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Things to know for an effective Requirements Gathering through Brainstorming Sessions

Brainstorming meeting is a group activity where people (max. 12 Participants) gather and make efforts to find a conclusion for a specific problem or challenge. This includes a group of skilled project representatives from respective areas to contribute and discuss spontaneous ideas towards final solution. The reason to involve people from different backgrounds is to ensure the delivery of best content possible, as views and challenges differ for each unit.

The process for Brainstorming session is as follows:

Step 1: Explain the problem.

Step 2: Present Rules.

Step 3: Call for ideas.

Step 4: Record and Elaborate idea.

Step 5: Select the most associated idea.

Step 6: Wrap up.

So, BA should be ready with below things before conducting a brainstorming session:

  1. Identify your Goals – Before even thinking about sending out a meeting invite and mobilizing your teammates together, you need to decide what your actual goal is, and make sure the entire team has a clear understanding of that goal. This helps us to avoid waste of time and energy.
  2. Decide the Participants – Now that you have your goal set, it’s time to figure out whom to invite. The people who will actually be doing the work is a given. But also consider to have at least 2 wild cards. These are people who may see the project from a different perspective or may be able to come up with ideas you never even considered.
  3. Choose the right environment – Ensure to make people in your brainstorming session feel comfortable enough to share their ideas. A relaxed environment allows people de-stress and think freely about coming up with the best possible ideas. Most of the time, treats, Refreshments and Surprise gifts bring the best out of the sessions. In the end, if you’re not also having fun, you’re not doing it right.
  4. Get Brainstorming – Remember, no one ever likes to go first. It is your job as the meeting leader to make sure to initiate a discussion, re-state your goals to the group, and ensure that your first idea correlates with those goals so the rest of the group follows suit. People might get stuck with one idea and other (maybe better) ideas will never be brought up. Its alright, as long as you are leading people in the right direction for amazing ideas.
  5. Don’t discourage silence – Silence can be of  “I have nothing left to say” silence and “Just let me have room to think” silence. Just because people aren’t saying anything doesn’t mean they won’t say something soon. However, if the silence does last too long, it is your job to steer the conversation in a new direction to get people excited and talking again. Therefore, come prepared with a few premeditated ideas you can use in to get people going again when the session starts getting stale. Also, It is your job as the session lead to know when things are going off course and lead the group back to the task at hand.
  6. Know when to call it quits – You never want to keep people in one place too long, especially during a brainstorming session. No one wants to come to the boring, drawn out brainstorming sessions. Know when you have generated enough good ideas. Know when people have given their best. At the end of your meeting, review the list once more to see if it sparks any additional ideas, and then call it a day.

In truth, there is no one, uniform way to run a brainstorm. People work better in different environments and react better to different scenarios. Figure out what works for your team, change it, work with it, and remember to keep people on their toes.


About Kranthi Kumar Kuppam

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