obtaining an excellent idea. In the initial ideas generation session, wild ideas are encouraged on the basis that ideas are easier to modify than to originate, and participants are encouraged to utilize the ideas of others to develop additional ideas. Throughout this process judgement of ideas is withheld. Ideas generated are criticized and evaluated in a later stage. Large problems may need...

Work breakdown structures

Work Breakdown Structure Manufacturing

The choice of tasks incorporated in the work breakdown structure (WBS) is best made by the project team drawing on their combined experience or engaging in a brainstorming session. Although the WBS may have been built up by the project team, based on their collective experience or by brainstorming, there is always the risk that a stage or task has been forgotten. An early review then opens up an excellent opportunity to refine the WBS and carry out a risk identification for each task, which can be the beginning of a risk register. At a later date a more rigorous risk analysis can then be carried out. The WBS does in effect give everyone a better understanding of the risk assessment procedure.

Developing an Audience List

A project audience list is a living document. Start to develop your list as soon as you begin to think about your project. Write down any names that occur to you when you discuss your project with other people, ask them who they think may be affected or interested. Then select a small group of people and conduct a formal brainstorming session. Continue to add and subtract names until the list is complete. To increase your chances of identifying all appropriate people, develop your audience list in categories. For example, you're less likely to overlook people if you consider them department by department or group by group instead of trying to identify all of the people from the entire organization at the same time.

Object Oriented Project Management with UML

Class Responsibility Collaborator cards are used to assist, document, and communicate the results of object analysis, design, and implementation. They are useful when deriving the sequence and class diagrams. Kent Beck and Ward Cummingham introduced them as a brainstorming tool in 1989. Since then, no standard CRC format has been adopted. There are two recent books which explain their use The CRC Card Book by David Bellin and Susan S. Simone published by Addison-Wesley in 1997 and Nancy Wilkinson's Using CRC Cards An Informal Approach to Object-Oriented Development (Advances in Object Technology, No. 6) published by Prentice-Hall in 1995. I prefer a CRC variant called Class Responsibility Operator Collaborator Cards (CROC), created by a colleague, Martin Svedlow, shown in Table 6.4. The CROC version extends the more common CRC format by including operations. I have found that capturing the designers' thoughts about the class operations while defining the classes is more efficient than...

How to consolidate ideas

Four things ideas, a wall, Post-it notes, and the team (although good beer and tasty food help). In an affinity diagram, each idea is represented as a note, described in just a few words and placed on the wall. These ideas can be the output of brainstorming sessions or a list refined by one or more people on the team. There can be anywhere from 20 to 100 or more ideas. The scope of the problem you're trying to solve, and how creative people have been, can make for wild swings in the size of ideas from project to project. In case I'm being too abstract in describing how affinity diagrams work, here's an example that explains Figure 6-5 in another way. Let's say that one of the project goals was to make search results on the intranet web site easier to use. We met, brainstormed, had some beers, and came up with a long list of ideas. The next morning, people had a few more to add, so we included them. We reviewed that list, eliminated duplicates, laughed as we crossed off ideas no one...

Continuous Learning Habits

That may sound illogical, but finding the best answer for a complex problem often means viewing it from many perspectives and exploring many options. Employ techniques that force the team to dig deeper to uncover the root of a problem or cause more potential solutions to be produced. Brainstorming is a well-known example of disciplined creativity, but many other techniques exist. Finding specific techniques to promote idea gener

Develop strategic objectives

The development of strategic objectives is a roll up task to business planning. Strategic objectives are developed after an audit of the business capacity and competencies, and the interests of stakeholders and management in directing business growth. Strategic objectives are developed as part of a brainstorming process, and then confirmed by top management and the board of directors. Objectives are then weighted, based on their relative importance, providing a basis for later assessment of candidate programs of projects against weighted objectives.

Encouragement Isnt Enough

Encouragement extends beyond rousing speeches to providing the mechanisms for innovation. As Tom DeMarco (20 0a) advises, if you wan t to i nvent so mething new , don't also try to wrest every minute of time from your team. They need time to think, to experiment, to brainstorm. People under time pressure don't think eas ter, eommen ts Tim Lister.Jctl Maeag ement needs to set some time to do this outside of a project's time constraint, particularly for key technology feasibility studies. Fifth, they worked in an open, eclectic space optimal for flexibility, group work, and brainstorming.

Power of Internet Collaboration

One of the side benefits from the emergence of technology into our everyday lives is the availability as a tool for other IT projects to leverage. The power of the Internet and online collaboration tools and web-based repositories means that project teams (including user representatives) no longer need to sit in the same conference room to review a presentation. They can participate in a virtual project room, where they all have access to the project documentation being reviewed. Certain technologies support real-time editing of the documents. Other products support team brainstorming and decision-making. This ability to function as a team while physically dispersed means an IT project manager potentially has a greater resource pool upon which to draw.

Designing the Problem Area


The best way to construct the diagram is in the guise of a brainstorming session, with all parties mentioned in the preceding section present or at least represented. The reason for this is that they will each have a different way of looking at the system, and each should contribute his view of the problem area to the initial diagram that represents a collation of all the separate views. There are some loose rules, or principles, that should be adhered to when creating the list of viewpoints. There will need to be a member of the brainstorming session, with a good grasp of viewpoint analysis, who decides what a valid viewpoint is, and is not, using these principles.

Alternatives Identification

Alternatives identification is a technique used for discovering different methods or ways of accomplishing the work of the project. For example, brainstorming might be used to discover alternative ways of achieving one of the project objectives. Perhaps the project's budget doesn't allow for a portion of the project that the stakeholders really think needs to be included. Brainstorming might uncover an alternative that would allow the needed portion to be accomplished.

Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats SWOT Analysis

This technique examines the project from each of the SWOT perspectives, to increase the breadth of identified risks by including internally-generated risks. The technique starts with identification of strengths and weaknesses of the organization, focusing on either the project organization or the wider business. These factors are often identified using brainstorming. SWOT analysis then identifies any opportunities for the project that arise from organizational strengths, and any threats

Figure Defect injection rate in different iterations ACIC project

Reduction in defect injection implies that there are fewer defects to be detected and fixed. Hence, a successful defect prevention activity should lead to reduction in the rework effort that follows testing. Figure 11.9 shows the rework effort in the three iterations. (This rework effort is obtained from the WAR because there is a different code for rework, and the program and module are also specified.) The rework effort after the first construction iteration was about 16 of the total effort for that iteration. This effort fell to about 5 and 3 in the next two construction cycles. The effort spent in the causal analysis was a few hours for data analysis, along with a brainstorming meeting of about in defect prevention.

Experience with similar projects

The brainstorming process can be aided by using information about similar projects in the past, the problems that were encountered or considered, and the problems that were avoided. Where available, the risk assessments from previous projects may be an ideal guide. However, information from previous projects does have limitations, similar in nature to those associated with checklists discussed below. Including people with wide experience in similar activities in the brainstorming session is often beneficial, and one way of capturing the lessons from other projects. However, care must be taken that undue emphasis is not placed on unusual events that have a high profile for participants because of their personal involvement.

Generation of alternative candidate projects

The generation of alternatives is a delicate process of creating ideas and options from free flowing discussions in brainstorming sessions and from current projects. Since the majority of projects come from current ones, or are related to current project work, the customer-driven project management firm ensures that creative ideas are captured from current work to feed the pipeline. This is accomplished in program reviews, where new technology and marketing ideas are made a regular part of the agenda, and through closeout project team meetings, which glean lessons learned and new marketing concepts from team members.

Web Conferencing Bringing Virtual Teams Together Instantly

It is likely that the executives supervising a portfolio will not be in the same place on the same day. Indeed, for global projects with larger teams, they may never be in the same place, but frequent and effective meetings are important for project success. Air travel is time consuming, often unhealthy for the individual, costly, and bad for the environment. Web conferencing can enable more meetings with less travel. A Web conference gives you all the tools of an in-person meeting, by using rich voice and video interfaces, and adds the ability for all to view the same document, brainstorm on a whiteboard, or use private voting to collect opinions. These tools are invaluable for distributed project teams. Web conferencing also brings new abilities to meetings, such as the ability to record the meeting for nonattendees something that is often impractical or costly for physical meetings and removes the need to book a meeting location. Therefore, the efficiency comes not just in greater...


Next, brainstorm all possible solutions. Brainstorming is an excellent way to get people thinking outside their usual patterns of thought and generating new ideas for solving a problem. Use these brainstorming guidelines to encourage the generation of ideas Use the Write it Say it Slap it method of brainstorming discussed in Chapter 7. Each person writes his or her idea on a self-stick note, says it out loud, and then slaps it on the banner paper that has been taped to the wall. Generate as many ideas as possible. Go for wild and crazy solutions. This will help the group to think creatively. Each written idea should Continue brainstorming until you have exhausted the obvious ideas. Here are some hints for getting beyond the easy solutions for brainstorming. Convert it to a solution-oriented statement and brainstorm ideas that would address that high-level solution. Place the self-stick notes under the appropriate solution statement.


Brainwriting is a modification of brainstorming for relatively small groups of 5-8 participants. The most important difference is that with brainwriting, people are sitting at a table and writing. No talking is required or wanted. Like brainstorming, brainwriting is ideal for making implicit knowledge explicit, or unconscious knowledge conscious. The associative force of brainstorming lies in listening and looking at what has been said and noted by others on cards stuck on a pinboard. The associative force of brainwriting lies in writing and reading, reading and writing, using each other's ideas as an uncommented basis. Brainwriting can easily be modified therefore there are many ways of doing it.


Arrangements with the caterer 48 hours ahead of time (which reduces the probability), have a buffet (reduces the impact), order more food than you need (reduces the probability), have extra drinks (reduces impact). Not all of these are good ideas, but you're just brainstorming at this point. Write each countermeasure idea on a self-stick note and attach it to the risk self-stick note. Write the number of the risk on the countermea-sure self-stick note. Work through each risk, brainstorming potential countermeasures. If a single countermeasure addresses more than one risk, write the risk numbers on the note and attach it to one of the risks. Once you've finished the brainstorming process, you'll need to choose which countermeasures to include in your project plan. Obviously, the ones that are free that don't add time to the schedule or costs to the budget should be added first. Next, add any countermea-sures that address multiple risks and that are good ideas. Then add countermeasures...

Discovery ConceptIdea

A well-conceived idea is the creative stuff that makes everything important. It's why the project started in the first place. There is no launch if there is no acceptable initial idea. Brainstorming is an effective technique to help you develop a prime idea. Be aware of the effect that the external environment (customers, competitors, market, etc.) has on the idea. In the concept stage, the exact definition of the idea and strategy is derived. The objective is to develop a protocol with defined target markets, product concepts, and attributes.

Concept development

Concept development draws on QFD tools, addressed earlier in this chapter. QFD translates needs and expectations to design concepts, which can be detailed later into product and service specifications. The key issue here is that concept development is a group activity conducted through brainstorming and other group techniques. Brainstorming provides a forum for identifying alternative ideas and concepts and prioritizing them so that the customer can make decisions to proceed with the best possible project concepts. Brainstorming is facilitated by the project team and starts with the information gained in process improvement and immersion in the customer's business.


While checklists can be valuable for routine activities, they can be a major handicap for non-standard or unique projects. When a project is not the same as anything the organization has dealt with before, then a checklist can provide a constraint on creative thought by preconditioning the expectations of those involved and blocking the identification of risks that go beyond those in the list, so that the unique aspects are not assessed as fully as necessary. For projects that involve new features, a brainstorming approach is recommended initially, with checklists reserved for stimulating brainstorming sessions, reviewing the identification process and ensuring that no known issues have been left out. Similar comments apply to the use of previous project experience as a guide for generating lists of risks. Chapter 27 contains checklists of risks from a variety of sources, including lists developed for recent procurements through structured brainstorming. Additional examples relating...

SWOT Analysis

And threats) perspectives to increase the breadth of identified risks by including internally generated risks. The technique starts with identification of strengths and weaknesses of the organization, focusing on either the project organization or the wider business. These factors are often identified using brainstorming. SWOT analysis then identifies any opportunities for the project that arise from organizational strengths, and any threats arising from organizational weaknesses. SWOT analysis also examines the degree to which organizational strengths offset threats and opportunities that may serve to overcome weaknesses.

Developing your WBS

I Brainstorming Generate all possible activities for this project and then group them into categories. Brainstorming is very helpful when people don't have a clear sense at the outset of a project's required activities. This approach encourages people to generate any and all possible activities that may have to be done, without worrying about how to organize them in the final WBS. After you decide that a proposed piece of work is a necessary part of the project, you can identify related activities that are also required.

Solicit quantity

Team members learn over and over the importance of recording things. This is the only way you can recapture what has happened. With brainstorming, it is easy in the excitement to be careless about recording ideas. Be sure someone is appointed to see that everything is recorded. Remember, do not allow judgment on ideas during the recording process by letting the recorder omit any ideas. It is best to display every idea in full view of all members on a flipchart or whiteboard, or similar device. After the brainstorming session, all ideas should be recorded on a sheet of paper so the ideas can be preserved for use at a following meeting. Steps. The step to brainstorming are as follows

High Kill Rate

I think it is best to view improvement initiatives as exploratory. You certainly spent some time with your colleagues brainstorming and prioritizing improvement alternatives. Collectively your group made a decision as to which initia-tive(s) to pursue. You made that decision based on a hunch that the effort would be rewarded and the maturity level of a process or knowledge area would be positively impacted. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. Because these initiatives are exploratory, you can expect a high failure rate. Many of them will have to be abandoned because a better approach was discovered as part of the work of the initiative. Do not view that as a sign of failure, it is not. It is a sign that learning is taking place and that you are converging on an initiative that will have payoff.

The use of tools

The important thing in a workshop is to achieve the predefined aims, independently of the tools employed, although keeping to this key rule of action learning can certainly be daunting for a beginner facilitator Therefore, it is understandable that most of the partners decided to use the tools they were most acquainted with, that is, tools mostly used in project training learning sessions brainstorming, stakeholder analysis five satisfactions, and mind mapping. In a few cases, six thinking hats and the Ishikawa (fishbone) diagram were also employed. Brainstorming, or more precisely, visualised brainstorming proved to be a really helpful tool that ensured immediate, broad participation and commitment, and that was very effective for leading the group towards a shared path and vision , although it proved to be much more complex and potentially critical than expected. Actually, apart from requiring a great deal of concentration from the facilitator, this tool calls for a...

Identifying risks

Brainstorming During the first stage of risk identification, you should brainstorm. The crucial element of a brainstorm is spontaneity. Anything goes no risk is too far out there. Include any conceivable risk that could threaten the project's success server crashes, software failures, lost backup, weather, travel delays, meteorites, and so on. Ideally, your brainstorming session should be done in a big meeting with all the key stakeholders present. Trying to handle such an assessment via e-mail can really be a pain. Besides, the synergy of one identified risk can spur another team member to think of another risk. The qualitative risk party is a blast, especially if you have a whiteboard and lots of colorful dry erase markers.

Risk Identification

There are many ways to identify project risks. One of the most effective is to work collectively as a team to list potential problems. Even those risks, which appear to be small should be listed, at least initially, so that everyone can be aware of them, and all risks can be assessed. Team members should be allowed to brainstorm risk elements. In brainstorming, no idea is a bad idea. All suggestions are considered. In the final analysis most of the items might be removed from the list as not realistic or significant. But in the brainstorming stage, all suggestions are accepted, and subsequently they are analyzed. In this way the team can consider the full gamut of potential risks. In preparing the risk list, it is wise to follow some systematic approach to ensure that all potential risk areas are considered. Initially the team might start with free form brainstorming. But later a systematic approach might be followed. In this approach the team, or the company should establish a list...

There are bad ideas

I do not know where the phrase there are no bad ideas came from, but I'm certain it's wrong. I've seen the phrase used in both television commercials and in brainstorming meetings (and quite possibly in television commercials about brainstorming meetings). This cute little phrase is typically used in an attempt to help prevent people from filtering out ideas too early in the creative processa noble goal, to be sure. But when applied to almost

The startup tool

The start-up tool is a tool for beginners. With no more than four basic questions it seeks to provide more awareness of what can or must be done. At the same time, it is a question-asking strategy which is useful to remember in any situation where something new is about to be initiated. In any individual or collective analytical or planning process such a situation may arise. If it does, these four questions are fundamental and help to structure the brainstorming, be it in a group or with yourself.

Serve the team

Part of the philosophy of project quality management has to do with the ability to rise above this attitude and enter into a full commitment to working every customer's agenda as we work our own. This means that in the analysis of opportunities, one is willing to contribute to the brainstorming process and educate the team. This means that in the development of corrective action and project development, one is willing to work within the context of meeting customers' needs down the line, not handing off the work or leaving it on the stump for someone else to pick up.


From where do you get a list of activities and tasks to run a software development project and build a software product The source depends on whether there is any project precedent. If neither you nor your organization has done a project like this before or has any other history to draw from, then the detailed work steps to create it must be invented. An approach to invention of product development activities using brainstorming with the project team and stakeholders is described later. If there is a project precedent, reviewing the activities used on it can provide some guidance for activity identification. Even if no precedent exists, professional organizations such as the SEI, ISO, or IEEE provide sources for software development activities. The SEI models have been discussed elsewhere. ISO IEC 12207 lists 12 engineering activities following process implementation that are similar to the phases in a typical software life cycle model

Rapid Planning

The concept of team-driven project management leads to the process of RAP sessions. In the early 1980s, AT&T experimented with a technique for systems analysis and design that it termed FAST. This technique involved the analysis and design of information systems using key clients and expert systems analysts. By brainstorming in an intensive team session (usually less than five days), the process of systems analysis and design could be dramatically shortened with improved quality.

Project Assumptions

Other assumptions could be factors, such as vendor delivery times, product availability, contractor availability, the accuracy of the project plan, the assumption that key project members will perform adequately, contract signing dates, project start dates, and project phase start dates. This is not an exhaustive list, but it should get you thinking in the right direction. As you interview your stakeholders, ask them about their assumptions, and add them to your list. Use brainstorming exercises with your team and other project participants to come up with additional assumptions.


If you see the schedule is starting to slip, work with the team to determine what might be causing the problem and brainstorm with the team members how to get the project back on track. Not every actual or projected slip in a delivery date will affect the project deadline so focus your energy on potential changes that do jeopardize the deadline date the ones on the critical path. Minor deviations from projected dates are expected. Major deviations that may cause you to miss your

Change Management

Some companies have a culture that encourages decisions be re-visited repeatedly. This is particularly true with project changes. For example A team meets to discuss an unanticipated problem, brainstorm possible solutions, decide on a solution, analyze the potential risks of that solution, and determine how to incorporate that change into the security project plan. Two months later, someone encounters a problem that is related to the change, and the decision has to be re-hashed. No decision is reached and subsequent meetings are called to discuss the problem, which puts the project at risk. The project is endlessly delayed and rogue decisions are being made and implemented that are outside the formal security project planning process, which leads to unspecified results.

PHklEci Humeeme Nt

Considering Dependencies Where We Are in the Product Development Life Cycle Chapter 14 Relation to the 34 Competencies Learning Objectives for Chapter 14 What Are Dependencies Types of Software Development Dependencies Brainstorming Dependencies and Activities Summary

Project Kick Start

Project Kickstart is a front-end planning tool for project managers. With Project Kickstart, you can outline your objectives, list things to do, and anticipate major project issues. The software has features to help you brainstorm, strategize, and organize the details of your project before you start to build your project schedule. An online planning Advisor and templates for project planning help you to formulate your approach to your project. Then you can seamlessly output your data to Microsoft Project.


For a start, the number of activities which can be viewed simultaneously on a standard video screen is very limited, and the scroll facility which enables larger networks to be accommodated does not enable an overall view to be obtained at a glance. The greatest drawback of this practice, however, is the removal from the network planning process of the team spirit, which is engendered when a number of specialists sit down with the planner round a conference table to 'hammer out' the basic shape of the network. Most problems have more than one solution, and the discussions and suggestions, both in terms of network logic and durations, are invaluable when drafting the first programs. These meetings are, in effect, a brainstorming session at which the ideas of the various participants are discussed, tested and committed to paper. Once this draft network has been produced, the planner can very quickly input it into the computer and call up a few test runs to see whether the overall...

Scope Management

Once the optimum course of action was decided upon, planning started in earnest. The first step was to develop a work breakdown structure. This was completed at open meetings with representatives from each interested party present. A brainstorming process was used, with each topic identified on a Post-it note and attached to a huge white board. Delegates were encouraged to shout out tasks as they came to mind. The meeting was adjourned once the ideas dried up. A second meeting was convened to fine-tune and accept the WBS. The WBS determined what had to be done and when it had to take place, as well as the logic associated with each task.


Start by holding workshops and brainstorming the desired PM processes. Review your current methodology. Assess the adequacy of your current methods. Consider the corporate culture and the system users. We can describe Processes as the steps that employees follow to accomplish a result. Culture is defined as their attitudes and behavior. Naturally, both must be considered.