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Submitted by jrumple on


I just want to share with the community my recent success with introducing the Hot Wash to a new group.

My group just finished a small project four our customer. It is something we're going to do again next year. As a group, we've never done a Hot Wash before. As we were nearing the end of this project I asked the project lead if he was okay with me scheduling a real quick, 30 min meeting to gather the group together to discuss how things went. His first concern was that it couldn't be too long because we're busy with other things, and I reassured him that it wouldn't go longer than 30 minutes. He agreed.

That day I scheduled a conference room and a teleconference number because some of the team are in different locations. In the calendar event I included links to the Hot Wash episode and tried to describe in a sentence or two that we would be brainstorming WWW and TALA.

During the meeting we used Microsoft Live Meeting, which our company has on all of the computers, and a SMARTBoard (, which are in a limited number of conference rooms, we were able to conduct the Hot Wash. I had prepared a T-chart before the meeting with WWW and TALA on either side. We were able to go through it and after about 15 minutes the group had provided all their ideas, so we ended it.

The SMARTBoard allowed me to save the brainstorming to a PDF file. At my desk I used the remaining 15 minutes to review the inputs and come up with our recommendations for Continue, Stop, and Change. I sat down with the project lead and reviewed these recommendations. We agreed that this was a good list, so we posted them to our document sharing site and we're ready to start next year's project with our adjustments.

The SMARTBoard was great to be able to quickly capture ideas in handwritting so the brainstorming felt raw and fast. If I had been typing it, I think it would have felt more formal and slowed the process. One challenge was that as the list grew, I had to scroll and this hid some of the earlier inputs. At one point near the end someone mentioned something that had already been written down. Instead of scrolling back to review it, I just wrote it down again.

I did skip steps 1 and 2 of the Hot Wash because I wasn't the project lead. I felt that he was under pressure to perform on this project and trying to add the Hot Wash would sound like more work that we didn't have time for. Doing steps 3 and 4 is more than we've done in the past. I think having introduced the team, specifically the project lead to steps 3 and 4 will make it easier to kick off the next project including steps 1 and 2 to make the process even more effective next time.

Colorado Springs
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