Like many others, our team of system integrator and business process consultants went from road warriors, flying out weekly to run workshops and manage EAM implementations on site – to running high priority workshops from home.
We understand we aren’t alone in determining the best ways to overcome the challenge of virtual work while continuing to serve our customers so they can keep the lights on and the power running for theirs.
Our implementation team is currently running virtual business process workshops with one of our power generation customers.
The current objective of our time together is to develop a deep understanding of and identify improvements within their current Corrective Action Process (CAP) to ultimately enable them to leverage the benefits of IBM Maximo for Nuclear down the road. Ensuring success and productivity of these virtual meetings is critical to the project's impact.
Here are our top takeaways for success in virtual workshops for both the customer and the partner.
- Video is a must
Video is as close as we can get to in person communication with workshops. You may have dogs running in the background, but its critical to see body language from both the speaker and the reciprocator of the message to make sure there is no confusion and ensure the message is being received.
- Create Agenda and Display at the beginning
Creating an agenda is critical to ensuring you cover everything and give the audience a feeling of accomplishment amidst the shorten time. While in person sessions can easily cover 1-1, ad hoc conversations, these are not as likely during a virtual meeting. Displaying the agenda up front helps manage expectations and meeting flow. It also highlights what is on topic and what comments or questions can be re-visited at a different time.
- Facilitator Assistant
Running all aspects of a meeting, especially virtually, can be overwhelming. The main goal is for the message to be received properly. Appoint a facilitator assistant to keep things moving while the facilitator is trying to communicate. Duties of the facilitator assistant may include: sharing the right screen, switching slides, writing down notes and questions, keeping time and reminding the attendees and speaker to stay on topic.
In person workshops are typically all day, with breaks for water, coffee, lunch, etc. Because of the nature of working virtually, meetings should be broken up with breaks as well. Consider an all day workshop broken into two, two hour meeting sessions with break time in between. This gives everyone time to take care of their own needs and give their brain the refresh that it needs.
- Preparation is key
Preparation takes on an all new meaning when working virtually. Mic checks, sound checks, system updates, etc. should all be worked out before the meeting starts to respect the audience’s time and keep their attention. Content related concepts like workflows and process flows should be brainstormed or mapped out ahead of time and shown on the screen for reference.
We’re committed to continue serving our customers during this time, and enabling them to continue in the implementation and optimization of world class EAM programs. What are you learning through virtual meetings and workshops? Let us know in the comments.