This is a post I started writing a few years ago (March 2008) but never published for some reason…
I don’t have any first hand experience with the KJ Technique but it sounds pretty promising. I can’t explain it as well as this linked article does so I’ll just send you there. However, if you have already used this technique (or something like it) and have some feedback I’d love it if you left a comment.
The KJ-Technique: A Group Process for Establishing
I actually came across this article via Assaf Arkin’s blog Labnotes. I just started reading his blog last week so it’s already paid off in introducing me to this new concept. Thanks Assaf.
As I started reading the article on the KJ Technique I couldn’t help but continually think about Assaf’s idea of building this as a web service. Well, actually, it kept focusing on potential UI designs for really bringing the power of the technique to a web-based application. My conclusion? I’m not very good at UI design! My focus was more on how to bring this concept to a distributed team without need of some kind of teleconference. How can you simulate the sticky-notes that can be grouped - or regrouped by different non- directly-communicating team members? If you can come up with a good UI that clearly communicates the shift of a sticky from one group to another (or a total merging of groups) by a remote user to all other users in the group it would be fantastic. In fact, if it was really clear what was going on all the time and everyone could keep messing with the virtual sticky-notes I almost think a distributed version of the KJ-Technique would be better than the one described in the article because it would really help enforce the “no discussion” rule for the first 2/3’s of the process.