When one of our clients announced that he hated workshops it was not a surprise. This is a statement we often hear from clients when the word workshop crops up. It’s a catch-all term that is arguably up there with ‘brainstorm’ and ‘low-hanging fruit’. We have all had that moment where we are sat in a meeting that feels like a complete time suck while trying to solve a problem by committee.
However, we do still run workshops. And after much debate, we also still call them workshops! They are the most valuable time we spend with a new client and when run well they are the difference between a project meeting a client’s needs and not. Our workshops are FREE if you go ahead with the project. We also take great pride in getting positive feedback about them, particularly from the very same client that didn’t like workshops:
“Excellent Workshop Day and Planning. The workshop day and report delivered by We Know Data impressed me and my IT steering group and this is from someone who has not had many positive experiences with workshops delivered by other consultants in the past. Using a systematic approach to capturing and reporting the main essence of our project, with clear next steps. I would highly recommend them.”
Stewart – Cerapedics.
You can read more about Stewart’s project here: Cerapedics: Revolutionising data management with a bespoke CRM solution and TypeForm integration using Claris FileMaker Pro.
What is a workshop at We Know Data?
When a client comes to us with a new idea for a project or a problem or sticking point within their business the first thing that we suggest is a workshop. We know that this can sometimes be frustrating. We know you might just want a ballpark cost to secure some budget or feel you are not sure what you need yet.
Here are the reasons why we run a workshop. The output must be black and white.
- To work through your brief with you and your team. We want details to in order to prioritise functionality.
- We want an overview of your organisation to give the most accurate quote possible at this stage.
- We want to know what you do, how you do it, and where you have problems/risks. What does the system need to facilitate?
- We want to meet the key people in your team that “do” the doing. Often this insight is what makes the system the most useful.
- Clear boundaries on both sides for what we can deliver.
What do you get after a workshop with us?
A clear view of whether we’re the right fit for your company! Then, armed with lots of knowledge about your organisation, we write a Workshop Report. This report will articulate where you are now, where you want to be and how we propose you get there. The report includes a proposed budget and a timeline for us all to work against.
Why do some workshops fail and what do we do to avoid the pitfalls?
Lack of agenda
Depending on the client we have a selection of agendas that we follow. We’ve developed these from running workshops for over 10 years. Perhaps you have an old system that needs updating, or you’ve grown fast and things like spreadsheets and tools can’t keep up. We have questions we need to be answered to get started
The wrong casting
We have found the best formula is to bring a technical lead and a delivery lead to a workshop (both of whom will be developers). We find this keeps us on track time-wise but doesn’t hold us up with technical capability questions.
Lack of pre-planning
When you book a workshop you benefit from our pre-planning time too! We have a pre-workshop technical survey that you fill in that allows us to pick the agenda that suits and foresee problems, bring the right people to the meeting, and get the most out of the time. It also means that we save time on the day. You can tell us the key things before we even start!