In this installment of the Secret Sauce, Project Manager Tom Jones discusses the helpful exercise known as Like, Wish, Wonder. It can help your team overcome groupthink and stay engaged during a project kickoff. So grab a post-it note and marker, and start answering some important questions: what do you like about your current site, product, workflow, etc? What do you wish it could do? And then what do you wonder about it? The wonder is more challenging, and looks toward future goals. Take a listen, let it sink in, and consider it for your next kickoff.
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Allison Manley [AM]: Hello, and welcome to the Secret Sauce, brought to you by Palantir.net. This is a very short podcast that offers a quick tip on some small thing you can do to help your business run better. I’m Allison Manley, an account manager here at Palantir, and today’s advice comes from Tom Jones, who is going to talk about running kickoff meetings a little bit better.
Tom Jones [TJ]: Hi, my name is Tom, and today I’m going to share some tips for improving a kickoff meeting by using a technique named Like/Wish/Wonder. At Palantir we like to start each project with face-to-face kickoff meetings when possible. This allows us to really meet our new partners and to get to know their goals and objectives for the project. During these kickoff meetings, we use many types of working sessions to get input from the various stakeholders, and one of my favorites is Like/Wish/Wonder.
Sessions involving large groups can be intimidating for some people, and those meetings are often dominated by a few people, sometimes the highest-ranking people in the room, and they are not necessarily the best ones for getting this information because they are not close enough to the day-to-day nuance. So they’re not always the best to inform the project team for the details. An exercise such as Like/Wish/Wonder can help overcome groupthink and keep everyone involved. And keeping them engaged throughout the session is one of the biggest goals.
Like/Wish/Wonder is a simple session to facilitate as well. We hand out Post-it notes to each person in the session, and ask them to write down one thought per sheet. And then we proceed to go through each of the questions.
What do you like about the current site or product? It could be their editorial work flow that we should keep as part of this project and implement as a feature.
What do you wish the current site or product could do?
What do you wonder about the new site or product being able to do for you? This question is different, and the one-word discussion usually challenges a current idea or concept. It could be whether the site or product really needs the feature at all. Perhaps it’s a feature that’s a really high level of effort to produce and very little revenue as a result. So the question becomes, should we have this on the project at all? What is it going to do for us going forward, and more importantly, what is it going to do for our users?
For each question, participants are able to write down as many thoughts as they want, but just one per sheet. Then the facilitator will collect the Post-it sheets after each question, and we’ll put them on a wall or board. And we’ll try to quickly group them by similar ideas. The grouped sheets provide a quick visual of the most popular ideas among the stakeholders, and they open a conversation among the group to detail those requirements further.
One of the biggest takeaways from any on-site is trying to get buy-in from the stakeholders. It’s critical to any project, and an exercise such as Like/Wish/Wonder allows everyone to provide input and keeps them engaged in the project. And that increases the team’s chances of success.
AM: For more great tips, follow us on Twitter at @palantir, or visit our website at palantir.net. Have a great day!