Planning your brainstorming sessions improves the results from the sessions. Meetings consume considerable resources. Poorly planned meetings waste your project team's time and reduce their energy levels. Send one hour planning each one-half day meeting. Involve the meeting sponsor and other key people in planning the agenda.
Planning meeting agenda's one of the key ingredients to Turbo Brainstorming. Things move really quickly so you need a agenda even though you may not follow it completely. No planning or meeting goes according to plan but the plan provides a foundation to stay organized and adapt quickly to changing requirements.
Metric: Spend about an hour planning for each three hours of brainstorming.
|1. Objectives of the meeting||2. Topics to be covered in the meeting||3. Participants to participate in the meeting.|
Output is the meeting agenda. Post a flipchart for each day in the meeting. A three day strategic planning session would require six flipcharts. Transfer topics to the appropriate day. It takes ten to forty minutes to brainstorm each topic depending upon the complexity of the topic.
Create post-it notes for each cell in the table to allow you to alter the agenda easily. Decide where its appropriate to tackle each topic. Put important topics early in each day. Allocate time to each topic.
|8:30||Present session objectives||Presentation||Sponsor|
|9:00||Brainstorm deliverables||Brainstorming||Facilitator & team|
|9:40||Brainstorm resources||Brainstorming||Facilitator & team|
||Facilitator & team|
|10:10||Organize tasks||Facilitator & team|
|10:40||Assign resources to tasks||Facilitator & team|
||Facilitator & team|
|11:40||Action Items||Brainstorming||Facilitator & team|
For meetings over one half day, create a flipchart for each half day. All the cells on the flipchart are Post-it notes for easy reorganization. This format really allows people to see what will be covered in the meeting and to suggest improvements.
Some times of the day are better than others for heavy duty tasks. Make sure important topics are tackled at the beginning of the day.
What is your strategy for lunch? What happens if a group goes out for lunch? Loss of productivity! Bringing lunch in provides for informal networking and discussion.
Tackle important topics in the morning when everyone is fresh. Think carefully about topics that you tackle right after lunch. To keep the team together during an all day session, consider bringing a light lunch in. Then you will be ready to start up on time.
Leave a mystery topic at the end of each day. You will know what that topic should be by the end of the day. This gives you some contingency if you over run your other topics.
For a multi-day meeting I have two or more scribes writing up the results after each topic. so that the minutes are being created and ready for the participants very quickly.
Publish an agenda document containing a page per half day. Use this as a roadmap to keep the meeting organized and to respond to changes in requirements.