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Using Six Thinking Hats in Agile Projects

Updated: Jun 21


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Agile methodologies have become the cornerstone of modern project management, enabling teams to respond swiftly to change and deliver high-quality products.


However, the dynamic nature of Agile projects demands creative and structured thinking to navigate through the various phases of development seamlessly.


One powerful tool that can significantly contribute to this process is Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats methodology.


By incorporating this approach, Agile teams can enhance collaboration, creativity, and decision-making throughout project plans, scrums, and stand-ups.


Understanding the Six Thinking Hats


Before delving into the application of Six Thinking Hats in Agile development, let's briefly overview the hats themselves:


  • White Hat: Focused on data and information. Analyzes facts and figures, presenting objective information without personal opinions.

  • Red Hat: Emphasises emotions and intuition. Allows team members to express their feelings, hunches, and instincts without justification.

  • Black Hat: Deals with caution and critical thinking. Identifies potential risks, challenges, and drawbacks associated with a plan or decision.

  • Yellow Hat: Encourages optimism and positive thinking. Explores the benefits, opportunities, and advantages of a proposed idea or course of action.

  • Green Hat: Represents creativity and innovation. Promotes brainstorming and the generation of new ideas to solve problems or improve processes.

  • Blue Hat: Focuses on process control and facilitation. Manages the thinking process, ensuring that the team follows a structured and effective approach.


To enhance collaboration, creativity, and decision-making, teams can benefit from incorporating Six Thinking Hats in agile project practices such as project plans, scrums, retros and stand-ups. 


Three key applications of the method includes Project Planning, SCRUMS and Stand-ups.   


Better Project Planning


During project planning, Agile teams can use diverse thinking to improve decision-making and gain a holistic understanding of the project:


  • Share relevant information for a realistic project plan.

  • Allow open communication about team members' feelings and concerns.

  • Evaluate risks and challenges associated with the plan.

  • Identify opportunities and benefits tied to the project.

  • Encourage brainstorming for innovative solutions.

  • Facilitate the planning process, ensuring all perspectives are considered.

  • Optimizing Agile Scrum Meetings


Better Scrums


In Agile scrum meetings, diverse thinking styles can streamline discussions and foster creativity:


  • Present data and metrics related to the sprint progress.

  • Encourage team members to express their feelings about the ongoing sprint.

  • Critically analyze potential impediments and risks.

  • Highlight positive aspects of the sprint, such as accomplishments.

  • Facilitate the meeting to remain focused and aligned with team goals.

  • Brainstorm innovative solutions or process improvements.


Better Stand-Ups


Daily stand-up meetings benefit from diverse thinking styles to streamline updates and collaborative problem-solving:


  • Present factual information about individual and team progress.

  • Allow team members to express their emotions and concerns.

  • Evaluate potential impediments or challenges.

  • Emphasize positive aspects of the team's progress.

  • Encourage brainstorming for creative solutions or improvements.

  • Facilitate the meeting to remain time-boxed and focused.


Conclusion


Integrating diverse thinking styles into Agile team processes simplifies decision-making, fosters creativity, and creates a collaborative work environment.


This aligns seamlessly with Agile principles, enabling teams to navigate project complexities with agility and innovation.


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Contact hello@thethtinkingcompany.co.za at The Thinking Company  to find out how Six Thinking Hats can be added to your Agile Team toolkit.  As the official Distributor of Six Thinking Hats in East & Southern Africa, the Thinking Company has a team of passionate and experienced trainers who deliver online and in person workshops.  Executive coaching and customized learning journeys are also available.  If you are mad about hats we can also look at a company wide license, giving you the autonomy to integrate the language into your current business processes and tools. 



Nicola Tyler

24 January 2024


The Thinking Company





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