Group Creativity and Group Decision Making Techniques - Explained!
Group Creativity Techniques
When asked the question about providing ideas for project requirements, no one exactly knows where to start. However if the project manager asks about specific rather than abstract concepts, the team members are much likely to contribute to something that relates to a particular area of requirements. This process is called as 'Group Creativity Technique.'
The critical feature of group creativity technique is that it allows the project manager to collect new ideas and concepts from the team members through initiating proper communication. It's a technique that is used to generate ideas within a group of stakeholders because the stakeholders are the decision makers when it comes to finalizing the deliverables of a product.
Below are the techniques used for enhancing the creativity of the groups:
Brainstorming is a group creativity technique in which members are allowed to generate as many ideas/requirements as possible without criticism. The brainstorming technique does not prioritize the ideas. In this technique, the participants are safe to present their very own creative ideas even though some ideas are unrealistic/absurd. During the process, all the generated ideas/requirements are recorded without any assessments. Additionally, a productive brainstorming session triggers one idea from another, enabling the team members to spot the connections between the ideas. It is important to note that this type of synergy is not found during one-to-one sessions.
Nominal group technique
The Nominal Group Technique is a technique for small group discussion in which ideas and requirements are ranked and prioritized by all the team members of the group after generating the list of requirements. It enhances the brainstorming with a voting process that is used to rank the most useful ideas for further prioritization. This technique prevents domination of a single person over the discussion by allowing the voices of all members to be represented. The Project Manager should ask the team to rate each idea under a particular heading for providing a better result. All the requirements that are generated or chosen should be testable and measurable.
Mind mapping is used through individual sessions with each team member. The project manager then consolidates the ideas into a single map to create a common ground of understanding. A technique that starts with the idea of the project in the middle, and then stakeholders branch out from the central idea and generate more requirements. This process will provide an overview of the project, which will allow the project manager to determine if there is an imbalance in the requirements or whether one set of needs was weighted more heavily than others.
An affinity diagram takes ideas and groups them into categories with similar ideas or requirements. Thus, they are arranged with ideas that they have an “affinity” (similarities) with. It is a technique used to classify a large number of ideas for analysis or review. Affinity diagrams can be used alone or in conjunction with brainstorming and the nominal group technique.
Multi-criteria decision analysis
When the process of gathering requirements is taking place, the project manager often needs to balance several criteria’s to determine the best set or requirements for a product. Multi-criteria decision analysis identifies the various measures that the project manager will use to evaluate requirements and then assigns a high-level value to each criterion like risk levels, uncertainty, and valuation, to assess and rank many ideas.
Group Decision - Making Techniques
In this process, the team members collectively analyze problems and look for a universal solution. As there can emerge several requirements for a project and each stakeholder expressing their own requirements, group decision-making is usually organized by the leader in project management. The members of the group have collective accountability for the decisions that they have created. The group is also responsible for delegating tasks that have been agreed on by the team. In the end, these must be evaluated whether these requirements will be in the project scope.
There are four approaches to Group Decision Making technique:
The process through which the decision is achieved when everyone in the team agrees on a single action. An example of reaching unanimity is the Delphi technique wherein a selective group of experts answer questionnaires and give feedback on the responses of each round of gathering requirements. In this case, everyone agrees with the idea that is being evaluated. So it is qualified to be on the final list.
A method that is used to collect the ideas for delivering the best of requirements to be produced from a product through a process called Majority. The best idea for the requirement is chosen based on 50% majority amongst the stakeholders those are associated with the project.
In this method, largest block in a group agrees on a requirement. For instance, if 40% of the group agrees, 30% of the group disagrees, and 30% of the group does not have a decision, then the decision taken by the largest part of the group will be qualified to be in the scope.
In this approach, one individual decides for the group on a requirement. For instance, if the Senior Director is in the group and if he has the privilege to approve or disapprove a requirement, regardless of what other participants think, Senior Director’s decision will determine whether the requirement will be in the project scope.
The processes Group Creativity Techniques and Group Decision-Making Techniques are considered important because of the scope that the methods provide in taking a decision. When an idea is compared and qualified through all these process groups and methods, it is deemed as a valuable requirement. The process helps in filtering out the less important aspects and allows the project manager and his team to concentrate on those aspects which have high-level requirement value particularly. Hence, the processes are given much importance.
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