Understand a situation and identify opportunities for improvement
Use this template to better understand a situation by identifying what is working, what’s not going well, and areas that could be improved.
The exercise involves listing out the problem, the positive aspects of the problem (the rose), the negative aspects of the problem (the thorn), and possible solutions to the problem (the buds).
The rose, thorn, bud exercise can be used by individuals or groups, and it is a helpful way to generate new ideas and perspectives on a problem in real-time.
To facilitate a successful rose, thorn, bud exercise, you should:
In order to gather a broad array of insights and ensure that you’re not missing any key points, it’s vital to include stakeholders across the whole spectrum of your project.
Begin by providing everyone with a clear outline of the issue at hand, and any appropriate context, so that your team is aligned on the problem you’re trying to solve. Handle any questions upfront so that your brainstorming session can be as productive as possible.
Next, have your team brainstorm ideas about what is going well — encourage everyone to be as thorough as possible. The goal of this process is to capture as much related feedback as possible, so broad engagement is key.
Protip: Make sure each participant only includes one idea per sticky note — this helps avoid confusion and makes it easier to organize your feedback.
Now it’s time to talk about the bad stuff — what are some things that have been negatively affecting your team or your processes? Again, collect as much feedback as possible so that the final stage of your brainstorming can have maximum impact.
This is where you ask your team members to think through the ideas they may have had to address issues they’ve encountered with your current process. Inspiration for this could come from both of the first two parts of this brainstorming session — if it’s going well, could it be even better? If it’s not going well, what are some ways that broken processes could be fixed?
Once you've gathered your feedback, organize it by clustering the ideas by topic, helping you analyze any consistent themes and reveal potential next steps and action items.
Make your rose, bud, thorn exercise even more impactful by: