Thursday, April 29, 2010

Conference Talk on Focus and the Pomodoro Technique

A colleague and I (thanks, Olivier!) presented the following talk on the Pomodoro Technique. Attendees were intrigued by the content, but the exercises needed some work. Olivier presented it again later in the month and it went much better... our experiments with small focus groups didn't scale out well to 10-15 people per team. The second time around, he increased pressure and scope creep by doing the following.

5-minute challenge: brainstorm as many tips as possible across all categories below. Make sure you get about the same number of words in each category. One person holds a dry-erase marker and notes ideas; no duplication allowed within lists.
  • fire prevention
  • road/driving safety
  • professional hazards

5-minute debrief: count how many ideas were generated for each category. Ask how things went, and what was noteworthy.

5-minute challenge: same as challenge above, except we work one category at a time until there are about 20 ideas, then move to the next category.
  • flu-prevention
  • household child safety
  • names of TV shows
5-minute debrief: was one strategy more effective than the other?

10-minutes: Introduction to the pomodoro technique.

15-minutes: how we tailor the technique to a team environment and meetings, Q&A

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