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You should use these steps building agendas because following them will increase your meeting success and personal reputation. Before we begin, let us remember the definition of a solid, structured meeting agenda:

Agenda Defined

Building Agendas

Eleven Steps for Building Agendas

An agenda is a series of steps that structure a group discussion throughout a meeting or workshop. The MG RUSH technique provides field-tested agendas that work effectively to accelerate information gathering and improve decision-making methods. Therefore, a robust and effective agenda enables you . . .

Use these steps when building a meeting agenda. Sequentially begin with meeting purpose, scope, and session (ie, meeting or workshop) deliverables. Only then can you create a simple agenda and begin sharing among your participants.

  • Write down your deliverable and strive to get examples! Note that deliverables illustrate the required documentation and needed information. What are we producing? Show participants examples if you are building a model. Align with the enterprise and business unit strategic plans to help reconcile tradeoffs in your decision-making process.
  • Codify your deliverables—what specific content creates success as output of your workshop. What is the optimal sequence for gathering it? Who will use it after the meeting is complete? Better stated, “What does DONE look like?”
  • Quantify impact from the meeting on the program and articulate the project or meeting scope. Identify the level of detail desired, the type of session (planning, problem-solving, design, etc.), and what to accomplish in the workshop. Understand what might be excluded (due to scope); or what the purpose and scope are NOT.
  • Identify and compose the simple steps that enable you to organize the known information, identify the missing information, and produce the deliverables identified previously. Compose a series of steps from experience. Consider the analytical methods used by other experts to make decisions, solve problems, or develop the necessary information.
    • Consider internal life-cycle methods, cultural expectations, and what other projects have used in the past within your organization.
    • Study the MG RUSH curriculum and consider its pre-built planning, analysis, and design workshops with agendas that have been proven to work for others in the past.
    • Do some research and find out what others are doing; competitors, competitive industries, competitive alternatives, and the most current academic approaches.
    • Talk to others, especially project team members and business community subject matter experts to determine some of the major components they would include in a simple agenda.

Send us a sample for analysis and feedback if you are a graduate of the MG RUSH Professional curriculum.

  • Review steps for logical flow—walk through the steps to confirm the desired outputs probably produced.
  • Determine likely meeting participants—identify the most likely participants and identify their level of understanding about the business issues and the method you have drafted for them to develop the information during your agenda steps.
  • Identify any agenda steps that the participants cannot complete—modify or eliminate the steps that your specific participants may not understand, will not value, or are inappropriate for their level of experience.
  • Identify what information is needed to fill the gaps from step number six above, and determine how to get this additional information (eg, off-line)—what information or analysis is required to substitute for the missing information identified in step number six above that your meeting participants cannot provide?
  • Detail the final agenda steps to capture required information for the open issues—build the appropriate activities to produce the information without making the participants perform unnecessary activities (eg, do NOT do team building if they already function together properly).
  • Review—confirm steps number one and two above and then carefully review the detailed activities with stakeholders to confirm that they satisfy the purpose and provide the needed information without over challenging or intimidating your participants.
  • Perform a walk-through, including documentation format or templates, with other business experts, executive sponsor, and project team members.
  • Refine—make any changes identified in the walk-through and begin to build out your annotated agenda as suggested by the MG RUSH curriculum.

Identify the most appropriate participants

  • Identify what knowledge or expertise each needs to bring to the workshop. Determine how much of the agenda the participants understand and can reasonably complete in a group environment. Identify what issues they have—do they need team building or creativity or some management of behavior? Furthermore, identify someone who will provide resistance at the meeting so that you can learn to anticipate challenges that will develop. You may not want to avoid the issues because they need to surface; however, you do not want to be surprised or caught off guard.

 Walk through the steps to see if you can produce the desired results with the proposed participants. Do the steps allow the group to build on prior work without jumping around? Are the steps logical? Will the deliverables be comprehensive?

Also Consider the Following When Building a Meeting Agenda

  • Existing enterprise systems or processes (life cycle)
  • Architecture infrastructure (consider drafting a baseline architectural pattern)
  • Scoping/ phasing (what high-level information supports the deliverable)
  • Consider existing process models, high-level ERD, and actors’ security/ policy


Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)

Want a free 10-minute break timer? Signup for our once-monthly newsletter HERE and receive a timer along with four other of our favorite facilitation tools, free.

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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