Intro to Workshops
What is a workshop?
A workshop is a collaborative virtual workspace where a facilitator leads participants to brainstorm and make decisions together. An Excelway workshop can be used for team meetings, trainings and workshops, as well as large virtual events. The facilitator can use a broad range of tools such as digital sticky notes, voting systems as well as templates to facilitate the workshop.
Excelway tip: A Facilitator can choose to gather the group and work synchronously, in real time, or to allow participants to work at their pace during a longer period. To work asynchronously, all the Facilitator has to do is clicking on the step of the Facilitation Workflow such as Brainstorm or Vote and leaving the Workshop open.
Activities and templates
In a Workshop, facilitators and participants work together to solve problems and take decisions within activities. Depending on the context, a Workshop can consist of one or many activities. The creation of activities is at the Facilitator’s discretion. He/she can choose to create one activity per topic to be discussed during the meeting, or use activities as separate breakout rooms for different groups within the audience to gather and work together. See below a Workshop with several activities. The “In Progress” banner on some of the activities indicates that a brainstorm or a voting session is currently on in this activity.
Activities are based on templates. Templates are curated methods to solve problems visually and in a structured way. They are pre-built in Excelway and organized by categories: brainstorming, strategy, agile workflows. We’re constantly adding new templates to provide you with the best methods to get to your specific outcome. If you’d like to see a template go live in our library, please get in touch.
See below the Excelway templates library. The library can be accessed when a facilitator clicks the + Add activity button in the workshop.
In each activity, the facilitator’s screen displays at the top a facilitation workflow to help him lead the activity. The workflow is based on brainstorming and meeting best practices such as diverging (brainstorming), converging (voting) and defining next steps.
Each step of the workflow controls what participants are invited to do:
– Present: participants cannot contribute to the activity yet.
– Brainstorm: participants are invited to add cards to the activity.
– Vote: participants are invited to vote on each card in the activity.
– Next Steps: participants are invited to write down tasks to implement after the meeting. Please note that this feature is available during the whole meeting duration by clicking the Tasks button in the side bar.
Excelway tip: Following the order of the steps in the workflow is optional. Facilitators can jump or go back to a step freely by just clicking on the step in the workflow.
Workshops, Tasks and Boards
Boards are visual project management tools embedded in Excelway to help teams go from idea to action faster and more smoothly. Boards help teams track progress on the tasks that have been defined during a meeting and a workshop.
Defining Next Steps and Tasks
During the workshop, actions to be taken later on, once the meeting is over, can be defined to bring to the group clarity and accountability on the way forward. There are three ways to define these tasks:
– During the Next Step phase of the facilitation workflow: the Tasks side panel opens in the facilitator screen.
– Anytime during the Workshop: facilitators and participants can open the Tasks panel by clicking the Tasks button at the right side of the screen.
– Anytime after a brainstorming session: the Facilitator can turn cards into tasks automatically by clicking the Facilitation Superpowers button on the right side of the screen, then clicking Turn cards into tasks in the menu.
Sending Tasks to Boards
Tasks can be sent to Boards at anytime during the Workshop so that once everybody gets back to his desk after the meeting, they can start working on what has been decided.
To send tasks to a board:
1. Select the tasks to be sent (you can select all tasks by checking Select tasks to be sent to project boards)
Excelway tip: If you have many boards, you can send the tasks to each board at a time.
2. At the bottom of the side panel, click on the Board dropdown and select the board your tasks should be sent to
Excelway tip: You can create a new board here by clicking the +Add button in the Board menu.
3. Click on the Send to board button. A confirmation message below the task indicates which board it has been sent to.
Excelway tip: You can send again these tasks to other boards by selecting them and sending them again. This is specially helpful if there are similar tasks that need to be implemented by different teams. In its confirmation message, Excelway will only display the last board the task has been sent to. Please note that they will live as different tasks in the different boards you sent them to.
Your tasks are now ready to be worked on in the boards you sent them. You will find them in the first column of the board, called by default New cards.
Inviting to and joining a Workshop
Joining a Workshop as a Project Member
When you create a Workshop in Excelway, everyone in your team that is a member of your Project can join the Workshop. The Workshop you created appears on their Workshop list in Excelway. Please note that Project Member don’t receive an automatic email invitation to a Workshop.
If you do not wish to invite the Project Members to the Workshop yet, or restrict the Workshop to only certain members:
1. Click on the Actions button of the Workshop, then click on +Invite in the menu
2. In the Invite members window, remove participant by clicking on Remove for each of the Project Members.
Joining a private Workshop as a participant
Organizing a Private Workshop in Excelway allows you to keep the access to your Workshop private and secure, and to make the participants owners of the tasks created during the Workshop.
To invite someone that is not a Project Member to a private Workshop:
– Make sure that the Privacy status of your Workshop is Private in the Workshop Settings
– Click the Invite button at the top right corner of the screen
Excelway tip: You can also invite participants right in the Workshop Settings window or from the Actions button within your list of Workshops.
– In the Invite by email window, write the participant’s email and press Enter after typing each email address
– Once you typed all the email addresses, click on the Send button.
The participants you invited will receive an email with a private link to access the Workshop. If they don’t have an Excelway account yet, the system will invite them to create an account in less than 10 seconds.
Joining a Public Workshop as a participant
Organizing a Public Workshop in Excelway allows you to make people contribute to a Workshop without having them create an account. This is specially helpful when organizing large events or punctual workshops in which privacy is not an issue for you.
To invite someone to a public Workshop:
– Make sure that the Privacy status of your Workshop is Public in the Workshop Settings window
– Click on the Invite button at the top right corner of the Workshop screen
– In the Invite by link window, click on the Copy Link button.
– Share this link with your participants by pasting it in your own communication material (calendar invite, website, email…).
Excelway tip: If some of your Public Workshop participants already have an Excelway account, they will be added to your Project as members with a Viewer Role.
Join a Workshop as a Facilitator
Inviting co-facilitators to your Workshop allows you to get extra help in leading the Workshop, and grant them Facilitator’s rights in the Workshop.
Please note that whether your Workshop is Public or Private, Workshop’s facilitators need to have an Excelway account.
Inviting co-facilitators is done in the same window where participants are invited.
The Invite window can be accessed by clicking on the Invite button at the top right corner of your Workshop screen.
– If your Workshop is Public, type the facilitator’s email in the dedicated area and press Enter.
– If your Workshop is Private, type the facilitator’s email and Press Enter. Make sure that you select “Facilitator” in the dropdown shown below before clicking Send.
Duplicating a workshop
To duplicate a workshop, head to the action menu of the workshop, in the list of workshops in your project.
Then, click on Duplicate workshop.
A new workshop is created at the date of the day, with the following content:
– name of the workshop
– activities’ names
– lists’ names
– sticky note colours.
The following elements are not duplicated:
– sticky notes
– workshop notes.