20 to 30 minutes
The first part of the workshop is about introductions and preparations.
Make sure you arrive at least 20 minutes before the planned start time, and double check to make sure everything you need is available. You need to know who to call and ask for help if something is missing.
When people arrive, check to make sure they comply with the ground rules; e.g., wearing name tags for face-to-face workshops and having display names for online ones.
Start the workshop exactly on time – if you don’t respect the schedule, others won’t.
Ask the participants to introduce themselves, and at the end, introduce yourself. This helps them get to know each other and also warm up. It’s also a buffer for those who may arrive late.
Give participants a few main topics for their introduction; e.g.,
- What’s your name?
- Where do you work and what do you do?
- What types of projects do you have in your company?
- What’s the main difficulty in managing your projects?
- How did you try to cope with that difficulty?
- What project management topics have you studied before?
- Do you know any other participants in this workshop?
- What are your hobbies?
Let participants see the questions when introducing themselves:
- Face-to-face: Write the questions on the board. You can erase them when introductions are finished.
- Online: Open a “Workshop Initiation” item underneath the main mind map element, and add “Introductions” underneath it. Add all questions underneath the “Introduction” element. When the introductions are finished, collapse the item.
When each person is done introducing themselves, it’s best to ask one or two questions for extra information or extra details. This demonstrates your interest and helps prevent the introductions from being too brief.
Most exercises are done in fixed groups of 3 participants. If the number of participants doesn’t allow you to have 3 participants in every group, you can have one or more groups with 4 participants. Avoid appointing more than 4 people to a single group.
Groupings will be fixed during the workshop, so be careful with the way you team them up. It usually works best if you team up people who don’t know each other.
Each group plays the role of the project manager, unless otherwise stated.
Explain that they should take turns in acting as the facilitator in each exercise. The facilitator doesn’t contribute to the content (unless necessary), but is focused on helping the other members focus on the purpose of the exercise and create the output within the limited time they have.
The duration set for the exercises is limited because we have many exercises in the workshop. Therefore, it’s absolutely necessary to have an active facilitator in each group who prevents members from wasting their time on unnecessary details.
Attend the group exercises and help them improve their facilitation techniques. Besides helping them have more productive exercises, it also helps them improve an essential project management technique that will be helpful to them in the future.
You’ve already emailed the ground rules to the participants, but some people may not have read these carefully. It’s a good time to review them here, and also explain the rationale for each rule. Make sure they understand that the rules are designed to make the workshop as useful as possible for them rather than to limit them.
Don’t forget to mention that you’ll ask them for improvement ideas for the ground rules at the end of the workshop.
Rearranging the room (face-to-face only)
Most rooms are furnished for lectures. At this point, you and the participants can work together to rearrange the room and make it suitable for the workshop. Move the tables and chairs to the sides.
This is yet another warm-up exercise and also another opportunity for late participants to show up before the main topics start.
Take a photo of the room before changes, so that you can pull it all back at the end of the session or the workshop.
Overview of the process
Now it’s time for a short lecture!
Take about 5 minutes to show them the process diagram, and give them a quick overview of the process. Only focus on the circular nature of the process and on the activity groups without mentioning any of the activities.
Keep the process diagram visible during the workshop:
- Face-to-face: Put a large process diagram on a wall or on the screen.
- Online: Show them the diagram, and as you explain, add the name of the activity groups to your mind map. You will gradually populate them with the content that will be created during the workshop.
If participants ask questions about the process, keep the answers high-level. If a question needs more detail and is best covered later, park it as follows:
- Face-to-face: Designate a board or wall for parked questions. Write those questions on the board or write them on a sticky note and add to the wall.
- Online: Add a “Parked Questions” element underneath the root element and add the questions underneath it. Keep the element collapsed to focus on the main topic.
Remember to cover the parked questions as you proceed with the workshop, and remove each one when its concept is covered.
At this point, your mind map in an online workshop would look like this:
╭─ Workshop Initiation [+] │ │ ╭─ Project Initiation │ ├─ Monthly Initiation │ ├─ Weekly Management ├─ Process ───┼─ Daily Management O ───┤ ├─ Monthly Closure │ ├─ Project Closure │ ╰─ Post-Project Management │ ├─ Workshop Closure ╰─ Parked Questions [+]
An equivalent of this mind map in a face-to-face workshop is a number of large papers on the wall, each one titled with one of those 10 main headings. We’d rather use paper to save the content instead of writing them on a whiteboard and then erasing them – only use the whiteboard for temporary content.
Introduce the scenario
Now it’s time to introduce the scenario:
- Face-to-face: Give each participant a printed version of the scenario.
- Online: Show the scenario on the screen and also post it as a file, so that they can open it on their local machine and check it whenever they want.
Make sure that the participants understand that a project manager doesn’t need to be expert in the application area, and therefore, they don’t have to worry if they don’t have IT experience. In fact, it may be advantageous if they are not IT experts, because then they have to be focused on the management aspects. Remind the tech-savvy participants that they should not be distracted by the technical aspects but rather focus on managing this sample project. In the real world, they either have to change hats between a manager and an application area expert, or simply focus on managing the project and leave the technical aspects to other experts.
There are a few things you need to know about the scenario, and be prepared to explain to the participants if needed:
- We’ve used the Artopolis context, which can be helpful as your learners will take the Artophile Center eLearning course as well.
- We’ve used the word “libre” instead of the more common word “free”, to ensure there’s no misunderstanding – the English word “free” means both libre and gratis, and when used in this context, it’s about being libre. Although most libre applications are gratis as well, being libre is the most important attribute, not being gratis. Feel free to mention that the same applies to P3.express: It’s libre (and also gratis).
- To be accurate, the ArtoLibre initiative is a program rather than a project. To keep it simple, we’ve just referred to it as an “initiative” – the word “initiative” can be used to refer to both projects and programs. While the ArtoLibre@Artophile initiative can be considered as a program as well, it’s OK to see it as a project.
- The goal of the ArtoLibre initiative is not to replace all proprietary applications with libre alternatives, but to replace as many of them as possible without making big sacrifices. So, for example, when it comes to Wave 5, it won’t use a fully libre Linux distribution, and a normal distribution that has some proprietary drivers will be fine.
- The main problem in an initiative like ArtoLibre is not technical – it’s about doing it in a way that is not too distracting for the users, because they have to get used to using a different set of applications with a new user interface and work flow. That’s why there are five waves: to let the users get used to it and absorb the changes.
- Such initiatives have been implemented in the real world; some of them successfully, and some of them not. There are already some public sector organizations in some countries that use libre software.
- The first 4 waves gradually replace the existing applications with libre alternatives run on the same operating system (Windows or MacOS) because most libre applications are cross-platform, and finally, the fifth wave replaces the operating system with a Linux distribution.
Let’s have a look at the five waves of the ArtoLibre initiative:
- Wave 1: This is about replacing applications like Outlook, WhatsApp, and Google Drive with libre alternatives. This is the first wave because it’s the easiest change for the users.
- Wave 2: Almost all organizations use an office suite such as Microsoft Office on a daily basis, which will be replaced by LibreOffice or another libre alternative. The choice of libre office suite is not significant, because they use similar file formats and their outputs will be compatible with each other; however, LibreOffice can be a good choice because it’s the default office suite in most Linux distributions. All waves are followed by a training program, which is especially important for this wave because most people in the organization will be using office applications. We can assume that because of the ArtoLibre initiative, the government has prepared simple, well-structured eLearning courses that are freely available to everyone. So, the training we need to have in ArtoLibre@Artophile can be limited to awareness and support, or become blended training.
- Wave 3: The previous two waves have replaced some of the key general applications. This wave will replace the remaining applications (except for those that create a major disadvantage). Note that what is a general application and what is specialist depends on the organization; e.g., most organizations may use an image editor like Photoshop every once in a while, but not professionally. For them, it would be considered a general application and targeted here, while the same application is a specialist one in a graphic design company and will be targeted in Wave 4.
- Wave 4: The specialist applications are those the organization uses for its core business; e.g., an image editor for a graphic design company, and a CAD and a 3D-modeling application for an architecture business. These applications warrant more attention, and we have to make sure the change doesn’t create any long-term issues. However, it’s natural to have short-term disruptions, and that’s acceptable. As mentioned before, the goal is not to replace every application at any cost – if replacing a proprietary application causes too many problems, the proprietary application can be kept. Besides commercial applications, some organizations have custom applications developed for them that may not be cross-platform and can cause issues when they switch to Linux in Wave 5. These applications should be adjusted or replaced in this wave
- Wave 5: This is the final wave where Windows and MacOS will be replaced by a Linux distribution that is suitable for average users. We can assume that ArtoLibre has selected a distribution as the default, in which case, it would be easier to use the same in Artophile.
While explaining the scenario, make sure you’re not making the Project Description elements too obvious; e.g., we’ve used words such as “advantage” and “disadvantage” when describing the change, instead of “benefit” and “disbenefit”, so that the learners can rationalize about it instead of just copying everything from the scenario into their Project Description.