Successful remote discovery workshops in 7 easy steps!

When face-to-face becomes Facetime

These workshops usually happen on-site or at our offices, with the majority of stakeholders present and focusing on the project. Over the years, we have delivered hundreds of projects and facilitated just as many workshops, most of them face-to-face.

Are discovery workshops essential?

Absolutely! We’ve been creating software long enough to confirm that our know-how in software design and development is best utilized when the entire team understands what they’re building, and for whom.

How to carry out a successful remote workshop?

Remote workshops are a totally different ball game from the on-site ones, but they can work just as well at times when there’s no alternative. Stick to our list of 7 steps to successful discovery workshops and you’ll be delivering remote workshops in no time.

1. Break down the workshop into smaller chunks

Remote workshops require more focus and discipline from all participants. It’s simply not as interactive as meeting in-person, and sitting long hours in front of a computer makes it easier for our brains to wander off.

There’s a lot to discuss

2. Have a well-defined agenda and workflow

Make sure to communicate the agenda at least one week in advance. This is a no-brainer for any meeting, but it’s crucial for workshops because the goal is to have a bunch of data and information to work with by the end of each session.

3. Limit the number of participants

Workshops are most efficient with five to six participants. From our side, there’s usually a business development representative, technical director, and a lead designer. From the client’s side, it really depends on what the project is about.

4. Assign homework and make sure everybody comes prepared

Giving out homework helps keep remote workshops more structured and goal-oriented. Questions you would typically ask during in-person meetings can instead be handed out via email in a form of a questionnaire.

5. Use video conferencing that supports screen sharing

For maximum efficiency, every participant should join the call from their own computer. Our teams use Zoom for remote calls (as the rest of the world, apparently) and sometimes Google Meet.

Smile for the camera

6. Avoid video conferencing chats

Don’t rely on the chat function within the videoconferencing app because the transcript tends to disappear the second after you hang up, plus there is no option to upload files.

7. Use a digital whiteboard or a document

Unlike using sharpies, post-its, and physical timers, remote workshops require a different set of tools. To replicate the meeting room setting as best you can, try using digital tools such as Figma or Miro.

The bonus step — be prepared to improvise

While our list of steps for carrying out a successful remote workshop is quite comprehensive, the world will always be more unpredictable. Sometimes it’s the machine that will freeze; other times it will be the human.

Remote is the new on-the-spot

We hope these tips help your team conduct better remote workshops in the future. It’s a framework that has helped us run successful remote workshops and one that we keep perfecting with each new remote workshop our team runs.

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Bojan Bajic

Bojan Bajic

Head of Marketing at Infinum, a software design and development agency.