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Workshops – why are they very important?
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Starting a new project involves many activities. Definitely, the best way to start any project is to proceed in accordance with the following steps: make a plan, prepare the budget and start the work. However, the complex environment of the IT industry repeatedly proves that it is not that simple. The practiced solution is to first evaluate what the client wants, then analyze what we can provide to the client, and then go by baby steps with each phase and part of the project. Therefore, the so-called workshops are a very popular solution in the IT industry. Thanks to them, it is possible to determine on an ongoing basis what the project should look like, what it should contain, and what goals should be set. Properly conducted and respectively organized workshops can be extremely beneficial for both clients and service providers.
This article will cover the following topics:
- What are the workshops?
- Why is it so important?
- What are the possible benefits of workshops?
- Are there any other ways to kick-off the project?
What are the workshops?
The first question we have to answer is what exactly workshops are? In a nutshell, workshops are scoping or ideation sessions where all the parties discuss the details of the vision and project. Workshops are therefore perfect in situations when the requirements from the client are on the general level, and the company does not have the capability to define the product backlog precisely. What is more, properly prepared and implemented workshops are also a great starting point of the project! It is always a good idea to let all people dive deeply into the details of the case. A better understanding of the objectives at the very beginning of the project brings significant benefits during its lifetime. Also, the proper product vision can be developed during such workshops. The scoping session during the workshop and its outcomes help to prepare an explicit plan. The result is, that it can speed up work on the project and minimize the risk of unnecessary misunderstandings.
Why is it important?
We already know what workshops are, but why is the implementation of the workshops at the beginning of the project so important? It is because a project scoping workshop is not only the method to create requirements for the project! Workshops are also a suitable way to start the project with all other parties. Developers, stakeholders, designers, as well as the client, can work together. This gives the great opportunity to exchange views between those groups and allows all the members to align with the vision and objectives for the project. Furthermore, the scoping, workshop session is also a great starting point for every startup! It is certainly a reasonable approach to determine the startup feasibility and any other details without wasting budget on many trials and errors that can occur during the project. Also, from a business point of view, such meetings are needed, because we can properly estimate the budget and consult it with the client
By implementing the workshops at the beginning of the project you will be able to:
- Get to know each other. A properly conducted workshop gives both you and your client a chance to test the relationship with respect to how well you will work together. Certainly, it is not desirable to wait until the advanced stage of the project to find out there are major personality conflicts that can threaten the whole project!
- Prioritize. Workshops can be very useful in the terms of identifying the project’s priorities. During these sessions, you will be able to gather all the information you need to start the project. That information will also help you to create a report that includes a project roadmap, timing, and cost of the project.
- Understand the goal. Such sessions will also help you to understand what exactly you are trying to achieve with the project. The question is often repeated – what problem are you attempting to solve? Workshops will allow us to answer such questions! Also, the workshop gives you a chance to explain your goals and even create a project scope statement so that it is possible to get all the members on the same page.
- Brainstorm. There are usually several possible ways to approach a project and during the workshops, you are able to present them to the client As it’s rare for a development idea to follow a single straight line, such brainstorming can be very beneficial to the fate of the entire project. Also, it is a great chance for clients to ask any questions or raise possible doubts.
What are the benefits?
It is also very important to list possible benefits that you will receive by implementing the workshops at the beginning of the project:
- All business members are on the same page.
The workshop is not only the method to create requirements for the project, but it is also a great way to kick-off the project with all the parties. You will be able to talk with clients, developers, project managers, and other stakeholders. Thanks to this it is possible to establish a specific and actual plan, and allow all of the members to align with the project vision.
- The project has established roles and responsibilities.
During the workshops, it is possible to identify key roles along with the responsibilities of all team members. Such action will ensure efficient work during the whole project and even better communication between all the parties! Thanks to this, many unnecessary problems can be avoided.
- The budget is predictable.
The scoping, workshop session is the best method to determine the cost and delivery time estimation. During the workshop, you are able to consult with the client, the ways and details of the delivery of the stages of the project, specific prices as well as other details that should be taken into account at the very beginning. By doing this you will be able to avoid any misunderstandings, that can delay work or cause unnecessary trouble.
- The development of the project is defined.
This point is directly related to the previous ones, and by implementing the workshops you will be able to define what should be created and how it should be delivered. It is a perfect moment to create the right strategy for the project, minimize further risks, and make the budget predictable. A clear roadmap and direction for development will make the project possible!
Are there any alternative solutions?
Apart from workshops, there are also alternative methods that enable proper preparation to start a project. Therefore, if you are not interested in workshops, you can choose a different solution. Such a solution is a Design Sprint. We have discussed this topic thoroughly in our other article, however, it is worth mentioning briefly this methodology again. Design Sprint is a methodology that was developed by Google and it allows to solve problems through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with the users. The whole Design Sprint is a 5-day process that is designed to compress the months of work in just one week! Each day of the Design Sprint is another step of this process that gives the necessary answers about the product and the business itself. If you are interested more in this methodology be sure to read our article.
To summarizing, the workshops are certainly a useful methodology that will allow us to save a lot of time on negotiating with the client. Due to the numerous benefits from the implementation of workshops, everyone should consider such a choice before starting a project. It will certainly be a good business solution and a positive choice from the client’s perspective.
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