Wednesday Dec 05, 2012

The Workshop Technique Handbook

The #OUM method pack contains a plethora of information, but if you browse through the activities and tasks contained in OUM, you will see very few references to workshops.  Consequently, I am often asked whether OUM supports a workshop-type approach. 

In general, OUM does not prescribe the manner in which tasks should be conducted, as many factors such as culture, availability of resources, potential travel cost of attendees, can influence whether a workshop is appropriate in a given situation.  Although workshops are not typically called out in OUM, OUM encourages the project manager to group the OUM tasks in a way that makes sense for the project.

OUM considers a workshop to be a technique that can be applied to any OUM task or group of tasks.  If a workshop is conducted, it is important to identify the OUM tasks that are executed during the workshop.  For example, a “Requirements Gathering Workshop” is quite likely to Gathering Business Requirements, Gathering Solution Requirements and perhaps Specifying Key Structure Definitions.

Not only is a workshop approach to conducting the OUM tasks perfectly acceptable, OUM provides in-depth guidance on how to maximize the value of your workshops.  I strongly encourage you to read the “Workshop Techniques Handbook” included in the OUM Manage Focus Area under Method Resources.

The Workshop Techniques Handbook provides valuable information on a variety of workshop approaches and discusses the circumstances in which each type of workshop is most affective.  Furthermore, it provides detailed information on how to structure a workshops and tips on facilitating the workshop. You will find guidance on some popular workshop techniques such as brainstorming, setting objectives, prioritizing and other more specialized techniques such as Value Chain Analysis, SWOT analysis, the Delphi Technique and much more.

Workshops can and should be applied to any type of OUM project, whether that project falls within the Envision, Manage or Implementation focus areas.  If you typically employ workshops to gather information, walk through a business process, develop a roadmap or validate your understanding with the client, by all means continue utilizing them to conduct the OUM tasks during your project, but first take the time to review the Workshop Techniques Handbook to refresh your knowledge and hone your skills. 

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