Although we were unexpectedly forced by the COVID-19 situation to switch all our workshops to online mode, it does not mean we weren’t prepared for that. It is important to state that online workshops require way more preparation work and facilitation skills than offline ones. Learning best practices from NNGroup, Miro team, InVision team, Mural, Dallas Design Sprints and AJ&Smart, I’ve extracted the essence and clashed them against Netguru’s approach to workshops, as well as our methods and toolset.
Some past experiences, as well as ongoing experiments, lead to the conclusion that despite the lack of a live experience, online workshops can be successful, although ensuring their success requires practice, mastering facilitation, and a solid grasp of methodology.
One benefit from the business point of view is worth mentioning, namely the savings on travel & accommodation and not excluding engaged participants – key workshop stakeholders – from the day to day business.
Online workshops require way more attention to processes than onsite workshops. Also, there’s a pay-off with your consultancy role as well as the creative energy generated by having all the participants in one room.
No one is able to withstand a 3-days-long & 8-hours-long call.
So adjust the agenda to the number of sessions, but don’t disconnect Zoom for the breaks if you’re recording the session. With Google Hangouts, proceed as you like.
Plan reasonable breaks of around 5-10 minutes after each block or stick to the school schedule - 5 minute break after 45 minutes of workshop with a mutually agreed longer lunch-break.
Make sure to do a test run of all of the above after the initial setup.
1 – 2.5 weeks before the workshop for research and preparation
30 – 45 minutes call to check if everything works and introduce the teams – a day before the workshop
4 – 5 hours daily – recommended length of a daily session
5 working days – workshop summary/report or prototype
An online PDS or workshop requires more preparation than an onsite one. The agenda should be adjusted so as not to overload participants with the daily call time.
Good luck 🙌