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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.