PMI stands for ‘plus/minus/interesting.' It is a development (by Edward de Bono) of the ‘pros and cons’ technique used for centuries.
One simply draws up a table headed ‘Plus,’ ‘Minus,’ and ‘Interesting.’ In the column underneath the ‘Plus’ heading one writes down all the positive points of taking the action. Underneath the ‘Minus’ heading one writes down all the negative effects. In the ‘Interesting’ column one writes down the extended implications of taking the action, whether positive or negative.
The castle technique is useful for evaluating a large number of ideas and is made up of four steps:
This is a method used to get a whole view of all the forces for or against an idea. In effect this is a specialised method of weighing pros and cons. Force-field analysis allows you to look at all the forces for or against the plan. It helps you to plan or reduce the impact of the opposing forces, and strengthen and reinforce the supporting forces. To carry out a force-field analysis, take the following steps:
A FIRM WHICH IS GOING FOR GROWTH
Figure 8.2 Force-field analysis
FORCES AGAINST -9
LOSS OF CONTROL BY
EXISTING MANAGEMENT -5
Once you have carried out an analysis, you can assess the viability of the idea. Here you have two choices:
Often the most elegant solution is the first: just trying to force change through may cause its own problems (e.g. staff can be annoyed into active opposition to a plan instead of merely not welcoming it).
If you were faced with the task of pushing through the project in the example above, the analysis might suggest a number of points:
These changes swing the balance from 9:9 (neither for nor against the plan) to 14:7 (in favour of the plan).
Force-field analysis is an effective method of getting a picture of all the forces for and against a plan. It helps you to weigh the importance of these factors and to assess whether a plan is worth pursuing. Where you have decided to proceed with a plan, carrying out a force-field analysis helps you identify changes that might be made to improve the plan.