HMW Sharing and Affinity Mapping


Affinity Mapping is a Design Sprint method that frequently follows Lightning Talks and is used to categorize HMW sticky notes into themes. This is a way to share the opportunities the team has identified thus far in the Sprint.Before the team shares their HMWs and categorizing the sticky notes into themes begin, remind everyone that HMWs are intended to look for opportunities, not problems or solutions. At this stage in the Design Sprint, encourage the team to think broadly and explore as many angles as possible. It may take a little while for solid affinity categories to form as HMWs are shared. You may adjust categories as the HMW sharing session continues.Keep mapping until you are satisfied that there are enough ideas in each category or theme. And don’t forget a miscellaneous category; some things just don’t fit, and these opportunities are important to consider along with all others.


  1. One at a time, each team member reads all of their HMW notes and places the sticky notes on the board
  2. Give each person three minutes to finish so they’re encouraged to be concise
  3. Team members can write down more HMW notes if they get inspired by what others share
  4. Wait until the third person has finished presenting before grouping HMW notes into categories. From there, add notes to the categories as each person reads.Tip: Do not wait until everyone has finished sharing to do this. You will have a big, unwieldy task on your hands