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Purpose is to develop the basis for a successful meeting or workshop in four easy steps. 

This preparation codifies the program purpose, project scope, session (ie, meeting or workshop) deliverables, and potential participants.

How to Develop the Basis for a Successful Meeting or Workshop in Four Easy Steps

Develop the Basis for a Successful Meeting in Four Easy Steps


Do the following:

  1. Write down your deliverable and strive to Get Examples! Deliverables illustrate the required documentation and needed information. What are we producing? Show participants examples if available. Compare with the enterprise strategic plan to help reconcile tradeoffs in the decision-making process.
  2. Quantify impact from the meeting on the program and articulate the project 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.
  3. Identify and compose the steps that enable you to organize the known information, identify the missing information, and produce the deliverables identified previously. Rely on your organization’s methodology or life cycle. The best sources for your draft method are (in order of preference):
    • Proprietary or in-house life cycle
    • Team charter, prior work, or FAST cookbook agendas
    • Experience—look at past successful workshops (or CoP; ie, community of practice), ask, “What questions need to be answered to satisfy the purpose of the workshop?” Consider the Single-Question tool approach.
    • Talk to the project manager, technical partner (ie, the methodologist), or other organizational experts.
    • Go to a library or bookstore but do NOT rely on Google®.


For Lean or Agile also consider

– Existing enterprise systems or processes (life cycle)

– Architecture infrastructure (consider drafting a baseline architectural pattern)

– Scoping/ phasing (what high level information is known)

– Consider existing process models, high level ERD, and actors’ security/ policy

  1. 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? Find 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?

NOTE: Identify the known information at the start of the proposed workshop. Because some information was probably built before this workshop. It may be output from prior workshops. It may be planning or scope documents. Therefore, this information should only be reviewed and not built from scratch, if acceptable.


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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