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So. Your agile team has finished the brainstorming process and generated a very long list of items. That’s good!
But … it also presents challenges. With a long list of “candidate topics” how do you prioritize the right ones?
One common retrospective technique is agile dot voting. Dot voting gives each person in the group the chance to express their preferences about what item(s) should be prioritized.
On the surface, a dot voting exercise seems simple. But there are two subtle things to consider.
First, how many agile dot votes should you give each participant? Here’s a rule of thumb: the number of agile dot votes to give each person is equal to the square root of the number of topics on the board (rounded up or down). This scales the number of dot votes as the number of candidate topics grow. For example, if there are 25 candidate topics, you would give each person 5 dot votes (since the √ 25 = 5).
Second, how to overcome groupthink? When most teams dot vote, they have the entire team get up and cast their votes directly on the board. As the votes are cast, they are visible to the team. The people who haven’t yet voted will be biased by the votes already placed. That means they won’t be able to truly think for themselves! There are two ways to overcome this:
Dot voting is a useful agile retrospective voting technique to have in your arsenal. It provides a simple and straightforward path to selecting the highest-priority topics from a long list, which can result in highly effective retrospectives for your team.