Feb 13, 2020

Workshops can be more efficient than meetings

Avoid endless discussion and get things done with workshops

Say, your team gets a new project with a challenge to “Design better wayfinding for hospital X”. Things are very abstract and everyone has different opinions. At this point, meetings most likely will be less effective because you’ll need hours of discussion to get alignment.

The biggest contrast between meetings and workshops is the discussion structure. Meetings require a linear discussion; which means, one person talks, then the other person talks, and so on. Workshops, on the other hand, will be much effective because it allows parallel discussion.

Benefits of workshops

Parallel discussion

Give everyone post-it and sharpie. Everyone can start writing their opinions or ideas, at the same time. You’ll get very diverse ideas for less than 5 minutes, that otherwise will take more than 30 minutes to discuss all of them in a meeting.

Everyone has an equal voice

No matter what your title or position in the company, the workshop equalizes the voice level because everyone’s voices represented in the post-it. It’s a great way to avoid the loudest voice in the room to win. Also, give a voice to the silent one.

Collaborative and real-time alignment

Workshops allow everyone to contribute their perspective; questions, ideas, or insights. Imagine, if a designer in your team explores ideas for 2 days alone. Chances are, the exploration can’t be very diverse. Then, your team will hold a meeting to review the designer’s work just to find out the work is not aligned with the product vision.

What if, instead, everyone in the team spends 2 hours doing a brainstorming session? Not only the idea become more diverse. It also allows real-time alignment because everyone agrees and makes a decision together. As a result, your project can move forward faster.

Guided conversation

Unlike meetings, in workshops, there is a formal facilitator to facilitate the activity. Needless to say, this is beneficial because there’s somebody who really manages the discussion, helps the team understand the agenda, and move the team along until producing the expected output.

Feedback from real people

Last month, In Bukalapak, we started to encourage people to consider workshop format instead of meetings. Here are a few words from people who tried the workshop format:

“I love we have a rich perspective to solve one big challenge together.” Product Manager

“From this activity, I started to understand what concerns that PM and Designer have. It gives me an opportunity to help and contribute more.” Data Scientist

“I wouldn’t imagine if we can come up with all of these ideas. I’m excited to keep doing this in next projects” Researcher

Closing note

Challenge: Workshops require a facilitator Althought workshops can be useful, it has a specific challenge too. It requires someone to facilitate the conversation and have some level of proficiency in a few methods to direct the project. It’s also important that the facilitator come prepared with the agenda to make sure the workshop is effective and achieve the goal. That being said, the workshop can be efficient but it centered on how well the facilitator manages the workshop.

Nothing wrong with meetings There’s nothing wrong with meetings. Meetings can be a good format when you need to report, monitor the project, or do some work review. But, for some instances when your team needs to make a decision and get things done, the workshop can be a better alternative.

The last thing you want is to sit down for 1-2 hours and end up with nothing other than debates or endless discussion. Share this with your team and start trying 30 minutes or a 1-hour workshop to get things done.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to have an efficient way to collaborate through the workshop?

2020

2019

2018

2020

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What if you need to find another job tomorrow?

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Making sense of your design project by writing

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Entering product design – Chapter 6: Narrow collaborator

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Entering product design – Chapter 5: Soloist product designers

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Entering product design – Chapter 4: Product designer key skill areas

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Entering product design – Chapter 3: Misunderstanding of business

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Entering product design – Chapter 2: Principles over steps

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Entering product design – Chapter 1: Silver bullet

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Entering product design – Overview

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SAR: A framework for concise storytelling

Aug 27

Start your design with outcome

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New medium post: Collaboration ground for design systems

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Action points

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Pulse check: Listen to your team

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Design systems' area of influence: Offering (2/3)

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Design systems' area of influence: Identity (1/3)

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Specificity in feedback

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The framing trap

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Everyone vs. Specific

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The blind horse designer

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May 31

The “Coach sheet” – A paper-based system for people management

May 26

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Feb 13

Workshops can be more efficient than meetings

Feb 07

3 questions designers should be asking

Feb 06

Walking 1on1: A refreshing way to connect

2019

Nov 21

My hope for stubborn 'Innovators'

Jul 18

Five simple actions to help you gain more time

Apr 23

Evolving Product Experience Principles at Bukalapak

Mar 09

A framework to give better design feedback: Analyze, Discuss, Suggest

Jan 28

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2018

Dec 04

Essential skills for Product Designers

Nov 16

Quick life update

Nov 06

Things I learned from working at Shopify

Oct 15

About design critique

Sep 17

Common icon design problems you should avoid

Sep 06

Preface: Welcome to yellowstroke.com