Hopes & Fears is a method to gather a group's attitude towards a project. Hopes uncover expectations about what can be done. Fears uncover doubts about the project at hand. A great activity for getting people to open up and share their feelings about where you're going. Use this activity at any moment that feels like the beginning of a project, sprint, workshop or other large commitment work.
Step 1: Write down alone
Everyone gets time to write their hopes and concerns before talking about them. Invite participants to be honest and share what they feel. They can start with:
- Hope: "I hope..."or "It would be great if..."
- Fears: "I'm concerned that..."or "This would be great but..."
Step 2: Discuss and Cluster
Once everyone is finished, ask everyone to move their post-its to the board. Identify any emerging themes. What stands out? What hopes or fears do you share? Is there a sensitive topic or issue that’s worth bringing into the open for discussion?
Cluster, circle and title your themes.
A good example of Hopes & Fears is to do the method as part of a project kick-off. The method encourages the group to share their hopes and wishes for the project. Everyone gets an opportunity to share their fears, questions and worries.
Below, you see an example of what Hopes & Fears could look like at the end. As you can see, it gives you honest insight into what people think and increases trust within the group.