February 9, 2021
Have you ever run an online workshop? Many companies and agencies have some concerns regarding their efficiency. After all, meeting in the same conference room is so much more effective, right? Well, not necessarily! Today, we’d like to show you our approach to online workshops. How do we prepare for them? What do we do to make them effective? And finally, what principles do we stick to when running an online workshop? Let’s get right to it!
We have to be honest, at NoA Ignite, we do a lot of workshops with commas and we are huge fans of this solution. Primarily, that’s because we think they are excellent collaboration tools. They allow us to gather different people together to exchange information, solve problems and work on solutions. That’s why workshops play a significant part in almost every one of our projects, and we willingly run them on different stages of the project work.
We truly believe that this is the best way to:
Although we do many different kinds of workshops, our main concern is to always adjust them to the clients' needs and goals that we want to achieve.
If you dig deeper into this subject, you will discover that there are several types of online workshops. However, we have three favourite types, and these are:
Typically, we use them at the very beginning of a project. They are extremely helpful in understanding business requirements, gathering existing knowledge, building a shared understanding of the challenge, and deciding on the next steps.
They are perfect for generating, discussing and testing a broad set of ideas. Some of those workshops can be done within a few hours, others can take even a few days, but in the end, we end up with thoroughly tested business assumptions, which can save our clients a lot of money and time.
We always run them after key steps within the project, such as the research phase or the MVP tests, in order to create a road map for our work.
Our role, as designers, is to prepare and facilitate the workshop. This means that we have to design exercises that we want to perform during a given workshop and decide on tools that we want to use.
So what exactly do we do before the workshop? Generally, preparing an online workshop consists of three steps:
In order to make your online workshop effective, you have to bear several rules in mind and stick to them every time you are designing an online workshop. These rules are as follows:
To make our job easier, we always prepare a virtual workspace ahead. Miro is our favourite tool. In essence, it’s a live collaboration whiteboard.
Why do we use Miro?
PRINCIPLES TO FOLLOW DURING THE MEETING:
It’s important: *As a facilitator, you need to be a detective, observer, listener, guardian and documentalist at the same time. Indeed, you have a lot to do, and your job involves listening carefully, collecting conclusions, writing them down, keeping the schedule tight and making sure that every participant follows your instructions and has a chance to express their thoughts... Doing all that simultaneously can be tricky. That's why it's worth having a co-facilitator who will help you do your job. *
Take a look at our webinar that helped us write this blog post, it will surely broaden your knowledge on online workshops:
Many people believe that offline workshops are better. With the entire team in one conference room, it really seems like a better idea. However, in the times of COVID-19, the vast majority of organizations work in the home office setup. That’s why, in many instances, online workshops are your only choice. However, don’t think of them as something worse!
As our experience shows, sticking to the aforementioned principles plays a crucial role. If you make your online workshops well thought-out and concise, you will be able to achieve the same level of productivity. And yes, we are 100% certain that online workshops do their job well.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s a flawless solution. You can run into some problems during the remote workshops, such as: • Network issues • Problems with concentrations (but honestly, offline meetings have the same problem just distractors are slightly different) • Nonverbal communication is limited • Working in smaller groups can be problematic
However, keeping these obstacles in mind will help you take necessary measures to avoid or at least minimise them.
Online workshops are beneficial not just for your project teams but for your client as well. Why? For your client, it’s an excellent way to share expectations, knowledge, ask questions, check the status of the work, and decide on the next steps. They feel more engaged in the project. They can collaborate on the solution and be able to see not only the outcome but also the entire process that led to it.
It's a good moment to sum up today's discussion. In short, we believe the online workshop is the most straightforward and quick way to get everyone on the same page.
Online workshops help you with the project work. They are brilliant for sharing ideas and looking for the best solutions. And, as long as you have the right tools, setup, and a well thought-out plan, online workshops can be as equally efficient as offline ones. Don’t think of them as something inferior. They are a fantastic covid-proof tool for every company and marketing agency! And if you are still looking for the perfect online workshop tool, we strongly recommend Miro!
If you’re curious how Making Waves collaborate remotely with clients, we’ve prepared series of videos about this subject. The first one is about workshops. Enjoy watching, and stay tuned next videos coming soon!
Mariola is a User Experience Designer. She appreciates working collaboratively. For her diversity of mindsets, experiences and insights are key to successful products. She also values communication, building relations and cooperating on a team.
Contact Mariola: firstname.lastname@example.org