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Blog Post

Why Workshopping is the Missing Piece of your Project Plan

December 7th, 2018

Clients often come to us VERY ready to begin overhauling an antiquated website or platform that is holding their business back. Their technology has become a daily reminder of what they are not able to accomplish — and so they want it fixed. Yesterday.

We completely understand this scenario, but in today’s world, most organizations and businesses have digital ecosystems instead of a singular piece of technology. That ecosystem is comprised of multiple platforms (e.g., public website, member portal, association management, event management, email/marketing engagement, e-commerce, microsites), multiple user types (e.g., staff, customers, members, donors) and a multitude of business/process/website flows that have likely grown and evolved over time.

If your digital platforms feel like a messy maze of clunky technology, you’re not alone. But when you are ready to overhaul one, you have to consider how that piece of technology interacts with everything else in your ecosystem. Tackling a project any other way represents a huge risk (when it comes to your time and money) and typically leads to the “we should have thought about this before” moment in the project lifecycle.

Meet the Workshop.

One day. Diverse perspectives. Aligned vision. Success defined.

You’d be amazed how many topics we can cover in one day when we have the right minds in the room. That’s why we invite representatives of ALL departments who have a stake in the platform(s). Each perspective matters and we make sure everyone speaks up throughout the day.

Topics we cover often include:

  • The mission or value proposition of the organization or business, and how that differentiates you from others in your space
  • The background for the particular piece of technology in question (When was it built? Using what languages/technologies? Who maintains it? What common issues do you experience?)
  • How the technology impacts the organization/business (everything from financials to staffing/training to customer service)
  • Organizational goals as they relate to this piece of technology (and if/how that varies by department)
  • What will make this piece of technology successful (and if/how that varies by department)

The comprehensive download of information is critical for our team — but it is often equally, if not more, valuable for the internal stakeholders in the room. Spending the day together, hearing coworker’s perspectives, and agreeing upon success factors paves the way for a smooth, coordinated feedback cycle moving forward.

Know Your Limitations.

It’s always fun to blue sky a project plan in a proposal, but we all know that’s rarely realistic. Businesses of all sizes have limitations driven by budget, brand, other technology platforms, staff capacity, etc. Our workshops dig into critical issues and realities that will impact the project we are aiming to do — so that we’re working in the real world from our first conversation with you all the way through a project launch.

For instance, if we are overhauling the interface of an existing platform, we would be very intentional about including the developers responsible for the platform to understand the technological foundation, the development cycles they prefer to work in, what areas of expertise they have on their team, and any gaps we could help to full. We are all about smooth handoffs — and ensuring that starts as early as a workshop.

Involve users in a meaningful way.

Finally, the workshop allows us to talk about the importance of involving users in your project lifecycle — and strategize the best method(s) to gather their feedback (eg user interviews, focus groups, surveys, user testing). Additionally, the workshop findings provides the broad understanding needed to ensure our user research methods are valid and appropriate for your user base. We ask the right questions to the right people — so that every minute with your users is well spent, allowing insights to lead to action.

In Summary.

How many times have you been in the middle — or at the end of a project — and felt concerned that the end product is not aligning with the vision you had before the project started? Workshops are a small monetary investment with big peace-of-mind benefits. Talk to us today — we'd love to help you workshop your next big idea.

Let's get your workshop scheduled.

Contact LookThink today.