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Over the years I've facilitated dozens of brainstorming sessions for all sorts of projects, and I've found that they generally end up like this:
What if I told you there was a better way? Well, there is, and it is awesome.
I've recently found an online white boarding tool called Stormboard.
Here's how my last brainstorming session went while using this tool:
In a group of strong personalities and very opinionated people (yes, including me!) we were able to spend an hour together without a one or two people dominating and rising to the top to exert their influence over the group.
Not a single idea was lost. Some were discarded, others were given low priority, but even weeks later I can go back and see all of them, revisit them, ask questions, etc.
Oh...and the best part?
While the session was conducted real time with all of us logged in together, two of us were working at our desks in Cleveland, one was in India, and another another was working from home. The discussions were via IM using the tool.
My next task will be to use Stormboard's index card tool to collaborate on a product breakdown. Give me a shout if you're interested in hearing how it goes.
A small disclaimer: I do not work for the company that developed Stormboard, they have not asked me to write this nor have I received anything in return for posting this article. (Unless one counts the "5 Articles" badge I got today when I saved it :) ) Also, the tool does not connect to Jira yet, but I believe that is somewhere on their radar.