Strategic workshops are discussion, planning, and development sessions that aim to define the goals and objectives of the project and the strategy for its execution. During the workshops, participants, such as executives, managers, and stakeholders, usually determine the project's possible challenges, build a shared perspective, and devise a plan to reach their goals. When the project is a digital product such as a website or an app, strategic workshops focus on establishing the target audience and developing a user-centred strategy as well as a project roadmap and implementation plan. They can also help the design team to clarify the project vision and make informed decisions about product design.
Strategic workshops integrate a common view of the project goals and objectives among the key stakeholders. They help determine who has to be involved in the project for it to succeed and who its target users are. Conducting strategic workshops before moving to product design facilitates establishing a user-focused design strategy and key product features and functionalities. It's also crucial in predicting potential issues and risks, reducing the number of unforeseen challenges along the way.
Strategic workshops are also essential for the team working on the project as they can use them to form a project roadmap and a plan to achieve it. It's a time when they can come up with solutions to possible problems and proactively ensure they don't happen instead of just facing them as they go. It eases collaboration and communication on the project as everyone stays informed on the project goals and can later make appropriate, strategic design decisions.
Strategic workshops have to be productive to be considered successful. To accomplish that, you need to outline the workshop's programme in advance and send it to all the people involved. During the meetings, all participants should be active and engaged, meaning they should feel comfortable asking questions, sharing ideas, and giving feedback. If there were any decisions or plans made during the workshops, make sure you follow up on them so they're not left in the air but end up being implemented.
So what should you avoid? For one, don't invite too many people. In this case, it's not the more, the better. Too many participants can create chaos, making it harder for everyone to participate. Another thing you shouldn't do is allow some of the more charismatic members of the workshop to overshadow the rest. There also shouldn't be a sole decision-maker. And the last thing you shouldn't do is forget about the follow-up. If you don't ensure that workshop arrangements are implemented, then the strategic workshops become just another brainstorming session and nothing more.
Strategic workshops are essential when it comes to starting a new project. That's how we begin each collaboration project at Flying Bisons to ensure that we share the product's vision with our partners.