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What is Start, Stop, Continue?

Stop, Start, Continue is an exercise used to evaluate a group's activities and make decisions about which ones to prioritize going forward. Steps include:

  1. Step 1: Setup
    Create three blank lists labeled Start, Stop, and Continue.
    • Start: Brand new initiatives or activities
    • Stop: things the group is currently doing that aren't delivering value or that no longer align with the current priorities.
    • Continue: things that are working and should be carried forward on the new plan.
  2. Step 2: Individual Brainstorming
    Give everyone 10 to 15 minutes to write individually in silence. You can also assign this brainstorming as pre-work, asking everyone to come with their lists of activities to start, stop, and continue.
  3. Step 3: Build a Shared List
    Compare and combine individual lists. For smaller groups, go around the room, asking people to place one idea at a time into the appropriate category. For larger groups, first combine lists in groups of 4 or 5. Then combine the lists from each group into a single, shared list.
  4. Step 4: Review Results
    When all the notes are posted, review and discuss together.

You can also use this exercise to prioritize your personal task list. Draw three columns on a sheet of paper or create a three-column spreadsheet. Then work through your current task list, putting each one into a column. The goal is to free up time to focus on the highest value activity (Starts and Continues) by placing many tasks into the Stop column.

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Related Templates
Related Glossary Terms
4Ls Technique, Plus, Retrospective, Interesting (PMI), Minus

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