6. Facilitating workshops

 After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Prepare for a workshop
  • Run it with confidence


This is the most critical step – hence the 5Ps.  Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Preparation is getting the background of the scope of work, the politics of the people in the workshop and the gotchas

  • Scope of project from project proposal and scope document
  • Company mission/vision/strategy
  • Objective of workshop from project sponsor or project manager
  • Personal objectives of CEO, project sponsor and project manager
  • Scope & context of workshop
  • Audience – what is their name, role, title
  • What personal conflicts & politics in the group, and where is power
  • Terminology – what will turn them on, turn them off, no-no’s
  • How much understanding & buy-in does the audience have of Buying Cultures, Operational Cultures and processes
  • What is the pain to resolve
  • Where is ROI or win
  • Get Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) signed by 3rd party facilitator
  • What 10 questions / discussion points do NOT want to come up (and how will you deal with them)


  • Introductions – go around the room
  • Introduce session – why they are there, pain, …
  • Objectives of the session – working meeting to get a result
  • Benefits of session –
    • defines company operational strategy
    • sets context for specific projects
    • sets priorities for improvement projects
    • kick start projects
    • identifies project sponsors and demonstrates support
  • Show ‘finished product’ – so they know what they are aiming at (include showing them the attachments and measures
  • Strategic objectives on white board (tangible – with measures)
  • Mapping from end point back
  • Identify process owners
  • Identify priority processes for initial projects
  • Next steps


  • Important thing is get interaction and momentum – get them talking/arguing
  • Start with blank sheet
  • Start at back end of process “bill and collect payment” because it is easy, non-contentious and it gets the ball rolling
  • Then move forward “what allows you to create the invoice”
  • Don’t worry about inputs and outputs initially, but as the debate grows between audience about the context and scope of each activity use the input and output to define.
  • Use the notes bubbles to document what the lower level activities are (if and when they get talked about) – try to avoid drilling down as it distracts from the top level
  • To get them to focus on activities use “I have just joined your organisation as a XXXX, and I need to XXX.  How do I know what to do next? How do I know when I’ve finished”
  • If they cant agree, move to a whiteboard to sketch a flow of processes, then go back and map


  • Can’t agree on certain activities
    • revert to white board
    • try to define inputs & outputs
    • look to CEO/sponsor to resolve
  • Don’t have the correct people in the room
  • check if workshop results will be considered ‘agreed’
    • look to CEO/sponsor to resolve
  • People focus on departments or reporting lines not processes
    • Ask the ‘I do XXXX, how can I understand what to do?’ questions
  • IT-focused people describe in systems (automated process) terms rather than the complete process
    • Ask the ‘I do XXXX, how can I understand what to do?’ questions


Watch the 30 min webinar 

Next phase of lifecycle: BUILD