created by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council
Activities for Transforming Teams
and Igniting Change
ATTIC is a collection of tools, games, and activities to inspire innovation, teamwork and engagement in health care settings.

Look Before You Leap

Need help focusing on a wide range of requirements for a project? Or, are you questioning biases or assumptions being made by you or your team? This activity is a structured approach that helps unpack risky assumptions. Your team will be given the ability to speak about their concerns openly, and discuss what action is needed going forward

  • 30 - 60 minutes
  • Any number
    • Flip-chart paper
    • Post-it notes
  • Source: Adapted from Assumptions Mapping, David J Bland, Precoil

What to do

  1. Make a list of assumptions by answering some of the questions below. Write them individually on a post-it (you can have more than one answer per question):
    • Who are we designing this solution for?
    • What is the problem we are trying to solve?
    • Why can’t patients/providers solve this problem today?
    • What are the challenges getting a solution in place?
    • What are the internal hurdles?
    • How is leadership supporting this issue?
    • How are we uniquely positioned to solve this issue?
    • How are we measuring success?
    • How will the solution be sustained over time?
  2. Create a 2X2 grid (like the one seen below) on a flipchart. Plot your answers/assumptions into the quadrant that you/your team feel represents it best. The level of priority (y-axis) is based on how important or urgent each assumption is. The level of certainty (x-axis) is based on how familiar you/your team know about the issue at hand. LBYL
  3. Once your assumptions are plotted, consider the following action steps below:
    • Plan: These assumptions are closest to fact. Start developing ideas and/or an action plan based on these assumptions.
    • Measure: Put measurement and evaluation methods in place to validate its level of importance.
    • Defer: These assumptions can be either eliminated or deferred to another stage of the project. 
    • Explore: Research these assumptions further as there is very little known about them. 


  • How did this process help prioritize requirements for your project?
  • What areas did you/your team decide needed further clarification?
  • What do you think this tells us about our personal biases in projects?
  • How will you be mindful of your biases in the future?
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