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Nominal Group Technique: Practical variations

The Quality Toolbook > Nominal Group Technique > Practical variations

When to use it | How to understand it | Example | How to do it | Practical variations


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Practical variations

  • Get the group to restate the original objective in their own words. This can ensure greater ownership of the problem.
  • Tell the team about the objective before the meeting, so they can spend more time thinking about ideas. They can then bring completed cards to the meeting. This is likely to result in more and better ideas.
  • Use adhesive memo notes, so the ideas can be posted up on a vertical surface such as a whiteboard. When doing this, ensure they are written with broad-tipped marker pens so they can be read from anywhere in the room. This saves the duplication of writing cards that are not changed by the discussion. It also enables them to be organized using other tools, such as the Affinity Diagram or Tree Diagram.
  • Whilst the cards are being discussed, allow the meeting participants to write new cards, then repeat the process, collecting, shuffling and discussing these. This allows an element of the synergy of Brainstorming to be used.
  • When writing cards, prioritize them with a number or letter (of pre-agreed meaning). In the discussion stage, the leader then reads out the top priority items first.
  • A non-anonymous version is that, instead of the leader reading cards in the discussion stage, each person in turn reads out one of their own cards. Individuals may also read out their votes, rather than give them to the leader to read.
  • If there are a large number of items on the list (typically over 50), reduce this number before voting. For example, combine ideas or allow team members to withdraw their own ideas.
  • Number the ideas on the displayed list. This enables votes to be cast without the whole idea having to be rewritten. Take care on voting slips to differentiate between idea numbers and vote values.
  • Use various other methods of Voting.
  • The team walks to the list of ideas and marks their votes on them themselves. This is quicker, but less anonymous.



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