New methods of cooperation, i.e. best practices for the online workshop.
Online workshopping may help to move a project forward. What goals can we achieve thanks to online workshops? We listed down 4 key objectives that can be achieved through remote collaboration:
- Acquiring knowledge
- Sharing perspectives
- Using the group’s potential to develop a solution
- Integrating an interdisciplinary team around the challenge
How can we achieve that? We are happy to share our experience on how to prepare an efficient workshop and which tools are needed to do it smoothly.
Before we start a research and complicated analysis it is worthy to collect the knowledge accumulated by now within the team that was engaged in the project. At the very beginning of every project, it is extremely important to define the overriding objective and key assumptions regarding the project. Workshop with the whole team will help to achieve a better comprehension of the problem and expectations.
Why it matters:
- Expert knowledge needed to implement the project is dispersed between different departments and employees within the organization.
- There already are solutions developed and implemented in the organisation that respond to some extent to the diagnosed challenges.
- Simple forms and an intuitive set of tools, which allow the project team to share their knowledge. Well prepared custom template with matrices and tables which helps to organise the knowledge is key.
- Online tools like Google Docs allow groups of people to work on a specific document simultaneously which is a perfect solution for online workshops.
- The home task for all participants is a good prelude to the workshop — puts their focus on a specific topic and encourages people to think about the issues.
- Keeping people engaged and focused for a long time is the most difficult challenge during a workshop. In order to prevent boredom, you should plan systematic breaks and energizers.
- At the end of the meeting, it is advisable to emphasize the meaning of the knowledge you have acquired from the participants.
Let me give you an example, before we begin to develop the all-new CRM system, we should check the way particular departments used to gather and manage data about customers. Thanks to this, we save time and money which would be spent on developing a solution that has been already developed in some parts.
It is crucial to maintain an equal level of knowledge among the team members. A workshop is one of the most effective ways to present the results of a specific stage of a project and engage all the project members in the process of drawing conclusions. Thanks to the workshop we may create an understanding within the project team and build a shared vision of the solution.
Why it matters:
- Team members might have a different imagination of the final solution. Lack of actual knowledge about the progress in the project may lead to misunderstandings.
- Team members are not equally involved in every phase of the project. It is really important to involve decision-makers at the early stage of the project in order to avoid costly changes in the future.
- This type of workshop requires an entertaining way of presentation in order to keep participants engaged. The aim is to engage people in various workshop tasks in order to make them discuss with each other.
- During the workshop, it is important to plan the space for discussion. How to do this online? There are plenty of online tools that may help participants to share their point of view, for example; Jamboard, Miro or Mural.
- It is also worthy to create several virtual rooms for small teams in which they may work together on the topic.
Imagine a research project in which several interviews have been conducted that are a rich source of insights about the target group. The workshop allows the entire team to engage in analysis and drawing conclusions. That is the way to keep the high efficiency of the process.
The involvement of an interdisciplinary team in the process allows us to take into consideration different perspectives and develop a solution which will better meet the expectation of the organisation as a whole.
Why it matters:
- All the people have the knowledge, which is invaluable input into every process.
- Team members have various competencies that are complementary to each other.
- People, sharing their experience within the team, put more focus on the new details and help to improve the ideas of other members.
- The workshop tasks should be designed in a way that accumulates the knowledge of the organisation and gives the chance to develop the best solution on their basis. This type of process requires simple templates which, when filled in, can serve as inspiration during the following phases.
- Many short iterations require effective time management within the subgroups. The role of facilitators is especially important in this case.
Let’s consider a project whose main objective is to develop innovative ideas for launch to the new market. All of the team members have various experiences and ideas for efficient product launch. The workshop allows us to employ all the attitudes that enrich the creative work.
It is important for the success of the project that everyone knows what the team is facing. The goal that we can achieve through the workshop is to clarify and understand the main challenge of all team members.
Why it matters:
- People within the organization understand the task differently and have a different idea of the future steps of its implementation.
- All the team members should be involved in the process of defining the main challenge. In order to turn their attention into the key challenge, it is efficient to ask them for a solution.
- An action plan that is to respond to a defined challenge must be accepted by all participants. This can be achieved by jointly designing the next steps and milestones.
Do you want your project to be finished successfully and not end up with the report only? Involve key people in the organisation in the process as you work on initiatives for future implementation. Group work on a challenge unites people and makes them more engaged.
Just to sum up, the year 2020 has changed our habits and showed us how many possibilities we have. I have in mind remote work, remote education, remote communication, which have become a norm. Have we lost efficiency in the way we cooperate because of that? Don’t think so. We still believe in teamwork which allows us to deliver better, higher developed, well-designed solutions. We believe in interactions between people, even if they are online.
We can help you to design an efficient online workshop to achieve these goals within your organisation.