In Agile “a workshop” is generally regarded as an activity where several people come together for brainstorming, harnessing interactions and creativity of the participants in order to achieve an objective. Typically, a workshop would last from 2 or 3 hours to a whole day.
Workshops can be used at any point in a project whenever there is need to get a consensus or feedback from a group of stakeholders .
Workshop are important so there has to be a some level of preparation which is required to ensure there is successful outcome of the workshop.
A typical workshop preparation requires the facilitator to define:
- Workshop objective
- Why is this workshop taking place? what is the purpose?
- Who (Stakeholders) should attend?
- What is the Agenda? Which topics should take place during the workshop and in what sequence?
- Workshop logistics like – venue, room, equipment, layout
- Any pre-reading is required ? What do the participants need to know in advance to ensure workshop runs as smoothly as possible
For a workshop to have a successful outcome Tools and techniques used and how they are used, play a important part. Also having a neutral facilitator plays important roles in case there are stakeholders with strong personalities and conflicting views that need to be managed.
Below are few of the Possible workshop techniques used:
Focuses on the four areas of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for a given situation.
It is a three-step technique used to describe how something can get from one state or situation to another.
- The first step is to describe where it is now.
- Step two describes where it needs to be.
- Step three describes what actions need to happen in order to get from the ‘now’ state to the ‘to be’ state.
A grid, typically two-by-two (four box) that allows items to be positioned or compared against two criteria on the x and y axes (e.g. impact v/s probability, cost v/s effort,).
A way of generating ideas, which normally involves sticky notes so that all ideas are initially produced without being affected by other people. Ideas are then discussed, perhaps grouped and then developed further.
Using visualization to convey messages (often feelings) in a form that can use metaphors and humour. Prioritization with dots. The use of sticky dots or marker pen dots to quickly vote on a set of options.
Defining the overall ‘why?’
Creating shared goals or objectives, often using visualization.
The five whys (repeatedly asking ‘why?’):
A questioning technique to get to the root of a problem or request. The 5 Whys typically refers to the practice of asking five times the “why“ failure has occurred in order to get to the root cause/s of the problem.
Six Thinking Hats (Dr Edward de Bono’s)
The Six Thinking Hats is a role-playing model presented by Edward de Bono in 1986.
It serves as a team-based problem solving and brainstorming technique.
This technique helps people think in six different ways:
- The White Hat calls for data & information known or needed.
- The Red Hat signifies feelings, hunches and intuition.
- The Yellow Hat symbolizes brightness and optimism – Positive Thinking.
- The Black Hat is judgement; the devil’s advocate or why something may not work.
- The Green Hat focuses on creative thinking and ideas.
- The Blue Hat is used to manage the thinking process – Process Control.