Workshop Exercises: Decide

Trade-off Sliders

Visually prioritize project or product dimensions with stakeholders

Illustration of Trade-off Sliders
Run a Trade-off Sliders play

Timing: Planning

Run time
60 minutes

Group size

Why: Address conflicting priorities by using a visual tool to outweigh project dimensions and foster a shared understanding

When: Reelvant as you embark on a new project significant changes occur that could shift your team's priorities and focus

This workshop exercise is part of the Workshop Patterns printed card deck.

A collection of workshop exercises that will help you ditch dull meetings and facilitate with confidence. It will help you master the design process and have more productive time with your team. The card deck will be ready for purchase in the end of 2023 and is now undergoing rigorous testing.

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Instructions for running this play

  1. Introduce the exercise. Explain the concept of trade-offs - how they involve an exchange in which one thing is given up in order to gain something else.
  2. Identify categories. Let participants Silent Storm the dimensions or categories that you’re comparing in the project on sticky notes. Remove any duplicates.
  3. Setup canvas. Use the sticky notes as row titles and draw a horizontal line for each category. Then, draw vertical lines equal to the number of horizontal lines. Label the left-most line as ‘Lowest’ and the right-most line as ‘Highest’.
  4. Marking Initials. Ask each participant to mark their initials on separate sticky notes. Each participant should place one sticky note per row, adhering to the constraint that each column must have one sticky note with their initials. This ensures each dimension is rated from ‘highest’ to ‘lowest’ by every participant. Using dot stickers, assign a different color to each participant.
  5. Equalizing Trade-offs. Facilitate a group discussion around the placed sticky notes to collectively decide how each category relates to the others. Using a different color of sticky notes indicate a final decision.

Tips to perfect this play

Master and adapt the play to fit your context and needs.

Tip: Trade-offs are related

Trade-offs have an interdependent relationship. Spending more time and effort on one is often at the expense of another.

Tip: Include the decider

If the decider is in your leadership team, run the exercise with them rather than the team who is executing the work

Tip: One dimension at a time

Consider introducing each dimension one at a time and discuss their ranking before moving on to the next to ensure focus

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