This is a method for individuals and teams to define the structure, direction and first steps of a project. The individual or team works through a set of questions and documents the answers in a sharable digital format. This can either be a “living” document that develops with the project it can be left as just a clear and concise record of the starting-point.
Define the structure, direction and first steps of a project.
Bring the project group together. Do a short check-in to ensure that everyone is mentally as well as physically present.
Explain that this will be a short workshop with the purpose of creating clear structure and direction for the project ahead. It will be fast and focused. There will be nine questions which we will discuss as a group, capture the answers on paper, then transfer to a digital document to share.
To keep the energy and speed going, it may be useful to stand around a whiteboard/flipchart, rather than sit at a table.
Create a Parking Lot on the wall/table. Explain that this is to support us with focus. We will “park” any points or questions that don’t directly contribute to answering these questions. They can be discussed or answered after the session.
Agree as a group how long you have to spend on this. Divide that time equally between the 8 questions: e.g. if you have 90 minutes, you can spend 11 minutes per question.
As the facilitator your job is to keep the discussion focused and purposeful. You can take the role of scribe and timekeeper. You might also assign these roles to others in the group
Write up (or stick up a printed copy of) the following questions. Address each one in turn for the allotted time.
Purpose: What is the overall purpose of the project? (express this in one sentence)
Desired Outcome: What specific outcomes should be achieved by the end of the project? (aim for 2-4 bullets)
Target Group & Value: Who are you doing the project for? And what value does it provide to those people? (aim for 3 bullets or less)Roles: Who is involved and what are they responsible for? Here are some suggested roles:
- Lead - leading or owning the project
- Wingman - main support for the lead, on a day-to-day basis
- Core - the main group of people working on the project
- Advisory - people the core team can go to for input and feedback
- Decision - leader or manager with the responsibility to approve the project
Milestones & Budget: What needs to happen by when? And how much money do you have? (broken down into bullet points, on a broad level)
How: How will the team work together, how will you communicate, divide tasks, collaborate, approach decision making, etc. (try to define about 5 guidelines with short descriptions for each)
Success / Fiasco Criterias: What do success look like? What does failure look like? (aim for 4-5 bullet point for each one)
Connections: What projects are connected to this one? Are there any other documents or data sources that we need to take into account? (list the connections with hyperlinks to key documents)
When each question has been answered and documented, decide who will take responsibility to compile all of this into a digital document to be shared with the team. Before closing the session give the project lead a chance to clarify any points that need clarifying.
Finish with a check-out, asking each person what their next action is related to this project.
Tips for running this activity online
- Pick an online whiteboard tool that allows you to use a large, zoomable canvas.
- Set up each topic at a different area of the board, spread them out just like you would do it on a the walls of a room
- Invite participants to zoom in and visit each section during the review section of this exercise
- If you’re not using an online whiteboard, we’d recommend using a collaboration tool such as Google Docs to collect the information for each step under a separate heading. Invite everyone into the document to share their images but be very clear in regards to editing rights
- When facilitating group discussion, we’d recommend that participants use non-verbal means to indicate they’d like to speak. You can use tools like Zoom’s nonverbal feedback tools, a reaction emoji, or just have people put their hands up.The facilitator can then invite that person to talk.
Hyper Island Original, credit: Johanna Olsson
Source: Hyper Island toolbox
Hyper Island designs learning experiences that challenge companies and individuals to grow and stay competitive in an increasingly digitized world. With clients such as Google, adidas and IKEA, Hyper Island has been listed by CNN as one of the most innovative schools in the world.