Chapter 12. Brainstorming and Idea Reduction


Key Points

  • Brainstorming involves both idea generation and idea reduction.

  • The most creative, innovative ideas often result from combining multiple, seemingly unrelated ideas.

  • Various voting techniques may be used to prioritize the ideas created.

  • Although live brainstorming is preferred, Web-based brainstorming may be a viable alternative in some situations.

When you are in the workshop setting described in Chapter 11 or whenever you find yourself needing new ideas or creative solutions to problems, brainstorming is a very useful technique. It's simple, fun, and an easy way to get all stakeholders to contribute.

In the workshop setting, you probably already have a pretty good idea of the features of the new product. After all, few projects begin with a totally clean slate. However, in addition to reviewing the suggested features for the product, the workshop provides the opportunity to solicit new input and to mutate and combine these new features with those already under consideration. This process will also help in the goal of "finding the undiscovered ruins" and thereby making sure that you have complete input and that all stakeholder needs are addressed. Typically, a portion of the workshop is devoted to brainstorming new ideas and features for the application.

This elicitation technique has a number of benefits.

  • It encourages participation by all parties present.

  • It allows participants to "piggyback" on one another's ideas.

  • It has high bandwidth. Many ideas can be generated in a short period of time.

  • The results typically indicate a number of possible solutions to whatever problem is posed.

  • It encourages out-of-the-box thinking, that is, thinking unlimited by normal constraints.

Brainstorming has two phases: idea generation and idea reduction. The primary goal during idea generation is to delineate as many ideas as possible, focusing on breadth of ideas, not necessarily depth. The primary goal during idea reduction is to analyze all the ideas generated. Idea reduction includes pruning, organizing, ranking, expanding, grouping, refining, and so on.


Managing Software Requirements[c] A Use Case Approach
Managing Software Requirements[c] A Use Case Approach
ISBN: 032112247X
Year: 2003
Pages: 257 © 2008-2017.
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