Project Management

Lessons Learned: Brainstorming, It's Not What You Think It Is

PMI Buffalo, NY Chapter, and Roger Firestien, PhD

Several years ago, we were starting work with a new client. Our client made a point to tell us about the brainstorming sessions his group conducted. So we asked him, “How many ideas do your people come up with in these sessions?”

“Oh, usually five or six,” he replied.

Five or six? Five or six? Wrong! That’s not brainstorming.

The more ideas you generate, the greater your chances are of coming up with good ideas. An effective brainstorming session is not generating four ideas in five minutes; it is generating forty to sixty ideas in five minutes! To get that kind of quantity, it’s important to follow the guidelines for brainstorming.   

Why Is Brainstorming Important?
The short answer is because the Project Management Institute (PMI) tells us it is.

PMI identifies brainstorming as a tool and technique, competency, or essential skill in every one of its eight certifications except for the PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)®. While not identified as a tool and technique or essential skill in all PMI-published materials, we believe brainstorming deserves a pocket in every scheduling practitioner’s tool belt.

Here is where you’ll find brainstorming:

  • The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® and the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certifications, as well …

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