So far in this series on creative project brainstorming, we have looked at the type of questions and exploration techniques you could use when you’re in the challenge phase of your project. In this last part, though short, we’ll cover how to close the project discovery and let you do the actual work.
Closing an exploration phase doesn’t mean the close of the entire project discovery. In fact, until you and your team have come to a final decision on how your initial goal will be reached, you’ll probably be closing many different exploration phases. To help with semantics, think of the discovery phase of your project as one big (opening –> exploration –> closing) group with many, many smaller, similar groups inside of it. It’s not uncommon to have an ‘open, explore, and closing’ group for a every single topic in your project.
Closing a topic is meant to be the end of the topic at this stage. Your best solution right now may need some modifications later, and that’s okay. It’s helpful to keep this fact in mind when you are brainstorming. It’s fairly common to revisit old ideas to make sure your new ideas are conflicting with them. Even if they do, it’s fair to start a new round of questioning and exploration on that topic. You may do this without even realizing it.
You close a topic by asking closing questions. Remember how we talked about opening questions and that were intentionally vague and used to create discussions? Of course you do. Closing questions are the opposite of that. Questions like, “Which of these options is the best solution for this problem?”, are designed to get people thinking about a single solution, in this case from a list of choices, that they can agree on.
You and your team have already had many discussions on whether your ideas are viable and consistent with your goal. Closing questions should also create discussion, but of a different sort. Up until now, you’ve been asking questions to figure out aspects of the project. Now, you’re trying to figure out which of those aspect ideas are the best, or at least the best right now.
That’s really all there is to it, actually. Make sure you and your team are aware of when you have ‘enough’ ideas and are ready to close a topic. Otherwise you may have some confused people.
In this article series, we didn’t talk about anything technical or code related, but rather techniques that can be used to help a team come together and brainstorm on a creative project.
Vague opening questions can help you determine where you want to go with your initial idea and help you define your goal. Keep in mind that you need allow yourself and your group to have discussions to open up the exploration phase of the topic and get all ideas on the table, and I mean ALL. Make sure your team members’ voices are heard and instigate anyone that seems like they are holding back. There are (almost) no bad ideas.
If you follow these guidelines, you are going to have an innovative, user-friendly, robust application. I hope you take some ideas from this series on Brainstorming a Creative Project to apply to your own endeavor.