Kanbanize for Brainwriting (635 Method)

Fellow colleagues from the marketing, sales teams, designers and to all out there who needs to be creative and generate ideas. How do you come up with those?

During one of our follow-up consulting sessions with a client, I was able to have a sneak view over one strange looking project from the Marketing Team. I was impressed by that specific scenario, I found as a very good use-case for our own product, that I would like to share it with you.

Marketing, customer relations, designers, sales people are way more different compare to the IT /Product engineers for example. In order to be successful in what they do, they need to run through many ideas, options and proposals and select only a few that are the best and could be executed with the most return on investment. In the Lean world, you may say they need to generate a lot of waste and throw it away to find out where the true value is.

One known method to do that is the 6-3-5 Brainwriting. Introduced back in 1968 by Bernd Rohrbach who originally published it in a German sales magazine, this technique is still commonly used in present days.

How it Works:

  • You have a group of 6 people. This would be the best case, but you could have between 3 up to 7 participants as well. In bigger groups, you would need to add a moderator.
  • Each participant has a worksheet with 3 columns and 6 rows (or equal to the group size)
  • The topic, problem to be solved is presented to the group, where the group should come up with ideas / potential solutions.
  • As a first step, each participant should write down 3 ideas/solutions in every column. This should be done in 5 minutes sharp and no discussions are allowed. 
  • When the time is up, the sheets are rotated between the participants. Now everyone has a new list with 3 ideas from the colleague to think about and write down 3 more again for 5 minutes. 
  • This repeats until all 6 sheets are turned around and contain 18 ideas each. In total you would have 108 ideas for 30 minutes generated from 6 participants by 3 ideas per each 5 minutes. This is where the method name comes from: 6-3-5.

Brainwriting_Project

I think so far, you guessed where Kanbanize comes to play.
It is a matter of a few minutes to prepare this as a Kanbanize project. There are 6 boards (the number the participants). Inside each board you have the same amount of swim-lanes for the different rounds. The 3 columns in the requested area would represent the required 3 ideas per round.
The moderator/lead or time keeper, could use the board messages to notify all, when the 5 minutes are up. Then you just open the next board and create 3 new tasks (ideas).

Brainwriting_Board

Why use Kanbanize:

1. You could use the application and collaborate between scattered participants from different locations. No need to have them all collected in one place as most of the time this technique is done in silence.

2. Apply the Kanban limits when you have to sort out the ideas. Draw only half of the ideas in your “in progress” (discussion) column or move them to another summary board for a follow up round.

3. You could apply custom fields like: effort, timeframe, etc., on each (task) idea to help you better evaluate the proposals and come up with a final solution that would be the best one for your problem.

4. Last but not least, you could just move, clone, or link that idea in a different board to manage its execution. You have all that long running process at one place, from the creation of the idea to its final result, using a minimal tracking effort.

Brainwrite with Kanbanize – the Kanban Software that helps you convert ideas into results.

This entry was posted in Kanban on by .

About Bisser Ivanov

Keen on innovation, exploration or simply trying new things. Would that be a technology, new methodology or just cool gadgets. Got almost 2 decades of experience working as Software Engineer, Team Lead, QA/Processes Manager and Managing Director in mid-size and large scale Software Companies: Prosyst, SAP, Software AG.

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