How to run your workshops successfully even during the Corona pandemic

These are really challenging times we are experiencing with the Corona pandemic. For us humans, for our health and for the economy. It seems to be an existential question how we can deal with this new challenge in the current situation until the indefinite future.

What can be done so that everyday business life can also gradually find its way back and deliver the performance that helps to determine our quality of life? In the midst of the age of digitalisation, communication and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Slack, Zoom and many others are already widely used and in some cases very successful. If not, then at the latest since the day the Corona pandemic took over all our lives. But how do I conduct successful workshops?

YOUNITY has already been fully digitalised for several years and uses solution-oriented microservices internally as well as in cooperation with its customers, which are automated and efficiently designed. We have always pointed out the importance of physical workshops to our clients. Especially in the age of digitalisation, it is very important and purposeful when people can look each other in the eye and discuss, express themselves with Post-It’s, paper, pens, whiteboards, etc., analyse a problem standing up and express their opinion with gesticulations. Rarely is there a more efficient way of working than a well-facilitated workshop with committed participants that creates isolated space and time for a specific problem or business case.

The digitisation of workshops is an acute problem

But what now in the current situation? A face-to-face meeting is out of the question for an indefinite period of time. But precisely because of the economic situation, it is imperative that the projects that contribute to digitalisation be carried out or completed. Workshops are needed for this. Processes, objects and systems should be brought into line and, if necessary, user stories and user journeys should be created. So we must soberly conclude that the impossibility of conducting workshops is an acute problem that must be remedied – as quickly as possible.

Our approach

YOUNITY would like to show you here how we have solved the problem, so that we can give you ideas and approaches on how you can bring workshops back to life in your environment. After intensive research, we evaluated the tool Miro for remote workshops, which we are now successfully using to work with large teams and clients. Below are some of the key features that convinced us that Miro is probably one of the best whiteboarding solutions on the market today:

  • Extremely simple and intuitive operation. No button too many or too few. Everything appears tidy, logically arranged and can be learnt even by new users in a very short time and without outside help. This is essential for workshops, because the technology used must not be a “mood killer” or “demotivator”. Everything must be quick and easy to use for all stakeholders.
  • Always see and experience what others are doing. On a whiteboard, countless users can work simultaneously and you can always see where someone is and what they are doing – in real time. The mouse pointer of another user can be found at any time and reveals their every move. Of course, this can also be hidden if necessary.
  • Integrated Text-, Audio- und Video-Chat. This means that no other tool is needed to fully collaborate and communicate. Setting up and participating in a video call is so unbelievably easy that it sometimes even puts specialised tools for this purpose in the shade. This integration is completely convincing.
  • Shared Moderation-Screen. A facilitator can share his or her screen and users can follow voluntarily. However, this does not simply share the screen, but the user now automatically follows the arrow and the actions of the moderator on the whiteboard. The user can always leave or rejoin this mode at will.
  • Simple but effective tools. The tools available for drawing, painting, schematising, writing, annotating, etc. are all self-explanatory, very easy to customise and do what they are supposed to. In addition, there are also countless templates that help to create a specific object or model, such as a model canvas, customer journey, mind mapping, etc., in “no-time”.
  • Communication and assignment to users. Some objects, such as cards or comments, can be assigned to specific users. Users can then see where they have been mentioned.
  • Advanced note functions. There is always access to integrated to-do lists, meeting agendas, project summaries, workshop notes and board annotations, which can be made available or even shown in presentation mode.
  • Zoom, zoom, zoom. A seemingly endless zooming in or out. It feels so “smooth” that it is simply fun. No delays and no problems with “freedom of movement”.
  • Creating Frames. These frames define an area so that it can be visually delimited. They are also a way of defining a sector in which integration takes place.
  • Endless Integrations. There are countless micro-services and systems that can be integrated. Either with Miro’s build-in interfaces or using Zapier. In this way, a wide variety of automations can be configured within the tool or in collaboration with other tools, so that the work in the workshop can be individualised and made even more efficient. Those who are used to working with “clickable” interface tools will enjoy this.
  • Any Device, anywhere. Windows, Mac, browser, native app, iPad, etc. The tool works on all devices and even works with the Pencil on the iPad.

There are countless other features that convinced us that Miro was the best choice for our project. YOUNITY uses this solution in business analysis and requirements engineering with its customers.

Below is an example of how Miro can be used in an integrative way:

We are convinced that Miro offers all the basics to be able to continue to conduct goal-oriented workshops without compromising their quality.

SIf you need help with the realisation or automation of digitalised workshops, just get in touch with us. We are always here to help you collaborate creatively and productively with your team in these challenging times.

Image: Burst, Pexels

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