Project Management

Nominal Group Technique

last edited by: erin decaprio on Sep 24, 2006 12:11 PM login/register to edit this page

1 Applications
2 Procedures
3 Instructions

A structured form of brainstorming, including the entire group involved in a workshop. NGT was developed based on research that indicated that people came up with more and better ideas working silently in a group than when they worked alone. Participants work by themselves and then share information through round-robin collection. The entire team decides how to organize and evaluate the results.

Advantages of NGT include:

  • information collection is separated from organization/analysis and valuation/prioritization
  • builds towards a consensus solution in a structured, manageable fashion
Disadvantages of NGT include:
  • may take too much time to execute the entire cycle of collect, organize, prioritize
  • not as easy to follow unless rules are clearly understood
  • may require additional decision making techniques


  • To structure an information gathering or brainstorming activity.
  • To separate the collection from the analysis of ideas.
  • To facilitate consensus building.


  1. Post problem, issue, or question, and instruct each participant to silently generate a list of response items.
  2. Collect the responses in round-robin fashion and post/write on flip chart or white board.
  3. As each participant gives one of their responses, instruct the others to check off duplicates from their list.
  4. Review each response by asking:
    • "What is the meaning of this item?"
    • "Is this item dependent upon or related to another item?"
  5. Include participants to suggest ways to group ideas, and then group them.
  6. Review the groupings and check for clarification and sequencing.
  7. Prioritize the groups for action.


Present the problem or issue to the team. Ask each member of the team to generate ideas individually. It is typical to allow 5 to 30 minutes, depending on the complexity of the issue or topic of focus and depending on the amount of preparation time participants had been given. The facilitator collects the ideas from the participants, using a round-robin technique. As each response is given, have participants check off any duplicates to avoid redundant collection. When in doubt, ask for clarification, and continue. The team is then asked to discuss and prioritize the contributions. Contributions may be combined, keeping track of each original contributor to build up the ideas and facilitate consensus. Further duplicates are eliminated. The ideas are evaluated only after all ideas have been exhausted.

The Nominal Group Technique can help guide the facilitator to focus the project team on delivering a working vision of the enterprise in terms of "Super Bowl" success. Use the technique to generate key stakeholder needs that will drive the working vision of future success. Focus the small teams to describe the key performance criteria to satisfy the needs of the stakeholders.

last edited by: erin decaprio on Sep 24, 2006 12:11 PM login/register to edit this page


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