Instructor-Led Workshops

Version 1 (beta), 2021-12-08

This guide is continuously improved — check this page regularly and use the latest version.
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You can also download the PDF version of this guide.

Part 1

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.,

Let participants see the questions when introducing themselves:

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.

Group facilitator

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.

Ground rules

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:

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:

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:

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:

Let’s have a look at the five waves of the ArtoLibre initiative:

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.

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