We are only at the end of Step 6 out of 8. However, the workshop is only scheduled for around 8 hours, and you will probably run out near the end of Step 6. If you are not nearly through Step 6, you will need to schedule more time with all of the participants as soon as possible; helpfully only an hour or two. If you are nearly through Step 6, leave yourself enough time before the official end of the second day to talk about what’s next.
It’s not impossible to get all the way through the prioritization exercise in the two-day workshop, but it’s difficult.
For the moderator
Try to save at least 30 minutes at the end of day 2 of your workshop to
- summarize what you’ve accomplished
- describe next steps,
- do a quick test-prioritization of the candidates you’ve identified.
Summarize what you’ve accomplished and congratulate the participants for work well done!
Your participants have given you a lot of time, and they’ve had to pay attention and participating. At the end of the workshop, they should vibe invigorated and excited about the process, but they will also be exhausted. They need to know that you appreciate all the work and time they gave you, and that you will not let all this work be for nothing.
Describe next steps
Make it crystal clear that you have set a timeline for yourself and any colleagues who are working with you on the Alignment Personas project for the next few weeks:
- Finalize the business goals
- Clean up and share all the materials from the workshop
- Create ‘clean’ drafts of the candidate personas
- Create an action plan to get from candidate personas
- Set additional meetings to:
- Create a persona validation plan (for any participants who are interested)
- Iterate the candidate personas and distribute them for feedback and additional iteration
- Drive to a proposed set of completed Alignment Personas
- Set a meeting to review the proposed set of Alignment Persons and conduct a prioritization meeting
- Introduce the prioritized personas to the larger team or organization (or even company)
Present methods for using the personas for decision making, brainstorming, designing, developing, and testing the product.
Do a quick test-prioritization of the candidates
The entire Alignment Persona process is about getting assumptions and embedded knowledge out into the open, creating a new shared language that’s focused on user goals, and aligning everything around clear business goals.
Before your participants leave, show them how prioritization will work (see step 8: Prioritize the Personas). If there’s time, do a mock-prioritization exercise as a group.
After the workshop ends
There will always be some work to do on the business goals. Set a time frame for getting the goals to a complete state, which means:
- 3-5 business goals, each with numbers and time frames attached to them, in priority order
- Goals are officially signed off by a senior stakeholder, preferably a member of the executive team
- You have talked to the teams responsible for brand and / or marketing to identify key brand goals
- You have identified customer experience goals (if possible)
- You have shared the goals with all of the participants and given them time to respond, ask for clarifications, etc.
This may be harder than you think. Business goals are hard to create and to pin down. Time-box this work (I give it two weeks) and let the powers-that-be know that you need to nail down measurable business goals for the project in this timeframe to meet deadlines.
If you can’t get help, then you have to draft the business goals. Keep a paper trail, and ask often for clarifications from any senior stakeholders you can. Post the assumed goals somewhere very visible and talk about them often in front of senior stakeholders. Let them know that all of your work will focus on meeting those goals, and that if you are headed in the wrong direction to please let you and the team know as soon as possible.
Be persistent, but be careful. Creating and communicating around business goals is about as politically-charged as it gets in any organization.
Share the deliverables
Create a shared directory with all of the workshop materials so that participants can review. As you update materials, makes sure you update all of the workshop participants.
Set dates for follow-up meetings
It’s hard to get everyone together, and you need deadlines to push you to complete your work. Get follow-up meetings, usually 90-120 minutes, on the calendar for the following weeks.