Plus, Minus, Interesting (PMI) Futurespective

Futurespective Idea – Discuss a topic and capture multiple points of view

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What is the PMI Futurespective?

The PMI Futurespective is a planning tool designed to examine a topic from multiple perspectives. Participants define the positives (Plus) and negatives (Minus) along with what they find curious (Interesting) about it. 

The PMI approach to problem-solving was developed by Edward de Bono. It aims to encourage people to think about a problem in a creative, non-traditional way. De Bono felt that one problem with traditional thinking was that people tended to quickly form an opinion, then focus the rest of their energy on backing it up.

The PMI addresses this by asking everyone to consider the same topic from new perspectives. As such, participants show their intelligence with the range of their input, rather than how well they defend an opinion. 

With this in mind, the PMI Futurespective is a very useful tool for agile teams because it forces a broadening view of the project to be considered and they cannot dismiss the variety of inputs that they themselves have put together.

PMI Futurespective format

Plus

What are the positive aspects? What will make us feel proud? What will make us feel good? What will we celebrate? What will we learn? What will be the best thing about the project?

Minus

What are the negative aspects? What don’t we like? What makes us feel bad? What do we hope never happens? 

Interesting

What is unknown or makes us curious? What might surprise us? What don’t we quite understand?

Take for example the introduction of a new continuous deployment project. The PMI futurspective would allow the team to highlight the positives (such as speed of releasing new features and automation), the minuses (Change of process and initial cost), and what is interesting (improvement in velocity or need for team collaboration).

Suggested icebreaker questions for the PMI Futurespective

  • Think of the next holiday you want to take and PMI it! What are the plus, minus and interesting aspects of your proposed destination?
  • What do you find easier to identify about a situation; the pluses, the minuses or the interesting?
  • Imagine you’re at your retirement party. What might would you want to say as the positives, negatives and interesting aspects of your career in your speech?

Futurespective Rehearsal

Lets say there has been a proposed project to build an escape room in your spare office.  Define the plus, minus and interesting aspects of the this proposal. 

With the data and perspective gathered, how do people now feel about creating this escape room?

Ideas and tips for your PMI Futurespective

  • Trying to predict what will happen in the future may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Reassure participants there are no wrong answers.
  • Encourage participants to draw on their experience from other projects and their lived experiences to fill in the futurespective template.
  • Try setting up some ground rules for the futurespective such as creating team agreements.
  • Get your project off on the right foot. Consider using the futurespective to define your team’s Definition of Done.
  • Allow participants to brainstorm anonymously to help them feel safe when adding their thoughts to the futurespective. People are more likely to engage when they feel they will not be judged. 
  • Ben Linders recommends limiting the number of action items coming out of a futurespective to just the few vital ones needed to get started. Further actions will be shaped when the team meets for their regular retrospective. 

How to run a PMI Futurespective in TeamRetro

Start Agile Retrospective

Start your retrospective in a click
Log into TeamRetro and choose your sprint retrospective template.

Invite Your Team
Invite your team easily – no separate accounts needed
Send an email invite, a link or add to your Slack channel to get people started quickly. SSO options are also available.
Agile Retrospective Brainstorm
Time to brainstorm
Each team member can now brainstorm individually under each topic. This avoids group think and allows everyone to have their say. They can indicate when they have finished, or you can set a timer so that you know when to move onto the next stage.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting
Group related ideas
Drag and drop  related ideas to combine them for easier voting. TeamRetro can also automatically suggest ideas that are similar, saving you and your team valuable time.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting
Vote independently to avoid anchoring
Each team member votes on what they would most like to discuss further. The results won’t be displayed to everyone until you advance to Discuss.
Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Discuss the most important things first
You and your team discuss the top voted ideas and can capture deep dive comments.  Presentation mode allows you to walk your team through ideas one-by-one and keep the conversation focused.

Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Review and create actions

Easily facilitate discussion by bringing everyone onto the same page. Create action items, assign owners and due dates that will carry through for review at the next retrospective.

Grouping of ideas after brainstorming in a retrospective meeting

Share the results
Once you have finished your retro, you can share the results and actions with the team. Your retro will be stored so you can revisit them as needed.

Congratulations! You’ve just run a retro like a boss.
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