When You Were In The Back Of The Room And Someone Else Was Facilitating

I love it when good presentations or even meetings are recorded and made available to project teams. Even if you exclude all the opportunities to better leverage the information presented, there is a significant value proposition from stepping back and appreciating the performance. 

Our boy tanner, from a hike at Little Mount Si

I was a business analyst on a short term contract with a company undergoing a significant change in one of its workgroups. They hired a company that offered an online COTS package, paired with consulting fees, customization fees and ongoing support fees. They had an impressive end-to-end approach and everyone in that company sold it quite well. I cannot say that everything went smoothly through the project but we were effective in dealing with the normal communication and political issues that arise during complex endeavors.

Anyway, they had a killer kickoff workshop week that included building SIPOC models “LIVE” across multiple sessions. I remember it quite fondly. A SIPOC is not a simple construct when it comes to putting data into it. In a workshop setting, you have to possess strong facilitation management skills.  As a group, we did slide off topic from time to time but our presenter handled those situations with patience and finesse. 

Another aspect I thought was amazing at the time, was the tool he was using. He was creating the lists of suppliers, inputs, outputs and customers like you would expect. The middle process column was a graphical container and he was creating a simple activity diagram right there. You might be thinking you didn’t know a tool like that was on the market. He was using Microsoft Excel! 

As he was working the workshop attendees,he was working that spreadsheet. He had naming conventions for most of the data he entered. I didn't realize it immediately until someone would have a question. As he worked the board during his response, you could see his naming convention translated into an information pattern. He even used color coding for text and cells effectively during the presentation. In particular, anything that was “bold red” was a topic we needed to circle around and discuss later. 

Even today, I wish I could be presented with more opportunities to build SIPOC diagrams in workgroups, just to raise my game as a presenter!

© 2016 Dwayne Wright