How to Run a Remote a Hopes and Fears Workshop?

4 February 2021

Working on a new project with your team can be as stressful as it is exciting. 

While a certain approach might make perfect sense to you, others will just beg to differ. 

In a perfect world, all team members could just agree. But, as a second-best alternative, they can take some time to express their visions and concerns. 

This recipe guide explains exactly how to run a Hopes and Fears workshop, to get a rounded perspective on a project from your team’s expectations and doubts based on their professional experience. 


Ingredients list




Sticky notes


Nutritional Value

Team understanding


Set expectations

Reveal doubts



30 to 45 minutes

Recipe Instructions


1. Invite the right people

This activity is heavily based on people’s emotions and personal opinions regarding a project. Therefore, it is crucial to encourage all concerned members that have a certain impact on the project to share their input.

2. Set the tone

It is crucial that participants feel that they are in a psychologically safe environment and can fully express their hopes and concerns. Therefore, when introducing the topic, the facilitator should emphasize that all ideas are welcome to be shared. Everyone should take a non-judgemental stand in order to have a constructive conversation on how to move forward.

3. Journaling

Following the introduction, the participants will be asked to spend around 5 minutes writing down their hopes and fears regarding the project at hand.

3. Opening up

Allow some time for people to further express what they wrote down. It can be challenging for some people to share their fears. For that reason, participants should keep in mind that the intent of this part of the activity is to shine light on problem areas, and not point fingers at others’ work. Moreover, the workshop is more about sharing than immediately solving existing problems. Therefore, everyone should listen attentively before speaking to really understand each other’s fears and not merely hear what they say to answer back. 

During the discussion, notice if there is any repetition in hopes or common fears among the participants.

4. Group

Group together all recurrent hopes as a vision to build on and even use a measurement basis towards the end of a sprint during a team retrospective. Do the same for shared doubts and discuss ways that these doubts can be resolved.

5. Setting actions

The final step requires the team to work together to come up with preventive measurements in order to avoid their common fears. Once they agree on a set of tasks to do, it is time to get to the action.

How to run a virtual Hopes and Fears workshop on Excelway

Excelway is a software that enables you to run a successful remote workshop with your team.

What is the Hopes and Fears workshop?

This workshop is a brainstorming session that invites participants to share their hopes and fears about a certain project. Considering the different perspectives can help achieve alignment between team members as well as take preventive measures based on common fears and increase motivation when sharing all hopeful expectations. 

When to use the Hopes and Fears workshop?

The Hopes and Fears workshop can be used right at the beginning of project initiation, to discuss all positive and negative outlooks. It can also be used towards the end as a retrospective tool.

Where can I find more information about the Hopes and Fears workshop?

Written by Sophia

Passionate about how people build things together, Sophia has dedicated her academic and professional work to understanding group collaboration in a remote setting. Today, she is the founder of Excelway.
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