IAF Methods Database Newsletter

Dear colleagues,
Welcome to this December IAF-Methods Database Newsletter, the last issue for 2010. Part of closing the year for me has been reading through all of the methods in the Database. Since I’m always on the lookout for convergence tools, I was really struck when I came across Donut Prioritization, developed by Mary Jackson at maryjackson@pdq.net I hope you like it!

Method of the Month
Donut Prioritization
To prioritize tasks into three levels and to create a quarter timeline.

• Paper a wall and draw a big donut. The number of items that can reasonably be considered critical determines the size of the center of the donut.

• Make a post-it note for each item up for consideration, and put all of the post-its on the donut itself.

• The center of the donut means, "There's no point in doing anything at all if we can't do these." The area outside the donut means "we can't/won't do these at this time", perhaps because of sequencing issues (prerequisites), budget, feasibility... The donut itself means, "These are all be great things to do if and when we can."

• Open up the discussion to moving items inside or outside the ring.

• Test every item going into the center, "Do we HAVE to do it right now?" You may have to redefine some items into workable blocks.

• You should end up with a very workable set of absolute requirements. The fact that the items on the ring are desirable seems to make it easier for people to leave things there.

• Next, put up some more paper. Take the items on the donut and have the group place them on the second sheet of paper in a rough timeline. They should be able to group less critical items into logical units of work, and they should be able to describe/name each of the subsequent groupings. They will also likely identify a number of items that are relatively cheap and easy and might as well be done with the first round --- but they should remain as "second tier" items, with the understanding that we want to do everything in the second tier, but we can delay any of those for time, budget, or any other issues.

• A real key to this is that you don't have to argue the validity of every item. You respect the importance of everything on the wall, even those that won't make the first cut. And you open up the possibility of managing the amount of work as the group moves forward.

• The group will leave the session with a first phase and a sense of what the next phases will be based around. They should expect to repeat the exercise periodically, because things change --- make sure they don't think they are truly defining the next 5 phases, only setting a long-range direction.

Last Month's Poll
Last month’s Poll raised the question, How do you most frequently submit the results of a workshop you have facilitated? The responses were:
The workshop is the product of my facilitation, so no additional reporting is called for. 8%
Using the participants' materials, I compile and submit a summary document. 75%
I submit photos of the flipcharts only. 0%
The participants compile and submit a summary document. 17%

And where did that third notion with the flipchart photos come from, anyway? Well, there were government agencies at one point which accepted ONLY the flipchart photos as reports, their way of avoiding any changes in the dialogue after the fact. Nice idea, but apparently not too popular….
If you have a suggestion for a poll please contact us!