How to run a workshop with remote participants
With all the current situations of everyone working from home, I have been getting a lot of requests for running workshops remotely. So I want to offer some tips and guidance on running remote workshops.
Creating a Challenge brief:
This document captures all the information required to plan his workshop. We need to understand what the challenge is we are trying to solve? Who are the impacted people? Who are the stakeholders and approvers of this project? For example, if the workshop’s aim is to enroll new data policy within an organization, it’s very important to understand what is the underlying problem with the current policy or without one, who is the target audience for this policy and who are the actors involved in creating this policy. This helps us to decide who do we need in the workshop and how to we set the stage for the audience.
The next step is the agenda. Any typical Agenda for the workshop is usually 1-5 days and this depends on the type of workshop; a single day workshop on policy discussion or a 5-day workshop running product sprint. So, what is going to change drastically for a remote workshop? Its time! Time is a scarce commodity when running remotely. Let’s accept the fact no matter how engaging the workshop is it is difficult to engage people for long hours sitting in front of their PC. Cut short the workshop to 3hours per day. Leave those break-out sessions like homework for the teams on the following day.
Talking about the limited time from our Agenda, pre-work plays an important role in making this workshop a successful one. Prework involves activities like,
Setting up boards
Start with your agenda as a reference. Make sure you create a board space for each item on your agenda. For example, if you have an ice breaker as your first activity. Create a board to do an Icebreaker session, clearly mark the instructions and how long each activity will take. For example, if my icebreaker is the one below. My board preparation as follows.
During the workshop
Time management is key. Brief the participants of the agenda. Move from board to board for each activity. Use a timer displayed on the screen so everyone is aware of it.Participants tend to get confused every time a new activity begins so make sure you guide them with examples. Encourage them to ping you in the chat window if individuals need support.Feedback is a critical piece of running these workshops. Make sure you get feedback from participants end of each day so that you can address any issues or concerns at the earliest.
Example of boards below:
Example of an Agenda
Example of a board set up for team contribution. The avatars of the team are shown on the left. All their sketches and contributions are posted on a single board.
Example of a board set up for Individual contribution. Each member asked to pick an avatar and use one of the blank column space to add their entries. Manual dot stickers also used here to vote for features.