Nominal Group Technique in Project Management

The decisions made can have a major impact on the success or failure of a business. In order to sustain that the best decisions are being made, the nominal group technique is an invaluable tool. 

What is it?

It is a system based on bringing together groups of more than one person to talk about certain issues and consult ideas under certain conditions, to analyze all ideas by brainstorming, and finally to reach the result by voting. This allows the group to gain multiple perspectives and consider a variety of solutions, thus making it more likely that the right decision will be made. With the nominal group technique businesses can feel confident that their decisions are the best ones for their organization. It is especially important for requirements elicitation.

Personal opinions are sometimes too dominant or biased interpretations manipulate the existing reality. Nominal group is a technical tool designed to eliminate this situation. It gives equal representation and equal expression and allows these ideas to be interpreted and analyzed in an objective way.

Steps of Nominal Group Technique

We can say that the nominal group technique process is simple but consists of a few steps that should never be skipped. As a first step, a problem or question needs to be identified and given to the group in an appropriate format for the group to come together. In the second step, the ideas of the group members are consulted. But on one condition. 

No discussion of ideas is desired at the first stage.  Noone is expected to explain his/her idea and no feedback is expected from group members. It may sound like a bad idea at first glance but this way group members will have the opportunity to express their opinions completely without being influenced. Otherwise if they debated about new ideas, they would be biased, they would have hesitations and even they would give up their ideas. Until the next step, we do not speak so much. 

At the second stage, group members should be able to share and discuss their ideas. At this stage, ideas are submitted anonymously. No one knows which idea belongs to whom. Ideas are reflected anonymously on a board or presentation, commented on and discussed by group members. 


So why is this important? If you know who an idea belongs to your prejudices about that person inevitably affect your judgment. You ask why he came up with this idea and you try to connect with that person for other reasons. The nominal group technique avoids this. 

We have already listed these advantages before. Above all, it ensures people will take a part of the process in a similar level. It minimizes weird looking faces against new ideas. It also gets rid of people who have influencing power over other people. It allows for an objective discussion of ideas. Since everyone is given the freedom to produce unlimited ideas, it opens the way for creative ideas.

See also: 

Focus groups

Executing process group


1- alpy: It is not something to be elaborated on much. Quite simple. It is a kind of brainstorming made by voting and a pinch of anonymity was added to the recipe.