Dot Voting: A Fun and Effective Way to Get Feedback

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Aug 8, 2022
Updated on
Aug 22, 2022
Table of Content

When it comes to making decisions, we all have different preferences. Some of us like to go with our gut, while others like to weigh all the options before making a choice. But no matter how you want to make decisions, there's one thing that we can all agree on: getting feedback is essential.

One great way to get feedback is through dot voting, a simple and fun way to gather feedback from a group. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through how dot voting works and show some examples of how it can be used. Read on to learn more!

What is Dot Voting?

Dot voting is a quick and straightforward polling mechanism for group voting on the highest priority items on a list. "Dot Voting" refers to a voting method in which a vote is cast by placing a sticky dot or a marker next to an item posted on the wall during a meeting/retrospective.

Each participant in the meeting has a predetermined amount of votes (or dots) to use as they see fit; they can choose to put all their dots on a single item, or divide them as they see fit. 

This way, participants vote or give dots for numerous items and represent relative priority rather than declaring any single item a “winner.”

Instead of wasting time going back and forth, your team may rapidly make decisions while ensuring that each member has equal input in the prioritization process. Members who generally keep a low profile are urged to participate to the same degree as everyone else. 

This makes dot voting one of the most inclusive team voting mechanisms. Everyone puts their dots at once; once everyone has placed all their dots, the lead counts them up to find their favorite selections. The ones with the most dots rank highest.

When to Use Dot Voting

Dot voting is a great way to engage employees and help them feel like they have a voice in the company. It can also be used to make decisions quickly and efficiently. Here are some tips on when to use dot voting in your business:

Retrospectives in Groups

Retrospectives are essential to every team's process. They allow team members to reflect on what went well and what could be improved, and help build a shared understanding of how the team functions. 

One way to encourage discussion in retrospectives is to use dot voting. Dot voting is a simple technique that allows everyone on the team to give their input efficiently and equitably. This simple technique allows everyone in the group to weigh in on which issues are most important, and helps ensure everyone's voice is heard.

Rose, Bud, Thorn Retrospective

The Rose, Bud, Thorn Retrospective is a popular way to reflect on the team's recent successes, challenges, and areas for improvement. To do an RBT retrospective using dot voting, each team member writes down one Rose (something that went well), one Bud (an opportunity for improvement), and one Thorn (a pain point) on index cards.

After everyone has written down their items, team members place a dot next to the item they would like to discuss further. The items with the most dots are discussed first. This ensures that the team focuses on the issues that are most important to them.

Prioritizing Tasks

Dot voting is a simple technique that can help groups prioritize tasks by allowing each member to cast a certain number of votes for the ideas they feel are most important. The benefit of dot voting is that it will give everyone a say in decision-making and force individuals to rank their priorities.

As a result, dot voting can help groups make more informed decisions about allocating their time and resources. Furthermore, it can help prevent people from getting too attached to any idea, as they only have a limited number of votes. 

Decision Making

Dot voting can be used to choose anything from the name of a new business to the location of a team retreat. It’s a great way to get everyone’s input and is very quick and easy to do. Best of all, it can help prevent groupthink by forcing people to consider all of the options before making a decision. 

What are the Advantages of Dot Voting?

Dot Voting is a great way to get group input and develop ideas. It's simple and fast, and everyone can participate. Let's take a look at some of the advantages of Dot Voting:

  • Easy to use and set up
  • Produces a measurable and observable outcome
  • Expertise (and opinions) converge in a productive, time-efficient manner
  • Engaging for team members
  • Low cost
  • It can be used with other tools, such as a focus group or an After Action Review, to vote on the most popular ideas and actions developed
  • It collectively develops a shared artifact that may be used to communicate decisions
  • It prevents the HIPPO effect and allows all people to contribute equally
  • Discussion is focused on a few prioritized ideas

Dot Voting Instructions

Dot voting is a great way to crowdsource quick decisions from a group. It's easy to do and can be used for everything from book club discussions to naming a new business. Here's how to do it: 

Gather Materials and Ideas

Your supplies will depend on what is voted on and what you use to vote. Sticky notes (typically hung on a wall or whiteboard) and written lists on huge, easel-size paper pads are the most prevalent types of dot voting.

Stick each suggestion to the board or wall with a sticky note. You can also brainstorm virtually, which can be particularly helpful if members work from home or in separate offices, and use group voting apps.

For in-person voting, dot stickers are most typically used due to their flexibility. In cost-sensitive or unexpected circumstances, votes can be made with a simple mark of a pen or marker. 

Put the Choices into Groups

If your selections are similar, group them into clusters to make it simpler to see how different themes may overlap. If the votes are concentrated around many choices within the same grouping, you can immediately tell which theme (or themes) the team is leaning toward.

Distribute a Set of Dot Stickers to Each Participant

Once the dot voting begins, distribute a predetermined amount of stickers to each participant and instruct them to place them next to their favorite option or options. The facilitator decides in advance how many votes (dots) each participant will receive ( three is the most common).

Make Voting Restrictions Clear

Explain your reasoning for the vote and your plans for the results before you cast your ballot. Remind them of the importance and purpose of voting before they cast their ballots. Why are they voting, and what purpose will the results serve?

Inform participants of their total number of votes. As a general rule, give each person several votes equal to 25% of the total number of options.


Each voter places a dot next to one or more choices. Voters are asked to cast their ballots quietly. Once everyone has put their dot or mark on the conversation board, voting stops. No lobbying is allowed when voting.

Review the Outcome

After everyone has cast their vote, participants can congregate and discuss the result. Participants can discuss what motivated their votes and the possible course of action in light of the results. 

Review your board after taking a step back. The results will likely resemble a heatmap distribution, focusing on the most well-liked selections.

Participants can discuss why they selected particular options or consider what to do next now that a consensus rating has been reached, depending on the purpose of the dot voting.

Narrow the Options and Revote

You might need to hold another voting session, depending on the purpose of the vote. You might conduct a second vote to select the best (or preferred) option from your shortlist—for instance, if you used the first vote to reduce a lengthy list of possibilities.

Redistribute the same number of votes to each participant, but limit voting to the options that got the highest score in the last poll.

5 Voting Apps for Groups online

Group voting can be a fun and enlightening way to make decisions as a group, but online voting apps can make the process even more user-friendly and efficient. Here are five of our favorite dot voting apps for online groups:


Slido is your go-to voting app! You can engage your participants with live polls, Q&A, quizzes, and word clouds. The best part is that attendees can join without any logins or downloads, and the setup for hosts takes only minutes. 


Pollunit is an online dot voting website that makes it simple and quick to reach a consensus without any hassles. Plus, the platform is optimized for online meetings, so you can stay focused and on task. It is incredibly user-friendly. You can easily customize your polls to fit your specific needs, and the intuitive interface makes it easy to keep track of all your votes.


Dotstorming is the perfect tool for dot voting online. With voting boards and digital whiteboards, it's easy to see where everyone's at and make decisions accordingly. Plus, the collages feature is excellent for when you need to get a group of people on the same page (literally).


Dotvoter is the best way to collect, vote, and discuss ideas as a group. This online dot voting website makes it easy to share boards anywhere. Plus, the real-time voting feature lets you see how others are responding to your ideas in real-time.


Miro is the perfect tool for better decision-making and group collaboration. The Dot Voting Template makes it easy to get everyone on the same page so that you can avoid those frustrating arguments and wasted time. Just enter your options and let Miro do the rest. You'll see which option is most popular at a glance and make the best decisions for your team.


Dot voting is a great way to get input from various people on countless topics. It can be used for everything from product design to naming products or services. It is particularly advantageous because it allows everyone in the group to have their say without wasting too much time. Plenty of dot voting apps in this digital age make the process even easier.

If you're looking for an easy way to collect and track votes, GoRetro is the perfect Agile Sprint retrospective tool. With our simple, intuitive interface, you can get started in minutes and get the results you need quickly and easily. Try it today!

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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