What’s Wrong with Dot Voting Exercises

Or, what NOT TO DO (and what to watch out for) next time you decide to use dot voting

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Source: Flickr
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A typical dot voting process, a la Design Thinking

Problems With ‘What’ is Being Voted On

Bad when there isn’t parity between things being voted on

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Bad when basic expectations are mixed in with differentiators

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Pick three!

Bad for pieces in a system

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You can only vote for three ingredients!

Bad for pace layered priorities

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“Pace Layers” diagram from Stewart Brand. See: https://jods.mitpress.mit.edu/pub/issue3-brand
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Bad when there’s a relationship between things being voted on:

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Bad when solutions are mixed in with problems (and outcomes)

Start a Friday culture club

Fix problems with employee morale

Bad when we mix easy and hard options.

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A simple prioritization matrix
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A good dot voting example.

Bad when there are redundancies and overlaps

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Not sure where to even begin! At least they’re all animals. Oh, wait.

Bad when there is a poor understanding of proposed concepts

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Bad for Bold, Visionary Ideas

Human Problems with Dot Voting.

Voting is Not Blind

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Blind voting within pre-defined criterion

Penmanship and clarity skews votes

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Where do your eyes go? What do they gloss over?

You can skew votes by throwing all of your dots on one thing

Dot Voting Alienates & Isolates:

I never use [dot voting]. You spend all that time aligning everyone, and then turn around and marginalize a bunch of people.

A Final Thought:

“Focus on the helpful/good parts and briefly address the limitations. Kinda sad at all the “wrong” being hyped right now.”

Speaker, educator, and design leader. On a mission to make learning the hard stuff fun, by creating ‘things to think with’ and ‘spaces’ for generative play.

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