One of the most effective ways for teams to collaborate on product development is via an old-fashioned brainstorming session — a meeting where every idea can be laid out on the table and be evaluated by the team to see if it’s worth pursuing.
Even without the added issues that come with working remotely, ideation sessions are tough. Conflicting ideas can lead to heated discussions and a lot of wasted time.
Trying to handle these discussions in person or remotely is challenging, but project managers can get things back on track by using EasyRetro as an online brainstorming tool.
The office might seem like the ideal environment for brainstorming with everyone able to get together armed with post-it notes. But it can be just as easy, perhaps even more effective, to do it remotely with the right tool.
Here’s how to organize an effective online ideation session using EasyRetro.
Obvious, yes, but also very important. Preparation is key!
Agree a date and time that everyone is available, then share a rough agenda in advance along with any useful knowledge that can help the team understand the session’s purpose.
The key thing to remember here is, there are no stupid ideas.
Ideation sessions are about quantity, not quality so every idea that comes up should make it onto your online idea board. With that in mind, it’s best to withhold criticisms at this stage as the team can discuss ideas later in the process.
The “clustering” brainstorming method is a great way to link ideas to each other. Using our free iteration tool, the team can create an early blueprint by placing ideas and connecting them to other compatible ideas. This aids collaboration during the session and helps save time and money during the development phase.
This can be done in conjunction with step 2 if you prefer to organize as you go.
Not every idea on the board is going to be a good one, so this is where the team can weed out the ideas that may not work. Anything that misses the mark, or doesn’t connect to other ideas can be placed in a separate section to revisit later.
Asking the team to simply vote rather than provide detailed feedback for their top ideas ensures a fair process and avoids uncomfortable discussions about the less valuable suggestions.
Now the ideation session is over and the best ideas are ready to go, what’s next? Close things out by discussing the most highly-voted ideas and what is needed to make them happen.
By clearly defining the next steps with visuals, your team knows exactly what is expected of them, why they’re the best for the job and how their task supports the overall objective. A sure fire recipe for keeping your team engaged in their work and committed to the big goal.
Now you know the tricks to a great iteration session, it’s time to put them into action. Try EasyRetro’s free iteration tool and see how easy it can be to run a remote brainstorming session!