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Visualizing Retrospective Priorities

05.13.2013
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We tried a new retrospective prioritization/voting technique this week that worked really well. After we had generated and discussed all of our ideas for improvement, it was clear to me that there were several excellent ideas and it would be hard to use our regular voting technique to single out one or two. In fact, it seemed clear that there were several ideas that should all be done and were somewhat related. I decided to try a technique in order to visualize the priorities, grouping, and weighting of the ideas.
I drew a line on the whiteboard from the bottom right to the top left and put all the ideas we had generated in the middle of the board. I then asked the team to approach the board and move the items they believed would have the most impact to the top left and the least impact to the bottom right. Yes, I was a little worried about the priming effect of having everyone voting together but I decided to ignore my own advice this time.
After the post-it notes on the board 'settled into position', we held another brief discussion to confirm the position of the ideas. It was clear that there were several high impact ideas on the board that needed to be implemented right away and some interesting clusters formed at the top left. The position of the post-it notes also clearly identified the ideas that the team thought would have a lower impact and could be dealt with another time.
The final confirmation that this visualization of priorities was effective came later that day - the team met and started implementing their ideas.

Published at DZone with permission of Steve Rogalsky, author and DZone MVB. (source)

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