[Part 2 of 2] Six Thinking Hats - applied to my 5 year old son's shopping list

If you haven't read the Part 1 of this post - please visit the short summary [Part 1 of 2] Six Thinking Hats - my new summary of classic lateral thinking. This will help you gain proper context of the following article

After going through the key concepts in the book [Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono], again (thanks to an agile asynchronous book brigade) - the following picture was produced. This helps us illustrate how a simple practice can be kept simple and applied to a very basic idea and still generates tremendous output.

The picture in the middle shows a basic list that my five year old son wrote as his first shopping list. As you can notice - he is learning how to write and is using all his knowledge of phonics and alphabets to the best of his currently evolving abilities in writing.
Many lessons can be extracted from the list and I have used it for a basic practice of applying the newly acquired yet classic technique of lateral thinking.

In case the above process, mind-map, case study is not readable the following text will help.


Spend ‘2’ minutes on each hat.
We have to use all the hats at least once.
Follow the sequence of hats shown with the arrows

L The spellings are all wrong.
List is useless.
Hard to understand.
We will struggle with getting the right stuff.
We have to spend a lot of time in trying to comprehend it.

12 Items in the list.
1 item has correct spellings.
The data is not numbered.
Written with a drying purple marker.
Handwriting of a young child.

The items in the list are understandable with little effort.
Some spellings are right.
It was a good try to a young leaner.
Young person’s writing it quite good according to the age.
Spellings are phonics based and are fun to understand

Writing is very bad
11 out of 12 spellings are wrong
List is not in a sequence
Products are not listed according to the category groupings.
It will take extra time to try and comprehend the list.

New and fun naming of existing household products.
Phonics based experimentation of existing product names can be a good learning game for the kids.
Good engaging activity

Your suggestions and comments are most welcome.

[Part 1 of 2] Six Thinking Hats - my new summary of classic lateral thinking

Six Thinking Hats by de Bono - 
A Visual Summary by Naveed Khawaja

Six Thinking Hats has been a classic for decades. 

The ideas for group thinking and being generalists at evaluating concepts from various aspects has been well known to the industry. Be it KJ Analysis or affinity or any other similar technique.

Edward de Bono has structured the  behavior driven emotional evaluation of business ideas into a practical group thinking system. It helps with the team building as well as group thinking by intentionally empathizing with others' point of view. 

The following visual is a concise summary. It serves as a starting point for new teams that are trying to use  this lateral thinking method into their current business innovation.

Stay tuned as in the follow-up post, I will share a simple example where the above technique is applied to a shopping list.

Agile shopping list - literally

Simple definition:
'backlog': "A list of items to do".
  Official definition:
back•log   /ˈbækˌlɔg, -ˌlɒg/ Show Spelled [bak-lawg, -log] noun, verb

1. a reserve or accumulation, as of stock, work, or business: a backlog of business orders.
verb (used with object)
2. to hold in reserve, as for future handling or repair.

My five year old wrote his first shopping list
Many a times we take requirements superficially and ignore the essence and value of a backlog. A considerable majority of us create to do lists, task lists, work logs, backlogs, activity lists or something similar for various personal and professional reasons.
To assess the scope of what we have to do or to remember the things to do, using a checklist is a faily common practice.
My five year old wrote his first list recently and it gave me numerous points to ponder from agile and lean transformation paradigm.
The initial question that popped up was whether to correct his spellings while he is trying to get the grasp of phonics based language constructs or to use common analytic sense and let him gain initial confidence?

I am glad that the choice of enjoying the moment proved fruitful as he is much more confident after the event.

Bringing this back into perspective, mature agile teams master the skill of living on uncertainty. With regular observations of the actual  product ownership function - the imperfect assumptions are quickly exposed. The added benefit is that no lengthy and detailed documentation is created or maintained.

 As facebook recently mentioned, "Code wins arguments"

Annotated list to clarify the stories
The customer and the team are flexible enough to build sand castles regularly and only convert the sections into concrete after actual observation from the end user. This allows the notion of true progress instead of paper based semi-hypothetical reporting. Building solutions that are flexible and easy to change with assumptions integrated into the code - change becomes inexpensive right from the start.

The shopping list neither meets the spelling, nor the grammatical acceptance criteria. However - it is still perfectly usable and with little effort can meet the same objective as a perfect list would have done.

What do you think?

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