Idea Evaluation – Facilitation and Conflict Part 3


Idea Evaluation

This is the third part of the four-part series on conflict. In the first part, we explored why we need conflict. In the second how to establish a space that will be conducive to exploration of ideas. In this post, we will explore some techniques for objective idea evaluation.

There are four parts to this series, this is the third:

1. Why we need Conflict

2. Ground Rules for effective conflict facilitation

3. Objective evaluation of Ideas

4. How to Navigate Conflict

Clear Success Criteria

Having clear outcomes for the event is key. For the Scrum Events this should be self-evident, however I have found that it is always worthwhile to call them out as it will help remind everyone to focus.

With other workshops having the desired outcome stated at the start, will emphasise the event’s focus.

Once the outcome is stated or discovered, then the agenda can be outlined with approximate timings. This will act as an enabling constraint – it guides people to the content and flow of the event. This will reduce the uncertainty around what will happen and invite them to engage in the process.

Idea Evaluation Techniques

The following are a few techniques to assess ideas, with the fastest least detailed first.

Roman Vote

This technique is named after the voting method in the coliseum, which is not true! Each person uses their thumb to declare whether they agree or not.

Two thumbs one up one down
  1. The idea is clarified in one sentence.
  2. Everyone shows their hand at the same time (to prevent anchoring). Thumb up to agree, sideways to abstain or be neutral, thumb down to disagree.
  3. Simple majority to find the group answer

Fist of Five

A simple technique where everyone shows the number of fingers for how strongly they agree. No fingers for zero votes, up to 5 fingers for a maximum of 5 votes. Everyone must vote.

Hands showing different number of fingers for idea evaluation

Tally up the votes, or use this an opportunity to explore the range.

Dot Point Vote

This is a slightly longer technique that can be used to sort thoughts after idea generation.

  1. Cluster like ideas together, and give them a title
  2. Each participant is given a set number of dots (I like using odd numbers 3 or 5)
  3. Set a time box
  4. At the end of the timebox order the ideas by the votes

Merit Score

With complex ideas, there may be many aspects that need to be considered. Using an objective merit score can help clarify the strengths of proposals, and in my experience, help unlock a further blended solution. I learnt this technique from Roy Osherove’s Notes to a Software Team Leader

  1. Agree the criteria for evaluation. Try to keep it less than 10 to avoid people getting overwhelmed.
  2. Generate the scores for each criterion, solution by solution. You may want to use a fist of five to make this process faster. Be open to discussion – this is a tool for understanding as much as clarification.
  3. Add the total
A table showing idea evaluation and the scoring

Call to Action

When you are facilitating, the group expects you to have some techniques on hand to help them get through the agenda.

What techniques do you prefer to use to guide a group through idea evaluation?

Connect with Advanced Product Delivery.

APD offer private, tailored training courses as well as business agility and coaching. Our public training courses are delivered by practicing Agilists: Product Owners, Scrum Masters and coaches who are expert trainers and facilitators.

Whether you are looking to become a #scrummaster or #agilecoach, we have a range of internationally certified and recognised #agiletraining courses that are perfect for you. Visit Professional Scrum Training courses for more information.

If you are looking for professional, deeply experienced and skilled #agilecoaches and #agileconsultants to help you transition from traditional #projectmanagement to #agile #productdevelopment, we’ve got the ideal team to help you make that transition a success. Visit our Agile Coaching section to find out more about us.

If you have identified Lean Agile Procurement as a great opportunity to enhance #agility within your organization, visit the Lean Agile Procurement Training course or Lean Agile Procurement coaching page.

#agile #scrum #agilecoach #agileconsultant #agiletraining #agilescrumtraining #scrumtraining #scrumcertification #scrummaster #productowner #leanagileprocurement #apd #businessagility #organizationalagility #productdevelopment #projectmanagement #agileprojectmanagement #agileproductdevelopment

You may also like...

60 second shorts

What is Agile in 60 seconds?

Unlocking Value with Lean Agile Procurement In today’s fast-paced world, businesses are constantly seeking ways to maximize value delivery and stay ahead of the competition.

Read More »

Latest Blog Posts

Image of a webinar

Questions from Scrum.Org webinar

This blog addresses the questions that could not be answered in the webcast on Procurement in Agile Transformations. There are many challenges that parallel the agile transformations.

Read More »