So far, we have discussed a process for brainstorming that works very effectively when all stakeholders can be gathered together at the same time, the participants are relatively proactive and not overly shy, the facilitator is experienced , and stakeholder politics are manageable. Indeed, there is no substitute for the developers and outside stakeholders spending this time together. Each will remember the various priorities, concerns, and issues raised by the others, and perspective and mutual respect are often by-products of the process. Therefore, the requirements workshop and live brainstorming are by far our preferred approaches.
But sometimes live brainstorming is not possible. In these situations, an alternative is to use the Internet or an intranet to facilitate the brainstorming process in a collaborative environment. This technique may be particularly suited for developing advanced applications for which research is required or a long- term view is critical, the concept is initially fuzzy, and a wide variety and significant number of user and other stakeholders inputs are involved.
With this technique, the project leader sponsors a list server or discussion group for recording and commenting on product features. The recording of ideas and comments can be done either anonymously or by crediting the author, based on the construct created by the administrator. An advantage of this technique is its persistence; ideas and comments can be circulated over a long period of time, with full recording of all threads for each idea. Perhaps most important, a unique advantage of this process is that ideas can grow and mature with the passage of time.