Plus Minus Interesting (PMI) framework for lateral thinking

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Plus Minus Interesting template

What is a Plus Minus Interesting template?

Don’t let the name confuse you. The Plus Minus Interesting (PMI) template is one of the simplest retrospective formats available. It simply asks your team to evaluate and sort their thoughts into positive, negative and interesting points. 

The PMI framework can help you:

  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Weigh up the pros and cons of a decision
  • Reflect upon a project or product upon completion
  • Identity strengths and weaknesses
  • Create an open dialogue within teams 

When to use the plus minus interesting framework

The PMI strategy works best as a collaborative exercise completed with project teams. This will ensure you hear from various points of view, and make big decisions together.

The creator of the PMI framework, Dr. Edward de Bono wanted to find a way to encourage people to think more laterally. He felt that one of the problems with traditional brainstorming is groupthink, the concept that people often focus on backing up an existing idea rather than looking for new ones. Therefore, PMI helps to expand each participant’s thinking and encourage creativity.  

Another popular use for the PMI template within businesses is as a retrospective. When completed right at the end of a project, you can capture extremely helpful and valuable feedback that can be used for continual improvement. 

It’s also a great education tool within classrooms as this simple framework helps students learn how to critically analyze and sort out their thoughts.

How to create a plus minus interesting chart with a template

To create your own PMI chart, you will first need to gather your team. Conceptboard enables teams to create plus minus interesting framework collaboratively with their team, regardless of location. Our virtual whiteboard is an effective backdrop for all collaborative teamwork. 

 

  1. Start by sending a link to the template board to your team
  2. Once everyone has joined the board, introduce the purpose for the meeting
  3. Ask everyone to start by adding their positive ideas on virtual sticky notes in the Plus column
  4. Continue to the Minus column, where any negatives from the project should be added
  5. And finally, in the Interesting column add anything that was a new discovery, or an interesting insight that is worth recording
  6. Once the chart is full, spend 5-10 minutes reviewing all the sticky notes, asking follow-up questions and condensing similar ideas.

Your completed template can now serve as a reference point for future projects. The process should help you continually improve and grow from project to project.

Plus minus interesting example

We’ve created a sample Plus Minus Interesting retrospective, based on a brainstorming activity. Check it out below.

Plus Minus Interesting retrospective example

As you can see, the PMI framework is a great tool for critical thinking, focusing your attention, brainstorming and reflecting on past projects. After you’ve completed the chart, you will be in a better position to make a decision or implement changes based on your learnings.

Explore our other popular retrospectives in our free resource library:

See how Conceptboard is powering the future of work by signing up for a 30-day free trial now.

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