Workshops are our northern star to understand the client’s needs and requirements in order to provide the best solution and implementation process.
Whenever we run a workshop with them, we are there to unlock and create value for them. Therefore, making the most out of it is our responsibility and one that we are delighted to take. So how about some real-life tips that we have found to work quite well? Continue reading if you’d like to know.
1. Define the mission
Day-to-day work often takes away most of people’s calendars, so time dedicated to workshops need to be used wisely. If our project is a journey from point A to point B, the workshops are our road trip. And just like a road trip would need careful planning, workshops need clear objectives and desired outcomes to make it worth everyone’s time. This is where the proper project sponsorship and organizational support are essential – bringing the right people we need and enabling them to make decisions.
2. Take notes in front of the audience
A picture may be worth a thousand words, and when doing workshops, so are the documented decisions. Even better when everything is transparent and captured directly on a board or a screen share. This way, everyone can see progress being made and is also welcome to contribute. And of course don’t forget to send out this shared file to all stakeholders after the meeting. This way you provide full transparency to the process.
3. Take action items
Action items are also a great tool you can use when not everything is clear there and then and we need to double check it or have additional research. When suitable, I personally like to start with logging an action item and assigning it to myself as an example of how we can organize follow-ups. Make sure you also add all critical details like deadlines, responsible person or team, and more. It works both ways, though – keeping track of things while also improving communication effectiveness.
4. Keep the bigger picture in sight
Dealing with complex topics can often derail us from the workshop objectives. Whenever it feels like we are chasing our tails, we should step back and consult the bigger picture. It can be that the bigger picture holds the answer to the question being discussed. And if not, we shall restrict sidetracking by storing the details around the discussion as fuel for another session – one that may require different or more stakeholders. We should also encourage reality checks and stick to our agile principles.
5. Be positive
Simple but extremely important. Keeping the spirit high is like holding the door open for positive impact. Everyone should feel a shared sense of purpose and that their ideas are welcome and valuable. And that is your role as a host of the workshop. Bringing food to the conference room also helps. 🙂