Parking Lot Matrix Template
Keep team meetings focused by managing ideas, distractions, and side discussions.
About the Ideas Parking Lot Matrix Template
The Ideas Parking Lot Matrix (also known as the “wall of ideas”) can help your team capture ideas and issues that need more research or discussion during meetings.
Big ideas, progress blockers, or unrelated tangents may not resolve themselves by the end of a meeting. Try to see if your team might agree to use a parking lot framework during a workshop or meeting. The democratic approach can let everyone take ownership of the material they’ve contributed during the discussion.
Each team member can point out any concerns they might have. After the main discussion ends, they can agree to take action on what can be prioritized and report back on improvements made since your last meeting.
Keep reading to learn more about [ideas parking lot matrixes].
What is an Ideas Parking Lot Matrix
A Parking Lot Matrix is a facilitation tool used during workshops or longer meetings to isolate distractions, or unrelated topics and decide what ideas and worth turning into actionable next steps. Putting your ideas into a Parking Lot Matrix allows you to focus on the immediate team discussion and still recognize everyone’s thoughts and contributions to the meeting.
Parking lot matrices work especially well when you have teammates in the group who are likely to go off-topic or suggest ideas that may be vague and open to scope creep. Their ideas and observations are ‘parked’ for when the right time and context is clear, building a bank of valuable insights to prioritize or return to as needed.
Create your own Ideas Parking Lot Matrix
Making your own Ideas Parking Lot Matrix is easy. Miro’s whiteboard tool is the perfect canvas to create and share them. Get started by selecting the Ideas Parking Lot Matrix Template, then take the following steps to make one of your own.
Stay on-topic during the meeting.
Pick a topic and stick to it. If anyone in the group jumps to another topic or jumps to unrelated ideas, encourage them to use sticky notes to document their thoughts in writing. Recording their thoughts acknowledges that the idea has value, but is perhaps not as urgent as the current topic you need to address.
Collect clusters of questions, unrelated tangents, or unproven ideas to follow-up on.
Your team can use (or ‘Command+D’ on your keyboard) to rapidly and concisely ideate on as many sticky notes as needed. ‘Ideas under Discussion’ will focus on the most important concepts or concerns. Everyone should feel free to add ideas under opportunities, things to keep on the radar, things to consider later, and things that shouldn’t be considered.
Clarify your team’s action items to follow-up on.
Turn relevant sticky notes into action items owned by a team member with a realistic timeline to report back on progress. This helps keep the meeting on-schedule by focusing on future to-dos rather than solving or wrapping up every idea at once.
Make plans to set-up a follow-up meeting.
A parking lot matrix is an action plan for future research, discussions, or meetings. Ideally, the framework should outline ways that your team can turn a hypothetical contribution into tangible value. Try incorporating alongside your Matrix to keep everyone organized and on-track for your next team regroup.
When schedules get hectic, “learning by doing” becomes the default way to learn. So make time for your team to learn in other valuable ways — by reflecting and listening. Led by “learners,” (team members who share with the rest of the team), a meeting reflection lets teammates share new information about a client’s business or an internal business initiative, offer problem-solving techniques, or even recommend books or podcasts worth checking out. Meeting reflections also encourage colleagues at all levels to engage in each other’s professional development of their teammates.
Mitch Lacey's Estimation Game
A wordy name but a simple tool, Mitch Lacey’s Estimation Game is an effective way to rank your work tasks by size and priority — so you can decide what to tackle first. In the game, notecards represent your work items and feature ROI, business value, or other important metrics. You’ll place each in a quadrant (ranking them by size and priority) to help you order them in your upcoming schedule. The game also empowers developers and product management teams to work together and collaborate effectively.
The Sailboat Retrospective is a low-pressure way for teams to reflect on how they handled a project. By defining your risks (the rocks), delaying issues (anchors), helping teams (wind), and the goal (land), you’ll be able to work out what you’re doing well and what you need to improve on for the next sprint. Approaching team dynamics with a sailboat metaphor helps everyone describe where they want to go together by figuring out what slows them down and what helps them reach their future goals.
First introduced by G. Lynn Shostack in 1984, service blueprints allow you to visualize the steps that go into a service process from the customer’s perspective. Service blueprints are useful tools for understanding and designing a service experience – and finding ways to improve it. Service blueprint diagrams make it simpler for teams to design new processes or improve existing ones. To create a service blueprint, map out each process and actor that contributes to the customer experience, from in-house contributors to third-party vendors.
When you’re kicking off a creative project, it’s sometimes important to communicate the mood you’re trying to evoke — but it’s so hard to do it with words. So create a mood board and use images, color palettes, textures, and typography. Mood boards are also perfect for gathering inspiration and sketching out and pitching ideas, and they’re not just for designers — your content writers, sales teams, and product teams can use them too, and this template makes it easy for all of you to get started.
A team charter is a document that outlines your team’s purpose and objectives, as well as steps you will take to reach your goals. The team charter illustrates the focus and direction for all team members. When created collaboratively, the team charter is a great way for individuals to feel even more connected to one another within the group. A team charter template is useful when you’re first establishing a new team, adding new members to an existing team, or when you need to better align regardless of your team’s tenure.