Project Planning Workshop Facilitation

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Frightened at just the thought of running a workshop?

Relax and let us run your planning workshops for you. That’s what we do.

If you’re new to project leadership and have an important project to plan, there’s nothing worse than knowing that you don’t know what to do. In theory it seems so simple, but in practice planning workshops can be a nightmare. Who to invite? How long it will take? What do you need to get out of it? What if they don’t show up?  What if it doesn’t work?

I understand how you feel and I know that can help you. I invented a formula for facilitating planning workshops that is fast, easy and effective. In one year alone I ran over 30 workshops for a major bank. In just 3 months.

I facilitated workshops for small projects. I facilitated workshops for large projects. I facilitated workshops for programmes and I facilitated workshops for projects of all kinds. In most cases all I needed was five days’ notice, a list of attendees, the backing of my project sponsor and a meeting room large enough to accommodate 12-16 people. That’s all I need to organise and run your planning workshop, leaving you to sit back and relax (and take the credit for making such a smart choice).

Should you book a facilitator for your next project planning workshop?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you know who you would invite to your workshop? Our workshops are practical and hands on, in fact your delegate will do the majority of the planning, working as a team. We usually invite no more than 14 people (12 is recommended) so you have the be very clear about who should be in the room.
  • Do you have your sponsor’s backing for the project? Our work has confirmed that workshops are more successful when they have the explicit backing of the project’s sponsor. They need to ensure that the attendees make time to attend. The best workshops of all are those where the sponsor attends the at the start and explains why the project is important to them. If your sponsor can do this then you’re all set.
  • Do you feel confident running the workshop yourself? If you are new to project management, are new to this particular function / area or struggle to stand up to difficult stakeholders then having someone who can do this for you is an option
  • Would you someone to facilitate your workshop for you? You might have all the experience you need, but just prefer to have someone else run the workshop so that you can spend your time as one of the subject matter experts and building relationships with your stakeholders.
  • Can you give me at least one week’s notice? The more notice you can give me the better but as a minimum I’ll need a week so that I can prepare for your workshop and so that you can organise it.
  • Do you have funding to pay for the workshop from your project budget? You’ll need to cover the cost of the facilitator (including travel and accommodation expenses where necessary), the accommodation (if you’re booking this at an off-site venue) and all refreshments for your delegates. This last point is important: provide food on arrival and refreshments throughout and you will be amazed at how much better people feel.
  • Is your project too small for this approach? Not all projects are right for the Index Card Planning Method. You probably won’t need a facilitated workshop if your projects is expected to last no more than 3 months, if you have a project budget of less than $500k or if your workshop requires fewer than 8 attendees.
  • Can you book a suitable venue for the workshop? Getting a meeting room at short notice is always a problem but our approach requires a room large enough to accommodate 12-16 people, set out in board room format. If you can’t get the venue then you’re better of rescheduling your workshop. We have run workshops in meeting room that were less than ideal (have a look at this gallery of previous workshops) but our advice is that it is better to wait or to book an off-site venue.
  • Would you feel marginalised by having a facilitator run your workshop? Be honest with yourself: if having someone lead the workshop makes you feel that your role as project leader is diminished in some way then this won’t be for you. Instead, why not sign up for our online coaching programme instead and develop the skills to run these yourself.

Here’s what you can expect from using a facilitator

Once we’ve finished your workshop you will feel relieved, relaxed and happy. You will have a clear vision for your project, a detailed plan for its timely delivery and a committed team ready to execute it. All in just four hours. Even better, you will have learnt the formula for organising and running successful planning workshops and have the confidence to run the next session yourself. Not a bad result for half a day’s work!