Thursday, March 10, 2005
The Power of Brainstorming
I've been working my way through The CRC Card Book, a great text on using index cards, brainstorming and role play to find and refine classes in a system you're designing. The brainstorming section has some key points on facilitating good brainstorming sessions, plus there are three very good scenarios or case studies in novella form showing how a well-moderated set of sessions might run. I've had access to the Rational Unified Process (RUP) for the last 18 months and have been a fan of some of detailed guides they've got. Brainstorming plays a large role in things like Use Case Workshops or Class Discovery Workshops. I had very good success using their Use Case Workshop as a guide when trying to flesh out a possible system I was working on -- and that was using that guide by myself in a single-person brainstorming session! RUP can be a ponderous, confusing system to work under, but the RUP toolset really is a great reference to have around. (Aside from it's stupid dependency on a very specific JRE version. I've got JRE 1.4.5 loaded and RUP will only run with 1.4.0. Thanks, dudes.) My jobs over the last few years have kept me out of any real brainstorming sessions (whiteboard BS sessions with my current boss excepted) and I'm beginning to realize how much I've missed them. There's something incredibly motivating about having participated in a successful brainstorm session with a small group of folks. I also admire great facilitators/moderators/leads who keep things rolling with artful skill. Hopefully I'll find opportunities to get more involved with this kind of neat creativity in the future.