Compression Planning Pinning for Dummies: The book that was never written

Saving time by paying attention to the 101 things

Okay, before I sat down to write this, I went to Amazon to make sure someone didn’t already beat me to the punch.  I mean, no sense in rewriting something so worthy of rolling your eyes if someone else already wrote it!

I entered “for dummies in books” to see what would come up.  There were 17,389 results.  So, I started scanning down the list to see if I would find “Pinning for Dummies.”

I didn’t…but I did find one that that caught my eye and thought it would be fun to share with you!  A LOT off topic, but…

Lauryn and Logan holding, not really.

There seems to be a dummies book for everything. This past week Steph and the kids and I were visiting some friends who started raising chickens this past year.  They are both teachers and have two young children.  They started raising chickens, without knowing what they were doing but thinking “how hard can it be?”  It’s been an educational journey for them, their kids as well as my kids.  It’s been fun watching my kids interact with animals as they are growing up!  Lauryn has no fear.  She holds the chicken close to her body and pets it as if it were the most natural thing for her to be doing.

Logan holds the chickens with two hands out in front of him and walks around as if he’s bringing a sacrifice to the alter.  It’s funny to watch how different they are!

So, why the interesting off-topic bunny trail?  Well, first, I thought it was a cute picture and I had to share it somewhere.  Second, the 19th book on my Amazon result list was “Raising Chickens for Dummies.”

If there is a need, someone will write the book.  So why isn’t there a Dummies book on pinning????  Guess I’ll have to write it.

When I introduce this in the Institute, people look like they can’t believe they are about to hear what they are going to hear.  It’s one of those things that until you go out and do a few sessions, you are NOT going to appreciate what you are going to read.

So, maybe at this point, you should go out and facilitate at least 3-6 Compression Planning sessions and then come back and read this post!

First things first…if you have the plastic pushpins, throw them away.  Don’t even donate them.  Just get rid of them.  You will thank me.  The pins you should be using are steel and it makes a huge difference in your ease of doing Compression Planning.  The look like the picture below and can be purchased from Storyboard Tools by clicking here.

These pins should be a ONE time purchase so go for it and buy a lot of them!  Know that they will disappear and that you will want to check your colleagues work spaces as they are so incredibly useful!  They are hard to find on-line…and Kim at Storyboard Tools offers very competitive pricing.

Now that you have your pins, you want to have a container for them.  Get something that has thick plastic and a twist on/off top as the pins are sharp and if you just use the cheap plastic Glad containers, the pins will poke through them!  Been there, done that and have the band aids to prove it.  Well, I no longer have the band aids as that would be gross.

You now have your containerized push pins.  Before you start facilitating your session, dump a small pile out on the table and use the container to spread them out.  Which brings us to my list of:

Pinning Hints for Dummies

Dummies Hint #1: DO NOT TRY AND EXTRACT A PUSH PIN DIRECTLY FROM A SMALL CONTAINER.  Chances are great that you will stick your finger and utter a word that you shouldn’t utter in front of the group you are facilitating.  Spread them out so you can easily pick up one at a time.

So simple, I know.  But I’ve seen it done in every single Institute I’ve ever been a part of.  And no, I never say it…out loud but I do think “I told you so” every time it happens.

Dummies Hint #2: The magic ratio of pins to cards is:  1:1.  Do not pin two cards with one pin.  Yes, it can be done.  I can also hit my head against a brick wall but that doesn’t mean I should.  You may need to move one of the cards at a later point in time and if you’ll have a tangled mess of cards on your hands and it will cost you time.

Dummies Hint #3: That 4×6 card is so large!  Where do I stick the pin?  Shoot for the center!  Honestly.  And don’t forget the magic ratio mentioned above.

Dummies Hint #4: Double pin your HEADER card…the one at the very top of the column.  This is the only card in the columns you need to double pin.  Why?  Because at the end of the day when you are finished, you will tape the cards under your HEADER card and if you don’t double pin the TOP card, it will spin and slide down and you’ll get frustrated and it will cost you time.

Dummies Hint #5: Place the card on the storyboard and then stick the push pin in it.  Don’t be timid either.  Use some force.  By placing first, you guarantee you are able to butt it up to the card above it leaving no gaps.  You don’t want gaps for two reasons.  First is that it looks nice.  Your group is demonstrating crisp, clear thinking and you want your boards to reflect that.  Second, it makes it SO much easier when you go to tape the columns.  You don’t have to repin your storyboards before taping!

Dummies Hint #5.5: This goes along with number 5, but I didn’t think it was worthy of it’s own hint.  Don’t prepin a card and then try and place it on the storyboard.  I see people who are assisting in the pinning role take a card from the printer, immediately stick a pin in it (they even sometimes get it in the middle!) and then walk up to the storyboard and try and get the exact placement under the card.  It never works.  Don’t do this.

Dummies Hint #6: If you have a card that kind of is a subset of another card, offset it by about an inch under the card it falls under.  Kind of like a bullet point.  With this card, go for the middle but move the pin a little bit off to the left so that when you go to tape, you don’t have to stop and move this push pin.  This is the ONLY exception to “shoot for the middle!”

Dummies Hint #7: This one is a bit advanced but still worthy of being shared. This is something I personally do when I am pinning a card on a storyboard.  I never remember the difference between convex and concave so I’ll use something easier to understand.

The cards curve.  If they curve out from the board, it gets frustrating when you go to tape them.  There is a natural curve when you open your pack of index cards.  Also, humidity tends to bring out the worst in the cards and makes the curve out from the storyboard.

The simple fix I’ve found is that I bend the card…sometimes actually putting a small crease in the middle so that when I pin the card to the storyboard, it kind of looks like I’m pinning a V to the board.  Like this:   | >  with the pole being the board and the > being the card.  Screw around with this, it will make sense if it doesn’t here in print.

I’t think of three more.  That’s it for hints!  But why spend time on this at all?  Speed.  Compression Planning is all about squeezing time out of your planning efforts so you can help groups make intelligent decisions and accelerate their ideas into action…quickly.  The last thing you want to be doing after a long, exhausting session is repin all of your storyboards.  You want to quickly and efficiently tape them, take them off the boards and get them inputted into a report.  I get all of our client reports emailed within 24 hours and pinning saves me a ton of time…and energy in doing so.

If you want the link to my report template, click here (it’s number 9 on the left).

Good luck…good pinning…and don’t expect this post to show up in your Amazon search for “Pinning for Dummies.”

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