What You’ll Need for your First Index Card Planning Workshop

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So you’ve decide to hold an Index Card Planning Workshop.  You’ve made a wise choice – a collaborative planning workshop using Index Cards is fast, it’s fun and it delivers incredible results. Here are some of the key things that you’ll need in order to run your workshop.

Lots of Index Cards!

The bad news is that you’ll need stacks of these for each workshop that you run.  The good news is that many of them are pre-printed and re-usable!

You should have enough spares that you won’t get caught short at a workshop; about 1,200 cards should do the trick.  I keep 400 Green cards and 400 White, 150 of Yellow, 150 Red and 100 Blue.

If time allows try to get a set of white cards pre-printed with the details of all work products that you use in your project methodology.  Print the name of the work product on one side in a large font.  Put the description of the work product, including the role that normally produces it.  That way you can save the time spent writing and ensure that everyone learns the project methodology as part of the project planning

Flip Chart Paper

You’ll need about half a pad for each workshop. I usually create the agenda in advance, plus a sheet that explains how to create the plan, step by step.  The rest are for capturing results as you go.

Remember to download your free workbook / checklist to help you set up and run your workshop.


You won’t get very far without this.  I carry a few fresh packs for each workshop.  Nothing is worse than trying to re-use old, crusty bits of Blu-Tack picked off a wall because you forgot to pack some yourself.  I even have this as a step on my Resource Kit checklist; why not download your copy so that you won’t forget anything.

Marker Pens

You will need a whole bunch of these, both for writing on the flip chart paper and for writing on the Index Cards themselves.  I pack two types: a couple of boxes of chisel-tipped permanent markers for the Index Cards and big permanent marker pens for the flip chart paper.  And yes, I don’t rely on the pens that are supplied by the venue; they have probably been used over and over, so you never know when they will run out.  Don’t expect to get all of your chisel-tipped pens back, but don’t worry about it.

Name Badges and Name Plates

I always ask people to sign in not only on a sheet of flipchart paper, but also on a nameplate that includes the department that they work in.  That way people know where they are from and start to associate a name with a face.  Later on, when everyone is working on the plan the name tags are important so that everyone knows who they are talking to.  It also helps me as the facilitator because I’d find it difficult to remember everyone’s names, especially if they start moving around the room!