KJ methodology

Group process for setting priorities

Alexander Sergeev avatar
Written by Alexander Sergeev
Updated over a week ago

Product managers need special methods and techniques for determining priorities and getting great business results. There are dozens of popular methodologies from gaming to the most complicated, quantitative and qualitative, for internal and external purposes.

Here’s one of the popular methods - KJ technique.

KJ methodology

The method, designed by Jiro Kawakito, is often used in project management as a group process for setting priorities. It quickly helps to come to objective group agreement from the series of subjective data.

The concept focuses on stakeholders in one company.

This is an 8-step process for groups of any size, designed for an interval of about an hour. First, the following requirements must be met:

  • Many stickers of several colors.

  • A room with a spacious wall.

  • One person to be the facilitator.

  • Flipchart or board for results of prioritization.

If everything is observed, you can start by steps:

  • Define a focus question. Every session will have its own focus question (for example, “Who are the users?”, “What are their needs when they come to the site?”, etc.)

  • Organize a group. People should be from the different parts of the company. It will bring more diverse perspectives.

  • Put opinions on sticky notes.

  • Put sticky notes on the wall. Participants put their sticky notes up on the wall in random order.

  • Group similar items. Once everyone has added their contributions to the wall, the facilitator instructs the group to start grouping similar items in another part of the room.

  • Name each group. Everyone should assign a name to every group, using the second color of sticky notes.

  • Vote for the most important groups. Participants vote to choose which groups are the most important to answer the focus question.

  • Rank the most important groups. All sticky notes are placed on the whiteboard and ordered by the number of votes. Participants can combine similar groups, which adds their votes and moves them up the ranking. When a couple of groups have much higher ranking than the rest, the facilitator may stop the process.

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