Scheduling can be the biggest challenge.
The first step is to get some meetings on the calendar. I recommend that you schedule two, four-hour meetings on consecutive mornings. It seems like a lot of time, but remember that you are going to cover a lot of ground during the workshops, and the time you spend on your alignment persona creation will save you exponentially more time than the process itself costs.
I recommend mornings because your participants will be fresh; we find that afternoon sessions are less productive. You can try to do the entire workshop in one day, but I don’t recommend it. It’s exhausting for everyone involved.
- Best case scenario: 2, 4-hour mornings on consecutive days.
- Compromise options: spread the sessions out if you have to, but really try to get at least 3 hours per session and have them in the morning.
- Doing the workshops in the afternoon. Your participants will be much fresher in the morning.
- Doing the whole workshop in one day. It’s simply way too exhausting for you and for the participants. Plus, you’ll need the afternoon after the first session to process the results and do some thinking about next steps.
Space & Supplies
Book a big room. Try to find a room that can easily fit at least double the number of people you intend to include in the workshop. This way you know you’ll have plenty of room for everyone to move all the chairs out of the way and work around the table comfortably. Make sure there is a projector in the room.
Workshops are much easier if you can leave your materials in the room between workshop sessions. Try to find a room where you can leave in-process materials (like whiteboards full of notes and easel sheets with lots of sticky notes on them) in between your meetings.
If you have the budget, get some food or snacks for everyone to share. This isn’t required, but it’s always appreciated. Make the persona creation process feel fun—because it should be!
- At least one pad of easel-sized paper. If you get the non-sticky type, make sure you have some masking tape on hand in case you want to hang the sheets on the wall.
- 3” X 3” sticky notes.
- Yellow sticky notes: at least one pad per participant
- Pink sticky notes: 3-5 pads total.
- Note! Avoid sticky note pads designed for dispensers. These unfold accordion-style and are a pain during workshops.
- Black felt tip pens, one per participant (Sharpies smell too strongly and black ballpoint pens create stickies that aren’t as easy to read during the sorting process).
- Whiteboard markers and erasers
- A projector
Recommended product links:
Do not buy or use ‘pop up’ or ‘dispenser’ sticky notes. The sticky sides alternate from top to bottom, and this causes unnecessary problems during your sticky note workshop steps.