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Hi,

I would love to hear how you collect and especially organize ideas and stakeholder input in the early phases of a project.

We are in the very inital phases of a small project. For this, we are interviewing a lot of stakeholders and customers which generates a lot of ideas. We are also having discussions amongst ourselves from time to time, which generates lots of ideas of varying quality.

I suppose this is a very common thing, so I should also suppose many of you have been doing similar excercises.

My inital though was to just note them down without any particular order in a Word document. Another idea was to put them in the task management spreadsheet. When you think about it, any idea ("Maybe we can do X") can be converted to a task: "Investigate if X is a good idea" with medium priority or alternatively "Do X" with quite a low priority. But then, my best idea was to go to the Manager Tools forum and ask ;) How do you go about this?

Thanks in advance!

tlhausmann's picture

Hi vinter,

Welcome to the forums!

There are a variety of formal, informal, structured, and unstructured methods.  Depending upon the nature of your project (complexity, duration, number of stakeholders, etc) one *best* method may be possible. However, because you may be presenting results to different audiences there is most likely going to be more than one "view" of your findings.

PM me if you want to take a further discussion off-line. That said, do some homework (Googling?) on RACI, Knowledge Acquisition Models (process maps, state transition maps, etc.), and buy a copy of Visio if you haven't already. There are a number of techniques for succinctly presenting findings.

There are a number of folks in the forums who are fans of Mind Maps...but if your project is large with numerous sub-components then mind maps become mind-numbing for some.

Are you using structured interviewing techniques?

vinter's picture

>Hi vinter,

>Welcome to the forums!

Thanks. And apologies for the long time for the answer. The bosses went to panic mode over something completely different and we have had to put the project on hold for a while. Your comments are nevertheless valuable!

>There are a variety of formal, informal, structured, and unstructured >methods.  Depending upon the nature of your project (complexity, >duration, number of stakeholders, etc) one *best* method may be >possible. However, because you may be presenting results to different >audiences there is most likely going to be more than one "view" of your >findings.

It is always difficult to make questions on forums. You want to describe everything relevant, but not to hit people with a wall of text. It is quite a small project with some three project members. Our line manager will probably also act as project manager, but noone on the team has much formal project management training. I'd call it mid-complex, since it is about developing a mathematical model for the financial sector; hence the many ideas flying around internally. We will interview between 10 and 20 stakeholders.

>PM me if you want to take a further discussion off-line. 

That is very kind of you. So far, this is fine.

>That said, do some homework (Googling?) on RACI, Knowledge >Acquisition Models (process maps, state transition maps, etc.), [... mind >maps...] 

Those are great tips. This is really all I was asking for: Some words to search for. I tried searching for "Keeping ideas" and the like, and all I found was about the need for having a notebook around the bed (which I thinks is rubbish, btw). 

>and buy a copy of Visio if you haven't already. There are a number of >techniques for succinctly presenting findings.</cite>

Yes, Visio is great for presenting, but terrible for bookkeeping.

>Are you using structured interviewing techniques?</cite>

Nope. What is that? I have not seen any podcasts about this subject from M&M either.

Thanks again!

STEVENM's picture

A good 'shotgun' resource might be gotten from the IIBA.  Their handbook covers this topic well.  And will get you pretty much what you need.  If not you'll absolutely have the search terms to get some templates and examples to use.