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This Facilitation Reference Guide supports an IT project workshop. It begins with management perspective and understanding what needs to be delivered to be called a success. Some call this, “knowing what DONE looks like.”

Facilitation Reference Guide — Preparation Phase

Facilitation Reference Guide Supporting an IT Project Workshop

Facilitation Reference Guide for an IT Project Workshop

  • First and foremost, articulate and codify the deliverables.
  • Next understand the organizational holarchy and the impact of failure. Hence, the value of the initiative, project, or meeting should be stipulated by the amount of money and wasted FTE at risk if the project fails.
  • Listen, listen, listen. Therefore, speak with the project team, the business community, the sponsors, and the customers to ensure clarity and alignment. Come to understand the political risks and potential personality issues associated with an IT project workshop.
  • Conduct a quantitative, MG RUSH risk assessment. Remember, if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it.
  • When considering multiple IT project workshops or multiple days, build an IT project workshop plan for the series of meetings required.
  • Emphasize roles, and the equality of all meeting participants. Have them leave their titles in the hallway before entering the meeting room. Assign the role of observer to people you cannot keep out.
  • Build your approach (ie, agenda) for each session based on discrete deliverables.

Facilitation Reference Guide — Workshop Phase

Hence, as you prepare for your meetings and workshops:

  • Take the basic approach for each session identified above and expand into the detailed questions you need answers to and the activities you will lead to get them.
  • Create an annotated agenda including review material, ground rules, and appropriate audio-visual support.
  • Default to the two primary activities when necessary:
    • Brainstorming:
      • List (ideate, diverge, create undiscussed input)
      • Analyze (eg, if prioritizing, what tool, what questions, etc.)
      • Document (converge, decide, agree on final output)
    • Process Sequence
      • Build consensus around the purpose of the process.
      • Clarify each supporting activity (preferably in verb-noun format).
      • Clarify information (input) needed to support each activity.
      • Detail the transaction including supporting calculations or algorithms.
      • Describe the environmental conditions and policy impact.
      • Confirm what changes and fully define the new outputs.

Facilitation Reference Guide — Review and Resolution Phase

Finally, provide a smooth segue from the meeting deliverable to use by the project team:

  • Distribute clear and valid documentation from the meeting.
  • Follow-up personally with the project team to de-brief the findings.
  • Obtain any calibration of meeting notes from meeting participants.
  • Submit evaluation report of meeting or workshop effort, including benefits and concerns from your own performance as session leader.

Follow this structured reference guide and you are ensured a higher level of both meeting and project success than if you sit around a meeting room and have a discussion.

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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.)

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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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