Brainstorming for GlassFish v3 User Tasks: Facilitating a Session

The first brainstorming session for GlassFish v3 user tasks is scheduled for later this week (Thursday, February 14th, 2008, from 3–4 PM PST to be precise). If you would like contribute to this session, or simply observe, please join us by calling the conference call number on the GlassFish v3 User Task Analyses page. If you are unable to join this session, you will have the opportunity to contribute at future sessions, in addition to the other opportunities to get involved with the GlassFish v3 documentation effort.

The guidelines to facilitators for facilitating a session provide some idea of what to expect if you are attending a session. These guidelines are as follows:

  • Set an agenda for the session as follows:

    1. Introduction. Use the first few minutes of the session to introduce the session. State the scope and purpose of the session. Present the remainder of the agenda for the session, stating how much time you will allow for each item on the agenda.

    2. Gathering ideas. Set aside between 50% and 60% of the session for gathering ideas.

    3. Sorting ideas. Set aside between 30% and 40% of the session for sorting ideas.

    4. Wrap up. Use the last few minutes of the session to wrap up the session, summarizing any follow-up actions from the session.

  • Ask the recorder of the session to be the timekeeper for the session.

  • Provide each participant in the session with a pad of sticky notes and a marker pen.

  • Ask participants to write each separate idea that they have on a sticky note and to affix the sticky note to the white board in the meeting room.

  • During the gathering ideas phase:

    • Repeat ("mirror") people's ideas.

    • Build on other people's ideas.

    • Concentrate on the quantity, not quality, of ideas.

    • Do not evaluate, critique, discuss, or organize the ideas.

    • Avoid gestures or facial expressions that might signal approval or disapproval of an idea.

    • Make sure that all ideas are recorded.

    • Allow for silence.

    • Do not give up the first time that the group runs out of ideas. Groups often come up with a second round of ideas.

    • Give a warning that the end of the "gathering ideas" phase is approaching.

  • For participants by telephone:

    • Ask each participant by telephone to speak their ideas so that you record them on sticky notes.

    • When you record the ideas of participants by telephone, use their exact words.

    • Provide periodic summaries of the ideas that other participants have contributed.

  • Use the sorting ideas phase of the session for the following:

    • Evaluating the tasks that were recorded in the "gathering ideas" phase

    • Identifying which category of users will perform each task

    • Grouping tasks by category of users

    • Grouping related tasks

    • Organizing the tasks and task groups into a logical order

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