2 Quick Brainstorming Techniques Every Product Manager Should Know
As we all know, sometimes the solution to a project issue can be really hard to find. Team members can come up with many bright ideas in their own mind, so it’s useful to sit down together, identify the problem, verbalise solutions and see what sticks.
The basic definition of brainstorming goes like “a group creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members.” It’s important to remember that brainstorming doesn’t require a “fancy” process to generate ideas – all you need are the brain, some desire and some time.
Some managers feel like brainstorming is a total waste of time with a few people bickering and others saying nothing. This is a classic case of a wrong brainstorming process. The problem is that many people forget that the core of brainstorming is quantity (not quality), and fear that their ideas will be judged or rejected. So the goal is to be open, gather as many ideas as possible and get the most bang for the time you have.
Here are two brainstorming techniques that are especially useful in a project management environment.
The main objective of How-Now-Wow Matrix is to create a list of ideas and work as a group to prioritize them into three categories:
- How: original ideas, difficult to implement (not sure how ideas will be implemented)
- Now: unoriginal, easy to implement (ideas that can be implemented immediately)
- Wow: original, easy to implement (creative ideas that can be executed)
The aim is to form as many ideas in the Wow category as possible.
When all ideas are gathered, team members get coloured stickers (e.g. yellow for how, blue for now, green for wow) and place them next to three ideas that they believe are best for each category. After all the stickers have been used, the team can easily determine what ideas should be worked on now and what should be put off.
#2. Buy a feature
Choosing the right set of features for a release often determines long-term success. Unfortunately, too many product planners make this choice without involving stakeholders. The Buy a Feature is collaboration technique that improves the quality of this decision by asking customers to help.
You provide a limited amount of money and price out features based on the high-level estimate of how difficult they are to implement. Then your stakeholders have to choose what features they want to purchase (naturally they can’t afford all the features that are available).
This technique is best to use to enhance your understanding of what your customers really want, narrow down and prioritise product initiatives.