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How to Plan and Run Productive AND Fun Meetings or Workshops

Facilitate Live/Virtual Group Discussions and JAD Sessions that Find and Analyze Requirements, User Stories, or Features

Classroom Live ILT ONLINE – Duration: 2-5 days (14 PDU/CDU)
Public Schedule

Some of this content is also available in our eCourses, Books, and FREE KnowledgeKnuggets™

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this skill-building experience, you can:

  • Optimize the output of facilitated User Story Workshops, 3-Amigos Conversations, and 1-on-1 requirements interviews
  • Plan, prepare, and perform collaborative meetings with an expanded toolkit of techniques and soft skills
  • Determine the optimal approach, identify ideal participants, and select preferred tools for productive workshops and meetings with well-formulated objectives
  • Define the necessary deliverables or outcomes of the collaborative conversation needed to achieve the meeting objective
  • Achieve the defined objectives of any collaborative conversation based on the organization’s culture, technology, and your leadership style
  • Help participants discover and document features, functions, and requirements for future digital solutions by leveraging brain science
  • Anticipate common challenges associated with face-to-face and virtual meetings
  • Understand the significant role that the conscious and nonconscious minds play in collaborative conversations
  • Mitigate threats to successful collaboration using conflict resolution strategies
  • Maintain the momentum of your collaborative conversations by applying proven facilitation techniques
  • Reduce miscommunication with effective listening techniques which are the key ingredient to productive collaborations

We Tailor the Content to Fit Your Needs

At no cost to you, we can assemble an optimal set of training topics based on your group’s current and desired business analysis skill levels. We can also use our Business Analysis Skills Evaluation (BASE) tool to establish these levels. 

or call 702-596-6160

Target Audience

  • Product Owners
  • Business Analysts
  • Requirements Engineers
  • Business- and Customer-side Team Members
  • Agile Team Members
  • Domain Experts (aka Subject Matter Experts – SME)
  • Project Leaders and Managers
  • Systems Analysts and Designers
  • Quality Assurance Specialists/Testing Teams
    In short, anyone interested in improving their facilitation and communication skills for today’s collaborative business environments.

Course Overview

Requirements Workshops for IT Initiatives

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There are meetings and then there are meetings. Meetings that matter, that make a difference, where people connect and make things happen, productive meetings people enjoy. Those meetings start with a facilitator who understands how to shape the environment and get people engaged.

Effective Communication Soft Skills are Essential Facilitation Tools

You should always be looking for ways to make meetings more productive AND more enjoyable – if they’re an inconvenience that just holds you back from doing productive work, your company is an endangered species. Make sure your workshops, conversations, and meetings are something everyone feels excited and invested in.

Collaboration is the beating heart of a healthy company. Facilitated discussions are opportunities for communicating and collaborating. Collaboration is the essence of productive teams and without effective facilitation, there can be no collaboration.

Having a facilitator on hand should not be your fallback plan. From regular participatory feedback to Agile 3 amigo conversations, effective facilitation can bring out creativity and improve the outcomes.

Team Collaboration Improves Personal and Professional Satisfaction

Studies show that individuals who collaborate are more satisfied with their work, deliver better results, and are more creative. Sounds like a win-win, so what is collaboration and how can you improve your facilitation skills to make it happen?

According to Albert Einstein, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”. We offer guidelines for planning, preparing, conducting, leading, and participating in collaborative meetings and workshops.

Other courses on meeting facilitation focus exclusively on building facilitation and leadership skills. That is no longer enough. Modern software development is a collaborative effort between the business and IT communities. You need to also work on your ability to foster and maintain collaboration to allow all parties to succeed.

This course is based on a combined 70+ years of facilitating productive workshops and meetings. We present how we plan workshops and foster collaboration between the meeting leader and all participants to make meetings more productive and satisfying.

Collaboration and Teamwork are Highly Regarded Competencies

Companies today understand how collaboration unlocks the potential of their employees and adds value to their customers. 69% of top employers list effective communication as a required skill. In the world of digital transformation, communication drives collaboration between the business and those who develop and deliver digital solutions. That is the heart and soul of modern organizations in the 21st century.

About Our Instructors

Detailed Course Outline

I. Facilitated Collaborative Conversations

  • Team Collaboration Is the Seed that Grows Successful Organization
  • Group Facilitation Skills Foster Collaboration
  • Limiting Attendance to Essential Participants Optimized Meeting Cadence
  • All Participants Use Facilitation Skills during Agile Meetings

II. Communication and Collaboration Are the Cornerstones of Effective Gatherings

  • Effective and Successful Business Collaboration for Meetings of Every Size
  • Facilitate Workshops, Requirements Interviews and 3-Amigo Conversations
  • User Story Workshops and 3-Amigo Conversations Need Cross-Functional Collaboration
  • Agile Retrospective Meetings Need Larger Audiences
  • Virtual Collaboration Is More Challenging
  • Scrum and Sprint Planning Meetings Also Need Facilitation

III. Planning and Preparing Promotes Productive Meetings

  • Collaborative Meetings Improve Your Organization’s Performance
  • How to Have Effective Meetings through Facilitation
  • Realistic Meeting Objectives Entice the Right Participants
  • Participant Selection Is a Prerequisite for Optimal Productivity
  • Desired Outcomes and Deliverables Dictate Agenda Format
  • Plan Meetings and Workshops to Meet the Objectives
  • Virtual Meetings Demand New Tools, Techniques, and Templates
  • ips and Tricks for Creating an Agenda at the Right Level of Detail
  • A Team Meeting Agenda Needs to Be Specific
  • Best Practices for Virtual Meeting Scheduling
  • Well-written Meeting Invitations Increase Attendance

IV. Great Facilitators Practice Both Soft Skills and Technical Skills

  • Hard Skills, Soft Skills – What’s What and Why?
  • Teambuilding Is a Fundamental People Skill for Facilitators
  • People Need Help Discovering What They Really Want
  • Why You Need a Conscious and a Nonconscious Mind
  • Decision-Making Is a Soft Skill Facilitators Need to Develop
  • Learning Soft and Hard Skills Requires a Conscious Effort
  • Communication is the Ultimate Soft Skill Everyone Needs
  • Your Nonconscious Mind Contributes to Teamwork
  • Why the Question “Why” Is Provocative for Many
  • Improve Your Professional Soft Skills for Better Business Communication

V. Listening and Speaking Are Critical for Effective Communication in Meetings

  • Facilitators Master Verbal and Non-verbal Communications
  • Learn the Language of the Participants for Effective Communications
  • How You Relay the Message is More Important than What You Say
  • Reading Non-Verbal Communication is a Type of Listening
  • Comprehensive and Effective Listening is an Active Listening Skill
  • Attentive or Informational Listening Identifies Intent and Purpose
  • Allowing Silence to Linger Teaches How to Listen Effectively
  • Confirmation Bias is a Primary Impediment to Engaged Listening
  • How Critical Listening Makes You a Good Listener
  • Written Communication Is Asynchronous Collaboration

VI. How to Run Productive Meetings, Conversations, JAD Sessions, and Workshops

  • To Facilitate a Group Discussion, Start with Small Talk
  • Kick Off Your Meetings with a Fun, Fast, Non-Threatening Icebreaker
  • 4 Techniques that Excel as Team-building Activities
  • An Effective Meeting Builds on Good Time Management
  • Leverage the Difference between Closed and Open-Ended Questions
  • Dealing with Distracting Environments and Participants
  • Conflict Resolution Strategies Deal with Difficult People
  • Virtual Team Collaboration and Online Meeting Best Practices
  • Taking Notes versus Recording a Team Meeting Pros and Cons

VII. Closing a Productive Meeting and Final Steps

  • Consider a Post-Mortem or Lessons Learned Meeting
  • Distribute the Results of the Get-Together to the Appropriate Audience
  • Capitalize on the Meeting Experience After the Fact

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