Product ideation in group

Planning

Implementing practices like Event Storming, Lean Canvas, 25/10 Crowdsourcing, 1-2-4 All, User Story Mapping

Planning

Description

The term “Ideation” has been forged by John Stuart Mill back in the XIXth century [Godin 2018] and deals with the creation process to generate innovative ideas. In the agile culture, there are many creative techniques to generate, develop, and communicate new ideas, notably:

  • the well known Brainstorming [Higgins 1994]
  • Yasuo Matsumura’s Lotus Blossom [Higgins 1994]
  • the SCAMPER technique [Serrat 2017] 
  • Von Oech’s dodecahedron technique [Von Oech 2011]
  • De Bono’s six thinking hats [De Bono 1999]
  • Event Storming [Brandolini 2019]

All those ideation techniques are actually more efficient when performed in group for several reasons such as:

  • the combination of everyone’s point views provides more valuable insights with lower fallacies
  • it uncovers implicit knowledge
  • everyone gets on the same page
  • it recovers enthusiasm

The underlying rationale can be provided with the Panarchy model [Gunderson 2002] [Moustier 2020] for ideation workshops gathers three levels of “ecocycles”:

  • the individual experience
  • the ideation workshop
  • the market expectations


Interactions between ecocycles derived from the Pantesting model [Moustier 2020]


Within the Panarchy model, an ecocycle figures the evolution of a subsystem where

  • α is the change starting phase of a subsystem
  • r is the exploration of the subsystem to face the change
  • K occurs when the exploration enables accumulating effort and resources as long as the exploration outcomes is compatible with the acquired resources
  • and Ω , the releasing phase when the subsystem collapses and releases part of the accumulated resources, the so-called “memories”

Still, according to the Panarchy model, ecocycles are linked when subsystems influence each other's: when a subsystem reaches the Ω phase, it releases part of its resources to the linked ecocycle forcing it to enter its own α phase. The links between individuals, team and market also build a double loop learning structure that helps to reach the “good product” instead of a solution that would be simply compliant with an individual  (say the Business Analyst or the Product Owner) point of view.


The ideation workshop merges individual “memories” into a common knowledge that should be more representative of the market needs.

Impact on the testing maturity

Ideation is not only a matter of making tacit needs into explicit requirements with a social process [Nonaka 1998]. Such a phenomenon is also met when it comes to architecture [Beck 2001] [Leffingwell 2008][Larman 2010][Moustier 2020]. Actually, this emerging approach helps to raise "Architecturally Significant Requirement” (ASR) [Moustier 2019-1] [ASR 2021] from the many points of view and also align everyone on a common technical view that would be required from a subsidiarity point of view [SAFe 2021-9][Appelo 2010][Moustier 2020]. To enable group design, “Model Storming” [Galiber 2019] can be pretty useful for there is no monopoly on innovation [Leffingwell 2008].

Group ideation is also relevant when it comes to coding. While coding alone, the Developer’s refactoring ability is actually naturally narrowed by algorithmic and compiling matters; this limit can be overcome notably with Pair programming and eventually Mob programming to let better ideas emerge from the coding attendees.

Finally, testing goes just the same. Sprint refinement in “3 Amigos” mode contributes to improving a Product Backlog Item (PBI). Moreover, the ATDD practice is also much more efficient when the whole team is involved than when only Testers provide test automation [Ferguson 2017b][Moustier 2020] which leads to the 4th principle of agile architecture “They build it, they test it” - [Leffingwell 2008].

Agilitest’s standpoint on this practice

Agilitest uses a #nocode technology [Forsyth 2021]. This approach enables fast skill ramp up and therefore the adoption of test automation and ATDD become really simple and thus group product ideation

Related cards

To go further

  • [De Bono 1999] : Edward De Bono - AUG 1999 - “Six Thinking Hats” - ISBN 9780316178310
  • [Godin 2018] : Christian Godin - OCT 2018 - “Encyclopédie conceptuelle et thématique de la philosophie” - ISBN 9791026708063, lire en ligne
  • [Gunderson 2002] : Lance H. Gunderson & C. S. Holling - « Panarchy - Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems » - Island Press - ISBN 1-55963-857-5
  • [Higgins 1994] : James M. Higgins - 1994 - “101 creative problem solving techniques” - ISBN 1-883629-00-4
  • [Larman 2010] : Craig Larman, Bas Vodde - « Practices for Scaling Lean & Agile Development - Large, Multisite, and Offshore Product Development with Large-Scale Scrum » - Addison-Wesley - 2010 - ISBN-13: 978-0-321-63640-9
  • [Moustier 2019-1] : Christophe Moustier – JUN 2019 – « Le test en mode agile » - ISBN 978-2-409-01943-2


© Christophe Moustier - 2021