Creativity Techniques

Creativity Techniques

Technique $100/$1000 Distribution


Ask customers to allocate $100 among the requirements to

show what value they hold for each requirement (i.e., its

importance when buying). Next have customers allocate $1000

to reward suppliers who have done well in meeting any of the

customer requirements.


Forces some relative rating

Shows how customers make buying choices

Show how well suppliers are meeting customer requirements


No forced comparisons

Technique acquiring information about


A strategy is acquiring information about one's own and

other's outcomes of the decision making situation. This arises

from the game-playing research literature that suggests that

knowing the outcomes of opponents and the game playing

strategies they use to maximize those outcomes is valuable to a

decision maker.

Technique adclus


The additive clustering (ADCLUS) model (Shepard & Arabie,

1979) treats the similarity of two stimuli as a weighted

additive measure of their common features. Inspired by recent

work in unsupervised learning with multiple cause models, we

propose a new, statistically well-motivated algorithm for

discovering the structure of natural stimulus classes using the

ADCLUS model, which promises substantial gains in

conceptual simplicity, practical efficiency, and solution

quality over earlier efforts. We also present preliminary results

with artificial data and two classic similarity data sets.

Technique aggregating information


Another group of strategies work to reduce complexity by

aggregating information. Psychology tends to evaluate decision

making from an information processing standpoint (Reitman,

1964). Both individuals and groups' information processing

capacities can be severely overwhelmed by the information

processing demands placed on them by complex problems

typically seen in organizational settings

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Technique Analytic Hierarchy Process


1) paarsgewijze vergelijking schaal 1-9 (en voor omgekeerde 1

tot 1/9) op een gekozen dimensie

2) Vectornormalisatie

3) resultaat: rangschikking op gekozen dimensie

Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP)

AHP asks people to make choices between pairs of customer

requirements and select whether one requirement is equal, 1/2

or 1/4 as important as the other. The number of judgments a

rater must make is n(n-1)/2, so if there were 10 requirements

there would be 45 total judgments. With 20 requirements,

there would be 190 judgments. Expert Choice, Pittsburgh, PA,

provides software that can make the AHP process somewhat

more practical to implement.


Forces many specific judgments between customer


Requirements are rated relative to each other

Automatically, importance ratings are expressed as a % or

fraction and all total to 100% or 1.0

Software checks for consistency in response ratings

Provides quite discerning importance values


Software costs about $500

Takes time to learn the software

AHP can be a little tricky to design

If not careful, it asks respondees to differentiate beyond their

level of patience.

Technique Analytic Network Process


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The AHP is a relatively simple and accessible way to deal

with everyday decisions, particularly because of the

availability of its user-friendly supporting software Expert

Choice. The ANP is much broader and deeper than the AHP

and can be applied to very sophisticated decisions involving a

variety of interactions and dependencies. In general, one would

not expect simple everyday decisions to be dealt with as

feedback problems that require the ANP. It is mostly the

complex corporate or public-sector decisions requiring a large

amount of information, interaction, and feedback with a high

degree of complexity that would benefit most from this


For example, the concern may be whether a merger should be

made or a subsidiary sold, a new product put on the market, a

new activity undertaken, and how best to do it; what kind of

legislation is needed and how it should be implemented; where

money and other resources should be allocated, and in what

amounts. Here the refinements can be handled with greater

precision to obtain an answer that is not simply a ranking, as

one does in a hierarchy that assumes independence from level

to level. It should be possible to include every conceivable

concern and every experience and judgment in this approach.

The ANP is recommended for cases where the most thorough

and systematic analysis of influences needs to be made. The

need for simple forms of feedback and dependence will often

be encountered when attempting to use a hierarchy to make a

decision. It is not a luxury but a core concern to learn about

how to deal with dependence in decision making.

Morphological analysis (analysis of form) is the organization

of complexity, which is considered one of the four areas of

creativity, along with brainstorming, synectics, and lateral

thinking. Decision making and morphological analysis have

similar concerns: how to structure attributes and criteria in

terms of higher goals, how to establish priorities, and how to

choose the best alternatives. We will be concerned with these

aspects of creative thinking.

Technique Anchored Rating Scale


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Again using an Affinity Diagram, organize the customer

requirements into high and secondary levels. Present the

customer with the high level customer requirements. Have the

customer pick the requirement that is most important and

assign that a "10" rating. Then ask the customer to assign up

to 10 points each to the remaining customer requirements

using the item that was given a "10" as a comparison anchor.

For example, relative to "Performance" which got the 10, the

customer may assign a "7" rating to "Life".

Then have the customer pick the most important second level

customer requirement in each category and assign that a "10"

rating. For example, under the primary category of

"Performance", the secondary level requirement, "Cuts

Smooth", may be considered the most important by the

customer and he/she assigns that a "10" rating. Then, ask the

customer to assign 1 to 10 points to the remaining secondary

level customer requirements relative to "Cuts Smooth" which

received a "10" rating (e.g., "Cuts Straight" might get a "7"

rating, etc.).

The overall rating of each secondary level requirement can be

computed by multiplying its importance rating times the rating

given its related high level customer requirement. For example,

if "Cuts Straight" got a "7" rating and the category

"Performance" got a "9" rating, the weighted rating for "Cuts

Straight" would be 7 x 9 = 63. Then, to convert the rating to a

1 to 5 rating value, divide each rating by 20 and round off (i.e.,

63/20 = 3.15. Round off to a "3" rating).


Forces some tradeoffs but is not as complicated as conjoint


The best balance between linear rating scales or constant sum

scale and conjoint analysis.


Not as rigorous as conjoint analysis (e.g., does not force

tradeoffs between customer requirements at 2-3 levels of


Technique Assumption Smashing


A useful technique of generating ideas is to list the

assumptions of the problem, and then explore what happens

as you drop each of these assumptions individually or in


Technique Attribute Listing


Like asking the six basic questions, attribute listing can deliver

some real surprises. Take a product, a mousetrap for instance.

It has a Feature called the spring, the Attributes of the present

spring are that it's coiled, steel and tempered. Ideas for

changing it would be: flat leaf, titanium. Get the idea?

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Technique bargaining


Conflict can also be managed through bargaining which is based

on interpersonal influence attempts. Face-to-face discussions,

persuasion tactics, bluffing strategies, threatening and

promising, conceding reluctantly, and responding tit-for-tat are

all bargaining techniques from the social psychology research

literature that can be used to reduce conflict (MacCrimmon &

Taylor, 1976).

Technique Bayesian probability revision


Bayesian probability revision is a strategy for "prescribing the

optimal impact that additional information should have on a

decision maker's judgment of initially uncertain decision

outcomes"(MacCrimmon & Taylor, 1976, 1400). Research has

shown that decision makers tend to be more conservative than

the optimal Bayesian revision. The Probabilistic Information

Processing System (PIP) can be used to help decision makers

apply the Bayesian approach more accurately. Decision

makers can also calculate the economic cost of uncertainty by

multiplying the probability of each possible event that might

occur by the cost of the best action to take in that situation.

By doing this they can calculate the optimal amount of

information to collect to reduce uncertainty. The expense of

collecting the uncertain information can be compared to the

cost of not having it.

Technique Blending ideas


Zoveel mogelijk ideeŽn worden bij elkaar gevoegd tot ťťn groot

eengemaakt idee dat dus een beetje van iedereen wordt.

Soms is het niet mogelijk om ťťn zinvol idee te distilleren.

Technique bootstrapping with a linear


A decision making strategy for aggregating preferences is

bootstrapping with a linear model (MacCrimmon & Taylor,

1976). This is useful for situations in which a decision maker

makes a number of similar decisions. linear regression can

model the decision maker's behavior. In fact, these linear

regression models are more reliable than the decision maker,

because it does not have as variable attention and other similiar

human inconsistencies. This statistical backup can be an aid to

decision making, ensuring high reliability of decisions.

Technique Brainstorming


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Have a well-defined and clearly stated problem

Have someone assigned to write down all the ideas as they


Have the right number of people in the group

Have someone in charge to help enforce the following


-Suspend judgment

-Every idea is accepted and recorded

-Encourage people to build on the ideas of others

-Encourage way-out and odd ideas

Technique Brainstorming Interview


Brainstorming is not in itself an interview technique primarily

because it is a random, unorganised and informal technique.

However brainstorming can be a valuable requirements

elicitation technique, extracting novel requirements. It is

however unorganised and if not controlled, can become a

fruitless exercise. Brainstorming should be done with a peer

group, as ranking may reduce participant creativity and hinder

the final selection of solutions.

Brainstorming allows the user to express ideas which may be

unrealistic or impossible and for the participants to build on

these ideas. Before the brainstorming session, the participants

need to be briefed as to the purpose of the meeting and also

the scope of their ideas. At the start of the brainstorming

session, the participants should be reminded of the rules of

brainstorming, such as not criticising the ideas of others, as

this stifles creativity and building on suggestions put forward

by others. During the brainstorming there should be little

control, except where the rules are not abided by or the

suggestions put forward are not compatible with the scope and

purpose of the meeting. At the end of the brainstorming

session, the ideas should be listed. Against each idea, a score or

ranking should be decided. The score reflects the

applicability/usefulness of the idea, so ideas with a low score

can be disregarded. For the remaining proposed solutions, a

vote or proposal/seconding mechanism can be used.

Because of the high, random suggestions that brainstorming

produces, it is a useful tool to use at the start of a project's life

cycle, when the requirements for the proposed system are

still in their infancy. Brainstorming may be used later on by

the requirements engineer to find novel solutions to particular


The benefits of using brainstorming include:

innovative/unusual ideas

multi-perspectives from participants

a number of possible solutions

new features

The problems with brainstorming include:

non-relevant ideas being put forward

collating all the suggestions


unpredictable results

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Technique Brainwriting


Elke deelnemer start met een papier waarop hij gedurende vijf

minuten zijn ideeŽn opschrijft.

Na vijf minuten wordt het blad doorgegeven aan de volgende.

Deze vult aan gedurende vijf minuten en geeft het weer door.

Op het einde worden alle ideeŽn uitgehangen, zodat ieder ze

kan lezen.

Technique Campaign speech voting


Elke persoon mag drie stemmen uitbrengen, gespreid over alle


Elk idee dat tenminste ťťn stem heeft gekregen, wordt


Technique Checklist technique


Checklist: put to other uses? Adapt? Modify?Ö

Technique chunking


The strategy of "chunking," which helps decision makers

reduce complexity by organizing and grouping information into

categories or "chunks," and arranging them by order of

importance (Simon, 1969). This strategy serves to effectively

enhance the decision maker's information processing capacity.

You can see the cognitive psychology theory behind this

strategy, and its relationship with a similar technique for

increasing the capacity of short-term memory.

Technique classify factors into


To reduce complexity, and increase manageability, a useful

strategy is to classify factors of a decision problem into

controllable and uncontrollable, and focus on those that are

controllable. Find solutions to the controllable factors that you

can do something about (MacCrimmon & Taylor, 1976).

Technique communication networks


The use of appropriate communication networks of decision

making groups maximizes accurate and efficient exchange of

communication. This reduces complexity by increasing the

amount of information. In complex tasks, decentralized

communication networks have been found to be more efficient

(Lawson, 1965; Mulder, 1960; Shaw, 1954) and to produce

more satisfaction among group members (Cohen, 1961;

Lawson, 1965; Leavitt, 1951; Shaw, 1954). The down side to

this communication network is that leadership is less likely to

emerge in it than in more centralized ones.

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Technique Conjoint Analysis


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Conjoint analysis (also called Multi-attribute Utility Analysis)

is used to determine what combination of customer

requirements (product and service attributes) has the most

appeal to targeted customers and when price is included, what

combination of attributes and price will provide the company

with the best market share and profitability. In essence, it

helps compute a utility curve for each customer requirement.

A utility curve shows what amount of each customer

requirement must be provided to satisfy customers and it also

can show when providing more is not better. Therefore, the

utility curve provides valuable insight into the

return-on-investment for each design improvement effort.

Often in Conjoint Analysis, each requirement is presented to

the customers at two, three or four intensity levels. For

example, if "Durability" was a high level customer

requirement, it could be presented to the customer at two

levels - "High Durability" and "Low Durability". Customers

are presented requirements cards showing different

combinations of customer requirements and levels. For

example, three attributes at three levels would require 27 cards.

Customers are asked to stack the cards in order of priority,

best on top. Alternatively, customers could be asked to write

rating values on each card (e.g., from 1 to 100 points). This

method would likely avoid ties between cards.

The ranking or rating results can then be used to calculate and

plot the utility value of each combination of attributes. For

example, the highest ranked card gets a utility value of 1 and

the lowest 0. Cards in between have utility values based on

where their ranking falls between the 1 an 0 cards.

The first pass of conjoint analysis is usually at the high level

requirements. Then, it is done at a more detailed customer

requirements level for specific requirements of high interest.

Various schemes are used to keep things manageable when

working through this process.

To make conjoint analysis more practical from the very

beginning, the number of customer requirements should be

constrained using various approaches. Focus groups can be

used to eliminate requirements that are low importance. Then,

the conjoint analysis is done on the remaining customer

requirements. Also, requirements could be eliminated that are

expected (e.g., won't break, long life or low price) and

importance ratings on use-related requirements only are asked

for. However, bear in mind that conjoint analysis can be used

to determine how much more customers are willing to pay for

long life.


Forces many specific tradeoffs not only between requirements

but at different levels of intensity for each item

Puts the customer in the framework of the actual buying


Helps position the product offering in the market place by

identifying the right combination and level of product

attributes that will sell best at specified prices


Can practically handle only a limited number of customer

requirements (e.g., 6 attributes at 3 levels would require 54

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Can be a quite tricky to design

If not careful, it asks respondees to differentiate beyond their

level of patience

Technique Conservative focusing


Conservative focusing is finding one positive instance and

varying one attribute at a time

Technique Constant Sum Scale


Use an Affinity Diagram to structure customer needs into high

level, second level and, if needed, third level requirements.

Ask each customer to allocate 100 points among the high level

requirements (i.e., "life", "performance", "handles hazards",

etc.). Next, have the customer allocate 100 points among the

second level customer requirements related to each high level

customer requirement. Compute weighted importance of each

second level requirement by multiplying its rating times the

rating of its related high level requirement. Normalize the

ratings to 100.


Forces some relative rating but not as much as Anchored Scale



Since some items may be assigned no points, you can get a

very wide variance in response ratings.

Technique Creative Problem Solving in a


Start your solution search with your customer or end user.

Define the problem accurately by asking the customer/end user

to state the problem five times. Get good ideas from

everywhere and everyone, let serendipity play. Think multiple

solutions. Brainstorm, exaggerate, experiment, play and

persist. If you're concerned about protecting your solution use

a patent or project notebook to date and record your actions

and your findings. Make innovative cost reduction a goal for

your problem-solving sessions.

Technique Creativity Triggers


Try applying any of these actions to your problem or idea:

add, subtract, transfer, empathize, animate, superimpose,

substitute, fragment, isolate, distort, disguise, contradict,

parody, lie, compare to, hybridize, metamorphose, symbolize,

mythologize, fantasize, repeat, combine

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Technique Decomposable Matrices


The first strategy is to model the complexity. This can be

accomplished by using Decomposable Matrices, as suggested

by Simon (1969).

Technique Delphi technique


An effective strategy for aggregating information from the

expertise of decision makers in a group is the Delphi technique

(Dalkey & Helmer, 1963). This technique employs interaction

among group members that are isolated from each other to

preclude "forceful group members from dominating the

discussion and stifling contributions of other group members"

(MacCrimmon & Taylor,1976, p. 1420). The experts are

separated and are given questionnaires soliciting their opinions

and reasons for them. These questionnaires are then circulated

anonymously to each other group member. After each round

of questionnaires, information is consolidated and again

circulated anonymously among group members. This is a

strategy to maximize decision making benefits of a group,

while limiting some of its weaknesses. With current computer

technology, this technique would be especially easy to


Technique devil's advocate


The devil's advocate is a well-known strategy of presenting the

opposition's side of the issue.

Technique DO IT


The pattern of the DO IT process emphasises the need to

Define problems, Open yourself to many possible solutions,

Identify the best solution and then Transform it into action


The ten DO IT catalysts, designed to help us creatively define,

open, identify and transform, are...


Mind Focus

Mind Grip

Mind Stretch


Mind Prompt

Mind Surprise

Mind Free

Mind Synthesise


Mind Integrate

Mind Strengthen

Mind Synergise


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Technique Drawing and Visual Thinking


So much of our thinking is word based which is very much a

left-brained activity. To utilise the right brain in visualising and

solving problems, a new method is needed... thinking in a

visual language.

This is the premise of Betty Edward's book Drawing on the

Artist Within (the sequel to Drawing on the Right Side of the


The seminal book on the subject of visual thinking would have

to be Robert McKim's book Experiences in Visual Thinking

which he developed from his experiences in teaching a

visual-thinking course at Stanford University.

Technique factor into subproblems


A complex decision problem can be factored into smaller, more

manageable subproblems to reduce complexity. These

subproblems then can be divided among decision makers in a

group, and solved in parallel (Simon, 1969). Subproblems can

be delegated to group members with relevant strengths in that

area. One proviso in using this strategy is that it is not

effective for highly interrelated subparts, because then the

coordination problems outweigh the advantages gained.

Technique focus gambling


focus gambling varies more than one attribute at a time

Technique focus on changes


To find causes of a problem, look at changes that occurred

prior to the occurrence of the problem. If your heater is

malfunctioning just prior to a gas leak, the leak is probably on

the heater.

Technique focusing on what is or is not


The decision maker can analyze what the characteristics of the

problem are and discriminate them from the characteristics of

what is not the problem. By focusing on the factors differing

between the two, they can diagnose what is causing the


Technique Forced Analogy


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Forced analogy is a very useful and fun-filled method of

generating ideas. The idea is to compare the problem with

something else that has little or nothing in common and gaining

new insights as a result.

You can force a relationship between almost anything, and get

new insights - companies and whales, management systems

and telephone networks, or your relationship and a pencil.

Forcing relationships is one of the most powerful ways to

develop ways to develop new insights and new solutions. A

useful way of developing the relationships is to have a

selection of objects or cards with pictures to help you generate

ideas. Choose an object or card at random and see what

relationships you can force.

Use mind-mapping or a matrix to record the attributes and

then explore aspects of the problem at hand.

Technique Form Analysis


Form analysis uses forms, one of the most common methods

of organisational communication to elicit requirements. These

are good sources of information, as they provide a structured

list if inputs and outputs for the system. As stated by

Loucopoulos, a form is a good source of domain knowledge

because [Loucopoulos and Karakostas '95]:

It is a formal model and thus less ambiguous and inconsistent

than equivalent knowledge expressed in natural language.

A form is a data model, thus it can provide the basis for

developing the structural component of a functional model.

Important information about organisations is usually available

in forms.

The acquisition of forms is easy since they are the most

commonplace object in an office organisation.

The instructions which normally accompany the forms

provide an additional source of domain knowledge.

Forms analysis can be automated more easily than analysis of

other sources of requirements knowledge such as text,

drawings, etc.

Forms can be used as a direct entry into entity relationship

models, as entities, relationships and attributes have a direct

mapping from forms.

Technique Fuzzy Logic Requirements


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John Yen and Jonathan Lee [11] reported a novel approach to

requirements engineering by using "fuzzy logic," which can

work with imprecise statements. They had two premises.

First, that "soft" functional requirements could be used in

specifying requirements for expert systems. This approach

was task based. Second, they applied fuzzy logic analysis

techniques to validate the requirements; that is, they applied

some test to the requirement and analyzed the results for a

standard distribution. A high degree of correlation of results

indicated a valid requirement.

They describe a set of logic calculus that allows analysis,

validation, and specification of requirement "constraints" that

are as ambiguous as "feasible, optimal, and least expensive."

The implication drawn from their work is that imprecise

requirements (the normal state of affairs) may be handled by

an automated system using current technology. Further, such a

tool might be combined with some of the other tools

mentioned for a nearly automated treatment, from elicitation to

specification and finally to generation of code.

M. Bras and Y. Toussaint [1] lay out a concept for the

analysis and mapping of requirements documents. They

worked specifically on satellite ground support systems,

which tend to be large, take a long time to develop, have

extensive documentation, and have nearly all documentation in

natural language. They treat traceability by building tools to

analyze, linguistically map, and retain as a knowledge base the

contents of requirements documents.

Their work is like Yen and Lee's in that they use a parser

and language analysis module. They differ on the mapping of

knowledge contained in the documents, which they catalog in

four types: morphological (the sentences); syntactic

(grammar); semantic (meaning of language parts); and

pragmatic and background knowledge, which gives the implicit

meanings of the language. Their key concept for tracing

requirements is that any requirement or combination of

requirements should be "traceable" from knowledge links in the

requirements documents.

Although they do not propose a quantitative measure for

traceability, they do require that the "knowledge tree" contain

links between the requirements. They, too, offer a system for

the parsing, analysis, and linguistic mapping of the knowledge

in the requirements. This knowledge goes into a

machine-searchable database (knowledge base) that becomes

available for the techniques mentioned above. Again, the point

is that advanced automated techniques are being brought to

bear on the problem as CASE-like techniques are used on


Technique Fuzzy Thinking


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How would you decide to change jobs or propose marriage?

Answers to questions such as "Is the Salary Good?", "Can we

be happy" will have varying degrees of truth. In Aristotelian

Logic, there is True and False. With Fuzzy Logic, there is a

scale of 0 to 1 where Truth would be 1 and False be 0.

Decisions made with Fuzzy Logic take into account these

varying degrees of truth for a variety of inputs, and produce an

output (action) based on the inputs.

Ask true or false questions, then look for answers that

demonstrate intermediate levels of trueness and falseness. If

you wonder about the value of fuzzy logic, it's what makes

elevators and cars with antilock braking systems stop


This has got to be one of the most fun techniques. It's based

on the fact that the usual, the normal is a weak stimulus for


A quick way to get this technique to pay off is to change your

routine. Take a new way to or from work. Eat lunch in a new

area. Listen to a new radio station. Watch a television show

that's not in your native language. Love interior design? Read a

magazine about boxing.

Imagine you're the president of Sun Microsystems and you've

just discovered employees have placed your Ferrari on a raft in

a lagoon outside your office (they did this!). How would this

discovery affect your approach to the rest of your day?

Zen Buddhists are renowned for using discontinuity to

stimulate thinking. Try answering this Zen riddle: "What is a

mouse when it spins?" Want to be more creative? Try some of

these creativity techniques.

Technique Hegelian dialectic


The Hegelian dialectic requires decision makers to examine the

situation completely from two opposing points of view.

Technique Ideatoons


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1. Divide your challenge into attributes.

2. Describe each attribute by drawing an abstract graphic

symbol. Each drawing should represent a specific attribute and

be on a separate index card. Draw whatever feels right for

you. Allow the image of the attribute to emerge in its own way

- to state what is wants to say. On the back of the card, write

the attribute.

3. Place all of the file cards on a table with the graphic symbols

facing up. Group and regroup the symbols randomly into

various relationships. Try letting the cards arrange themselves

without conscious direction, as if they were telling you where

they wanted to be. Mix and match the symbols to provoke


4. Look for ideas and thoughts that you can link to your

challenge. Try to force relationships. Try free-associating,

Record the most idea-provoking arrangements.

5. When stalemated, you may want to add other Ideatoons or

even start an entirely new set.

Physically rearranging your cards will invent new relationships

and provoke new ideas. Try turning your symbols upside

down and sideways to generate new patterns. Juggle the

symbols and test the limits of your imagination.

Ideatoons is a device that allows you to express, see and think

about your business challenge in a different and unique way by

seasoning your challenge with the sauce of pictures.

Pattern language increases your capacity to divide whole into

parts and regroup the parts into a variety of new patterns.

Symbols also help you develop a deeper insight into any


Technique identify and utilize social


A strategy is to identify and utilize social motives of group


Technique Imitation


How many ideas are really original?

It is quite valid to imitate other ideas as a preparatory step to

original thinking. Try what all the "great" creators have done:

imitate, imitate, imitate. After you have imitated enough, you

will find your preferences shape what you are doing into a

distinct style. Originality is a natural result of sincere creative


Technique Informal requirements eliciting


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Vennix et al. [12], offer an extensive review of literature; they

conclude that most requirements elicitation is an art, with little

being done to change it to a science. They have tried to

remedy this problem through research in modeling and

simulation, capturing, documenting, and measuring the mental

models of individuals or groups to simulate alternatives in

decision making. However, to capture this information and to

find alternatives, they take on the problem of eliciting criteria

(requirements) that a model must satisfy. They note that there

is little in academic modeling and simulation training that treat

this problem. They present techniques for informal elicitation

of requirements, which the facilitator is to formalize through

documentation. Donald C. Gause and Gerald M. Weinberg [3]

address similar issues.

The primary finding is that group techniques, properly

facilitated and appropriately structured, can out perform

almost all individuals in obtaining, documenting, and evaluating

requirements. Techniques include "brainstorming," nominal

group techniques, the "Delphi" technique, and other similar

techniques. The single most important result of the survey

was that when a trained facilitator was added to the group, and

structure was added to group activities (except

brainstorming), there was a significant increase in quality and

quantity. Many of the techniques parallel those of the

"quality" movement.

Vennix [12] offers guidelines to structure the knowledge

elicitation process that are equally applicable to requirements

elicitation. The article identifies five factors to apply structure


"[T]he phase in the model-building process and the type of

task being performed, the number of persons involved in the

process, the purpose of the modeling effort, the time available

for participants, and finally the costs involved in using various


Technique input-output models


A strategy is to model the complexity. This can be

accomplished by using input-output models, developed by

Leontief (1966),

Technique joint agreements


The development of joint agreements among conflicting parties

to reduce disparity between their desired outcomes serves to

effectively reduce conflict. A disinterested third party can

offer an objective viewpoint and lessen conflict, even without

serving as a mediator or arbiter.

Technique K-means clustering


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The Kmeans command produces a K-means clustering.

K-means clustering splits a set of objects into a selected

number of groups by maximizing between variation relative to

within variation. In rough terms, you may think of it as like

doing a one-way ANOVA where the groups are formed by

making the largest F-value possible by reassigning members to

each group. K-means is an iterative procedure that assigns

cases to a specified number of nonoverlapping clusters. The

procedure iterates through the data until it successfully

clusters your cases.

Kmeans uses a default value of 50 for the number of iterations.

Rarely should you need more.

Technique Kano Survey


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Professor Kano, a Japanese professor, developed the concept

that, when met, requirements have different impact.

Some requirements are "expecteds" and only cause

dissatisfaction if not met.

Others are linear "satisfiers" - the more provided, the more

satisfied customers are.

Others are "exciters" - they excite customers because they

weren't expected.

A customer survey designed in a Kano format simply asks

each question in two ways. One question says, "If this

requirement was met what would your reaction be?". The

second question says, "If this requirement was not met, what

would your reaction be?"

The same response choices are provided for both questions.

I like it that way

It must be that way

I am neutral

I can live with it that way

I dislike it that way

By evaluating the survey data, a quantitative indication of

importance of each requirement is calculated. In the

calculations, "exciters" have much more weight than

"expecteds" or "linear satisfiers" and "linear satisfiers" have

more weight than "expecteds". Spread sheet software makes

this process more straight forward.


Provides very discerning importance values

Surfaces "exciters" which offer competitive advantages if met

Identifies leverage from "satisfiers"

Identifies "expecteds" that should not be overlooked in the


Automatically, importance ratings are expressed as a % or

fraction and all total to 100% or 1.0


A little tedious to complete because the questions are asked


Fairly complicated to analyze survey results

Technique LARC - Left and Right


maandag 31 mei 1999 Pagina 19 van 39

The right brain can be stimulated using drawing and visual

images. There are four versions of LARC and each is a

complete system for the stimulation of creative ideas. LARC 1

and LARC 2 are quick sets of exercises that can prompt

imaginative solutions to many problems. LARC 3 and LARC

4 are more complex, take more time, and are to be used for

more difficult problems or when it is necessary to find even

more inventive ideas than those produced by LARC 1 and

LARC 2. Each LARC version builds on the previous version.

Technique lateral thinking


Lateral thinking is about moving sideways when working on a

problem to try different perceptions, different concepts and

different points of entry. The term covers a variety of

methods including provocations to get us out of the usual line

of thought. Lateral thinking is cutting across patterns in a

self-organising system, and has very much to do with

Technique level of aggregation


Marschak (1964), suggests partitioning information effectively

by using an optimal "level of aggregation" for decisions. Some

information is too specific to be helpful, while other

information is too aggregated and general to be useful. If

detailed information is not retained during aggregation, it will

not be able to be disaggregated to use later. While aggregation

reduces complexity, the specifics of detailed information tend

to get lost when it is aggregated, and may be needed for later


Technique Linear Rating Scale


maandag 31 mei 1999 Pagina 20 van 39

List the requirements and adjacent to each item place an

importance scale of "1 to 5" or "1 to 10". Be sure to provide a

definition of what each importance rating value means, for


5 = won't buy without

4 = might not buy without

3 = not critical, but might spend more for

2 = nice, but would not spend more for

1 = no value to me

Ask each customer to rate the importance of each requirement

using the rating definitions. Compute average rating and

perhaps standard deviation for each requirement.

A "1 to 10" scale can sometimes be better than a "1 to 5" scale

since it provides more room for differentiation and, therefore,

can reduce bunching of responses (e.g., many requirements get

4's on a 5 point scale). In some cases, customers can not

discriminate with high resolution and a 10 point scale may be



Quick to complete


Even using a 10 point scale, there is not always a wide spread

of importance ratings.

Rates requirements independent of each other rather than

relative to each other

"Central tendency" may creep in when there are many

requirements to rate (e.g., over 20 items) and customers just

starting putting down middle-of-the-road ratings

Technique logrolling


Logrolling is a procedure where groups can trade off votes on

issues they consider unimportant, for future ones on issues

they do (MacCrimmon & Taylor, 1976).

Technique Lotus Blossom Technique


maandag 31 mei 1999 Pagina 21 van 39

1,Copy the diagram above [by clicking on the image above for

a larger image, or downloading an Excel 4 spreadsheet]

2. Write your central theme or problem in the diagram's center.

Think of related ideas or applications and write them in the

surrounding circles (those labelled A through H). For instance,

one company's central theme was "establishing a creative

climate." They surrounded this statement in the central box

with: "offer idea contests," "create a stimulating environment,"

"have creative-thinking meetings," "generate ways to 'get out

of your box'," "create a positive attitude," "establish a

creative-idea committee," "make work fun," and "expand the

meaning of work."

4. Use the ideas written in circles ADH as central themes for

the surrounding boxes.

So, if you had written "create a stimulating environment" in

circle A, you would copy it into the circle labeled A directly

below, where it would become the central theme for a new box,

and so on.

5. Try to think of eight new ideas involving the new central

theme, and write them in the squares surrounding it. Use the

idea stimulators to help you generate ideas. Fill out as many

boxes as you can.

6. Continue the process until you've completed as much of the

diagram as you can.

Technique mathematical clustering


clustering of elements based on similarity measures of the


Technique mathematical programming


If available alternatives can be defined by mathematical

constraints, and the decision problem is oriented towards

design rather than choice, mathematical programming methods

can be used to program a computer algorithm. The decision

maker inputs preferences for trade-offs for incremental

changes in attribute values from a reference point. This

computer program will then calculate new alternatives

optimally to solve the problem (MacCrimmon & Taylor,


Technique means-end analysis


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The means-end analysis is a useful strategy for coping with

complexity in goal hierarchies or multiple goals. Decision

makers analyze what means can be used to close the gap

between the current situation and the desired goal state, the

end. Then successive means are found to further close the gap

and applied step by step. This again models the way

computer programs chip away in logical steps in problem

solving and decision making. Newell, Shaw, and Simon (1960)

discuss a computer program called the General Problem Solver,

that employs this strategy. Notice the relationship to the

concept of creative tension.

Technique Metaphorical thinking


Excessive logical thinking can stifle the creative process, so use

metaphors as way of thinking differently about something.

Make and look for metaphors in your thinking, and be aware

of the metaphors you use. Metaphors are wonderful, so long

as we remember that they don't constitute a means of proof, as

by definition a metaphor must break down at some point.

Technique Mind Mapping


Mind mapping is a lot like storyboarding, except you don't use

the cards. Just work on a single sheet of paper. The technique

works for meetings, think tanks, giving presentations, taking

notes, writing reports, individual study, group study or


Use one word per line, and connect it to other words. Include

lots of color and images. Here's a quick sample, see if you can

draw some lines that connect the attributes of an actor.



Full of ideas

Moody I

n debt


College graduate

Creative Hypersensitive

Technique Morphological approach


parameters in columns,

ideas for achieving parameters in rows

Technique Multi-Voting


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Provide customers with a list of requirements. Have each

customer distribute a specified number of votes among the

requirements. The allowed number of votes is 1/3 of the total

requirements (e.g., 30 requirements, 10 votes). Ask customers

to assign one vote to each of requirements they consider most



Quick to complete

For long lists of requirements, works better than Priority

Ranking technique

Introduces some relative rating


Not a rigorous forced comparison

Technique mutual adjustment


Lindholm's (1965) strategy of mutual adjustment, allows

moving toward a mutually preferable point by deferring

judgment until the end and not requiring agreed on preemptory

rules at the beginning. Forming stable coalitions such as the

minimum winning size coalition and collusion and merging are

other strategies of forming joint agreements and reducing

conflict (MacCrimmon & Taylor, 1976).

Mintzbergís (1983) recommended coordinating mechanism

when the environment is dynamic and complex is mutual

adjustment combined with a decentralized functionality.

Liaison mechanisms get important. Meetings, project teams,

matrix structures, liaison officers, informal contacts, and

communication devices are essentials in a process of mutual


Technique NLP


Essentially, experts are carefully studied and analyzed (or

modeled in NLP parlance) as a way to make conscious and

unpack the mental strategies they used to get expert results.

Once the strategies are decoded, they are the available for

others to enhance their own expertise

Technique Objective and Goal Analysis


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The aim of objective and goal analysis, according to

Loucopoulos is [Loucopoulos and Karakostas '95]:

To attempt to place the requirements (problem) in a wider


To understand how the problem relates to the ultimate

problems and objectives of the larger system which will be

hosting the software system

In short, to attempt to 'get the right requirements'.

Objective and goal analysis is based on the concepts of goals,

objectives and constraints. This analysis technique allows the

requirements engineer to specify goals not only for the system

but also for the organisation in which the system is to exist.

Reviewing requirements from an organisational aspect will

verify that the requirements for the system are compatible

with the organisational goals.

Objective and goal analysis initially tries to define the systems

behaviour in terms of goals, for example "make the cars more

economical" or "make the cars more recyclable". A goal can be

broken down into sub-goals, for example "increase fuel

efficiency" and "reduce wind resistance" may be derived from

the first "make the cars more economical".

Goals which are more abstract become objectives. An objective

does not specify how, when or how much. An objective may

be "make the cars more environmentally friendly". Objectives

are generally decomposed into more specific objectives, which

will eventually, after suitable decomposition, become goals.

There are two possible relationships between goals and

objectives, AND and OR. For example if the objective is to

"make the cars more environmentally friendly", then the goals

may be "make car more efficient" OR "make the cars more

recyclable". In this case either of the goals will meet the

objective if successful, but the likelihood of the objective being

met by achieving both of the goals is greater.

The overall process of objective and goal analysis is

summarised by Loucopoulos as [Loucopoulos and Karakostas


Analyse organisation and the external environment with which

it interacts in terms of objectives, goals and constraints.

Create goal-subgoal hierarchy consisting of organisational

objectives, goals and constraints and their interrelationships

(support, conflict, constraint).

Validate the model and achieve a consensus among the

stakeholders about it.

Identify the portion of the goal-subgoal hierarchy modelling

the information-processing part of the organisation

Eliminate cases of conflicts in the above model by

negotiating/bargaining, etc., with stakeholders.

Select tasks (requirements) by eliminating alternatives.

The advantages of objectives and goal analysis include:

Clear understanding of the problem domain

Long term objectives achieved

Multiple solutions can be considered.

maandag 31 mei 1999 Pagina 25 van 39

Technique Open Ended Interview


Open ended interviews are used to get a broad amount of

information. They are conducted with a limited audience, as

too many people make the interviews less productive as

disagreements about aspects of the system surface. The

meeting facilitator or chairman asks questions which are

intended to allow the client to talk generally about the subject.

Open-ended interviews are user to get high level, general

information about a specific part of the system. Open

questions usually start with: what, when, where, why and

how which should not lead to straight yes/no answers. For

example questions like "what output would you get?" and

"what would happen if......?" would allow the interviewee to

elaborate in free speech in order to answer the question.

The interviewer, in preparation for the meeting would prepare

a number of questions or points to get information on. These

questions should not have to be asked in any particular order,

but it is useful to the interviewee to have any questions that

are related asked in their logical order. During the meeting, the

interviewer should try to have a relaxed and co-operative

atmosphere, as the interviewee may be suspicious as to the

motive of the interview. During the interview, it is important

that the interviewer remains calm and even nonchalant to the

answers received, as to not give an approving or disapproving


Open ended interviews are used in the initial stages of

requirements elicitation for getting the broad picture of the

required system. They can be used on particular users of the

system to find out what tasks are currently performed and any

features the new system should have that would be useful to


Advantages in using open-ended interviews include:

overview of specific areas of the system


allow the interviewee to freely express their needs

Disadvantages in using open-ended interviews include:

the facilitator writing their interpretation of the meeting

the facilitator missing key points about the required system

the facilitator being side-tracked onto non-relevant topics

the interviewee only saying things that you want to hear, not

the whole truth

the interviewee may not tell you things that are "obvious"

the interviewee will give a biased view of the system from

their experience

the interviewee will not be able to properly describe things

that they are not used to describing

To avoid some of the misinterpretation issues when using

open ended interviews, summarising or confirmation questions

should be asked. Examples of confirmation questions include:

"Do I understand correctly that ...?" or "So in summary, after

A is depressed and after time interval B, C happens".

maandag 31 mei 1999 Pagina 26 van 39

Technique Oracle of Delphi


You can create your own oracle by doing three things:

Ask a question. This focuses your thinking. Perhaps you

should write your question to focus attention.

Generate a random piece of information. Random selection is

important, as the unpredictability of this new input will force

you to look at the problem in a new way.

Interpret the resulting random piece of information as the

answer to your question.

The important thing is to have an open, receptive mind.

Technique Priority Ranking


Provide customers with a stack of cards with each card having

a separate requirement. Have each customer arrange the

requirements cards from most important to least important.

Convert each requirement's ranking into a ranking number (e.g.,

the top ranked requirement of 30 requirements would be given

the number of "30").


Quick to complete

Introduces relative rating


Begins to get unwieldy when there are more than 12


Technique Problem Reversal


State your problem in reverse. Change a positive statement

into a negative one.

Try to define what something is not.

Figure out what everybody else is not doing.

Use the "What If" Compass

Change the direction or location of your perspective

Flip-flop results

Turn defeat into victory or victory into defeat

Technique Questionnaire Interview


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Questionnaire interviews are used in a similar fashion as

structured interviews, insofar as they attempt to get specific

answers to direct questions. Questions can be posed in either a

form which allows the user to enter an answer, or to select

from a list of available options.

When creating a questionnaire with options to select, the

options available must accommodate the interviewees model of

the world. An example of this is demonstrated in an argument

given by Suchman when asking interviewees for their political

allegiance. The options given were Republican, Democrat and

Independent, however an answer received was "I am acclaimed

toward government, but it is that of Jehovah God's kingdom"

[Suchman and Jordan '90]. The interviewee was a Jehovah's

Witness, so the standard model of governmental parties was

not applicable.

Advantages of questionnaires include:

direct answers to questions

limiting the scope of answer

Disadvantages in using questionnaire interviews include:

the interviewee may give an unexpected response

the facilitator missing key points about the required system

Technique Random Input


Random inputs can be words or images. Some techniques for

getting random words (and the words should be nouns) are:

Have a bag full of thousands of words written on small pieces

of paper, cardboard, poker chips, etc. Close your eyes, put in

your hand and pull out a word.

Open the dictionary (or newspaper) at a random page and

choose a word.

Use a computer program to give you a random word. I have a

Hypercard program suitable for Apple Macintosh which uses

this list of words (236 of them!)

Make up your own list of 60 words. Look at your watch and

take note of the seconds. Use this number to get the word.

It is important to use the first word you find.

Once you have chosen the word, list its attributions or

associations with the word. Then apply each of the items on

your list and see how it applies to the problem at hand.

Technique Repertory Grid Method


maandag 31 mei 1999 Pagina 28 van 39

The Repertory Grid is a simple knowledge elicitation

technique devised by clinical psychologists (Kelly, 1955).

After identifying a small set of elements (a.k.a objects,

entities), the user is asked to define some constructs (a.k.a.

attributes, slots), which characterise those elements. Construct

values can be given for each element on a limited scale

between two range end points (the left and right poles). For

example, presented with the task of characterising different

wines, you might choose the elements Cotes du Rhones,

Lambrusco and Liebfraumilch, with the constructs sweetness,

colour, and effervescence. The left and right poles for each of

these constructs are defined as dry/sweet, red/white, and

still/sparkling. It is sensible to define scales for these

constructs because there are wines with intermediate values for

each of them.

The values associated with the constructs for the three wines





Cotes du Rhones | dry red still

Lambrusco | medium white sparkling

Liebfraumilch | medium white still

This is essentially qualitative information which can be elicited

through the repertory grid tool. To accommodate more

quantitative information, the method would have to be

extended to accommodate a much more sophisticated type

mechanism. Alternatively, the method serves to elicit an initial

representation which can afterwards be refined by applying

other established refinement mechanisms. Such mechanisms

can be incorporated into the MUSKRAT framework

Technique Scenario Based Requirements


maandag 31 mei 1999 Pagina 29 van 39

Scenario based requirements elicitation is based on extracting a

majority of the knowledge from the users of the system by

running through a task's scenario. A scenario can be likened to

a story board that details how the proposed system will meet

a particular user requirement. A scenario represents an

idealised view of a small part of the system. Another way of

looking at scenarios are that a scenario represents a task which

the operator will perform. Scenarios are very similar to

prototypes, but are more detailed in the area being

investigated, i.e. a prototype is used to model the whole

system, where a scenario looks at only a single task in which

the system is to fulfil.

To extract the requirements for a complete system a number of

scenarios are created, each looking at extracting information

from the user about a particular activity or task. For example

starting a car engine may have the following scenario:

Select ignition key

Insert ignition key into ignition lock

Turn key to "Start" position until the engine has started

Turn key to the "Run" position

The assumptions made above are that there is only one key

which is the ignition key. The car has an ignition lock. The

ignition lock has three positions : "Off", "Run" and "Start".

Once a scenario is created, the requirements engineer walks

through the scenario with a user. The user then reviews the

scenario and points out any anomalies, which for the above

scenario may be, "before starting the car, I check that the

neutral gear is selected and depress the clutch pedal. If a gear is

selected, I then make sure the hand brake is on". The scenario

is then updated with the feedback, to make a more realistic


Scenario elicitation is good when users find it easier to pass

information to the analyst through a practical sessions, rather

than through interviews and questionnaires.

Technique selecting information based on


A commonsense strategy in reducing decision making

complexity that people seem to automatically use in

experimental settings is selecting information that they deem

as valuable based on its relevance and reliability. When

aggregating information, they select information that is relevant

to the decision, and comes from a reliable source, while

ignoring information from other sources. Decision makers seem

to have well established preferences for sources that have

provided information that have led to successful decision

making in the past. In this regard, decision makers are rational

and learn from experience as psychologists would predict.

However, resistance to sources and information perceived as

lower quality can be problematic, if the bias is unfounded.

Technique Sensanation


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Think about your problem in terms of your five senses. How

does the problem taste, feel, smell, look, sound? Look for your

reactions to trigger new insights into your problem and its


Technique set constraints and satisfice


A final strategy for using preferences to reduce complexity is

to set constraints and satisfice. The decision maker decides

preference constraints and then searches for an alternative that

satisfies the constraints without trying to determine if a better

alternative exists. Consumer behavior has been analyzed using

this strategy (MacCrimmon & Taylor, 1976)

Technique Simultaneous scanning


Simultaneous scanning is testing many hypotheses


Technique Six Thinking Hats


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There are six metaphorical hats and the thinker can put on or

take off one of these hats to indicate the type of thinking being

used. This putting on and taking off is essential. The hats

must never be used to categorize individuals, even though their

behavior may seem to invite this. When done in group,

everybody wear the same hat at the same time.

White Hat thinking

This covers facts, figures, information needs and gaps. "I think

we need some white hat thinking at this point..." means Let's

drop the arguments and proposals, and look at the data base."

Red Hat thinking

This covers intuition, feelings and emotions. The red hat

allows the thinker to put forward an intuition without any ned

to justify it. "Putting on my red hat, I think this is a terrible

proposal." Ususally feelings and intuition can only be

introduced into a discussion if they are supported by logic.

Usually the feeling is genuine but the logic is spurious.The red

hat gives full permission to a thinker to put forward his or her

feelings on the subject at the moment.

Black Hat thinking

This is the hat of judgment and caution. It is a most valuable

hat. It is not in any sense an inferior or negative hat. The rior

or negative hat. The black hat is used to point out why a

suggestion does not fit the facts, the available experience, the

system in use, or the policy that is being followed. The black

hat must always be logical.

Yellow Hat thinking

This is the logical positive. Why something will work and why

it will offer benefits. It can be used in looking forward to the

results of some proposed action, but can also be used to find

something of value in what has already happened.

Green Hat thinking

This is the hat of creativity, alternatives, proposals, what is

interesting, provocations and changes.

Blue Hat thinking

This is the overview or process control hat. It looks not at the

subject itself but at the 'thinking' about the subject. "Putting on

my blue hat, I feel we should do some more green hat thinking

at this point." In technical terms, the blue hat is concerned

with meta-cognition.

Technique SPAN voting strategy


maandag 31 mei 1999 Pagina 32 van 39

In groups of decision makers, each individual has their own

preferences for constraints. Using the SPAN voting strategy of

MacKinnon and MacKinnon (1969), these preferences can be

taken into account without aggregating them into a social

choice function. Each group member has a fixed number of

votes that he allocates to alternatives based on his preferences,

or to other group members to use if he feels they have more

expertise for this situation.

Technique Storyboarding


Storyboarding was originally a technique used by Disney to

help manage the production of their animated features. The

point is to be able to glance at the board and quickly see what

is going on and how you can add to it. You can use it to

immerse yourself and your group in a problem, then to plan,

brainstorm ideas, create communications, and organize.

Get several packs of three-by-five cards and bright markers.

Assemble key people in a room with a corkboard or a board

you can tape things to, then select a topic. Write the topic on

one of the three-by-five cards and post it on the board.

On the board sort cards into three categories: Topic Card (for

the main topic you'll be storyboarding); Header Cards (for

general points, categories), and Sub Cards (for ideas that fall

under the headers: details, ideas that develop).

Cards might look like this stacked vertically on a board:


Header Card





The idea is to piggy back off each others' ideas and look for

interconnections among them. Consider every idea as relevant.

Structure the storyboarding into two sessions: The first is for

creative thinking (no criticism allowed! no matter how

constructive). The second is for critical thinking.

Technique Structural mechanisms


Structural mechanisms such as rules, procedures, or

environmental features, can assist decision makers in reducing

conflict. Redefining the conflict situation in reference to a

common, higher goal is a strategy to reduce conflict that

happens quite often in organizations. Strategies to restructure

the environment by changing communication channels or

placing buffers between conflicting parties or isolating them

from each other. Units of authority can issue directives to

reduce conflict, such as governmental directives. Mediation

and arbitration are strategies that can reduce conflict, mediation

by enhanced bargaining, and arbitration by directive

bargaining. Voting is a common democratic form of settling

conflict, and there are various forms, ranging from majority to


Technique Structured Interviews


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Structured interviews are used by the requirements engineer to

extract information about specific parts of the required

system. This then assumes that the interviewer has the

knowledge to ask the correct questions and that the

interviewee can answer them in a form which the engineer will

understand. With structured interviews it is very important

that the interviewer is in fact talking to the most appropriate

person for the information required. With detailed information

it is sometimes more informative to speak to a domain expert

than to the client, and then go back to the client to verify the


In preparation for a structured interview, the interviewer must

compile a list of unambiguous questions which can be posed to

the interviewee. The questions should be as direct as possible,

without preventing the interviewee from giving their opinion

or being able to elaborate. For example the question "you turn

the key clockwise to start the engine" may get the response

"yes" which is very direct, but miss out the important

information of checking that the car is in neutral beforehand.

Advantages of using structured interviews include:

direct (mostly unambiguous) answers

detailed information

Disadvantages in using structured interviews include:

the engineer writing their interpretation of the answers

the engineer missing key points about the required system

the engineer not understanding the answer or the interviewee

misinterpreting the question.

the interviewee not answering the question fully.

the interviewee may miss related important information.

Technique subjective weighting model


A subjective weighting model would work the same way as the

bootstrapping method, but instead of deriving the preferences

the decision maker was using by his behavior, it would have

the decision maker specify preferences and plug them into the

formula as coefficients. The weighting of importance of

attributes can be related to their instrumentality in achieving

the goal. This is another way of explicitly describing the

decision making process statistically. Notice the similiarity to

multiple regression.

Technique successive scanning


successive scanning tests the hypotheses one at a time

Technique Synectics


maandag 31 mei 1999 Pagina 34 van 39

Creative output increases with awareness of psychological

processes that control behavior. The emotional component of

creative behavior is more important than the intellectual

component; irrational components are more important than the

intellectual. The emotional, irrational components need to be

understood and used as precision tools to increase creative


Technique The Bucky Fuller Linking


"All things, regardless of their dissimilarity, can be linked

together either symbolically, physically, or psychologically,"

said Buckminster Fuller.

Technique The Discontinuity Principle


The more you are used to something, the less stimulating it is

for our thinking.

When you disrupt your thought patterns, those ideas that

create the greatest stimulus to our thinking do so because they

force us to make new connections in order to comprehend the

situation. Roger van Oech calls this a "Whack on the Side of

the Head", and Edward de Bono coined a new word, PO,

which stands for "Provocative Operation".

Try programming interruptions into your day. Change

working hours, get to work a different way, listen to a

different radio station, read some magazines or books you

wouldn't normally read, try a different recipe, watch a TV

program or film you wouldn't normally watch.

Provocative ideas are often stepping stones that get us

thinking about other ideas.

Abutting ideas next to each other, such that their friction

creates new thought-paths a technique that flourishes in the

east (haiku poetry and Zen koans) but causes discomfort in

Western thinking.

Technique The Eight-step Basadur


One: Find the problem. Two: Find the facts around the

problem. Three: Define the problem. Four: Find ideas. Five:

Evaluate and select solutions from the ideas. Six: Plan actions

upon the selections. Seven: Gain acceptance for the solutions.

Eight: Take action on the solutions.

Technique The Golden Egg


Try to mentally reframe your problem so it doesn't look like a

problem. See your problem as a golden egg, unexpected wealth

just waiting for you.

Technique The Six Basic Questions


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In the rush of developing a product or a process, only of few

of these questions may be asked. Who, what, where, when,

how, and why. If someone complains that the answers to any

of these questions are obvious, it may be time to list those


Technique The Why Question


Ask why five times. This ancient Asian technique can help

you discover problems you've been missing. Here's an

example: "I ate an apple." "Why?" "Because I was hungry."

"Why?" "Because I skipped lunch." Why? "Because I had to

meet a deadline." "Why?" "Because I was afraid I'd get fired if

I missed it." "Why?" "Because I'm afraid of my boss."

Technique Thinkertoys


Michael Michalko, in his book Thinkertoys describes the

rearrangement of the above questions (by Bob Eberle) into the

mnemonic SCAMPER (Substitute, Combine Adapt, Modify,

Put to other uses, Eliminate, Reverse).

Start applying these questions to your problems and see what

ideas come forth.

Technique Threshold Voting


Elke deelnemer mag vijf stemmen uitbrengen op de ideeŽn. Dat

mag gespreid over vijf ideeŽn, of meerdere stemmen op ťťn


Nadien worden alle ideeŽn weerhouden die zes of meer

stemmen hebben.

Technique Triadic Elicitation


Suppose you wish to extend the knowledge by adding the

champagne wine Moet Chandon to the list of three elements.

It is easy to add this as a sweet, white, sparkling wine. You

would also like to extend the characterisation of the elements,

but are not sure how. Triadic elicitation can assist in this.

Using this feature, you can generate questions such as:

Are two of the following alike in some important way that

distinguishes them from the third:



Moet Chandon ?

Presented with this question, you are reminded that the cost of

the wines has remained hitherto unmentioned. You therefore

add the construct cost with the poles inexpensive and

expensive. In the RepGrid tool, a mid-range value is

automatically assigned to this construct for each element. This

value is easy to inspect and change.

Technique TRIZ Method (Savransky and


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Consider (1) that systems evolve uniformly and (2) an

inventive problem represents conflict between new

requirements and old systems. The solution may come from

investigating the evolution of the system.

Technique Unconscious Problem Solving


Think hard about your problem, then stop thinking about it,

then forget it for awhile, or go to sleep after telling yourself

that you will awaken with new ideas about your problem.

Then wait for the Eureka! Einstein had many of his great

solutions come to him in the shower.

Technique use conflicting opinions


The fourth is to use conflicting opinions. This comes from

Mason's (1969) two approaches, the devil's advocate and the

Hegelian dialectic, to improve the quality of the decision by

using conflict to reveal any hidden biases or invalid

assumptions in the preferred alternative.

Technique use position papers


A strategy is to use position papers to summarize each

decision maker's position. This can communicate to all

members of the group where everybody stands and why.

Groups can write position papers as well, which has the

benefit of clarifying the group's position and solidifying its

goals, values, etc. (MacCrimmon & Taylor, 1976).

Technique using maxi-min rules


A strategy is using maxi-min rules, choosing the action that

maximizes each member's minimum payoff.

Technique Viewpoint Analysis


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Viewpoint analysis takes the view that there are a number of

valid views of the system, all of which should be taken into

consideration when defining requirements. Requirements

elicitation using viewpoints is a service oriented method of

requirements elicitation. By service oriented, I mean it looks at

the way in which an entity (being either a user or an external

piece of software or hardware) interacts with the system,

providing data, control information or receiving a service from

the system. Kotonya defines a viewpoint as a method of

capturing the essence of viewpoint orientations and providing

a framework for exploring the viewpoint structure. Kotonya

also identifies that viewpoint analysis must also exist with

system analysis, providing both a viewpoint layer and a

system layer to the system model. In this instance, the

viewpoint layer identifies the viewpoint entities in the system

environment and associates them with any services they

require. The system layer identifies system entities

responsible for providing services to the viewpoint layer

[Kotonya and Sommerville '92].

Rzepka decomposes viewpoint elicitation process as follows

[Rzepka '89]:

Identify the relevant parties which are sources of

requirements. The party might be an end user, an interfacing

system, or environmental factors.

Gather the "wish list" for each relevant party. This wish list is

likely to originally contain ambiguities, inconsistencies,

infeasible requirements and untestable requirements, as well as

probably being incomplete.

Document and refine the "wish list" for each relevant party.

The wish list includes all important activities and data, and

during this stage it is repeatedly analysed until it is

self-consistent. The list is typically high level, specific to the

relevant problem domain, and stated in user-specific terms.

Integrate the wish lists across the various relevant parties,

henceforth called viewpoints, thereby resolving the conflicts

between the viewpoints. Consistency checking is an important

part of this process. The wish lists, or goals are also checked

for feasibility.

Determine the non-functional requirements, such as

performance and reliability issues, and state these in the

requirement document.

Technique Vocalyst


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This is a specific Anchored Rating Scale methodology

developed by Applied Marketing Science, Inc. Each

requirement is put on a card (each card has a unique number).

Ask each customer to place the requirements that are related to

each other in separate stacks. Then, the card most

representative of each stack is put on top.

Each customer then assigns 100 points to the most important

stack and each other stack is scored relative to that stack.

Ranking within each stack is then done. Importance ratings of

each customer requirement are computed by multiplying the

overall stack importance times the importance of the card in

the stack.

Additional Pro's

People like the physical cards to work with

The Vocalyst statistical process is quite rigorous for initially

determining the customer requirements and then establishing


Technique working backwards


To solve complex decision problems, decision maker can work

in two directions, forward and backward. Most problems are

attacked in a forward direction, trying some method of attack,

and checking progress. Some problems are more easily solved

working backwards from the desired end state. A combination

of both strategies can also be used (MacCrimmon & Taylor,


maandag 31 mei 1999 Pagina 39 van 39

Tip: the left pane works like windows explorer!
Please send your comments to Peter Doomen.
This document was updated 27/05/00.