Decide Workshop / D-Day
Now it's your time to shine! In this article we describe what happens throughout the Decide Workshop and what you can do for a long-lasting impact.
The purpose of the Decide workshop / D-day is to present the results and insights from all phases of the Business Design Process to the Sponsor of the project. It is important to present the Sponsor the full "story" and walk him / her through all phases of the process. Otherwise, it will be difficult for him / her to understand the final results and conclusions. We usually present all the results with a huge and highly visual "Decide Wall". A typical structure of a presentation is outlined in the Review Workshop. We then take a considerable amount of time for feedback from, and discussions with, the sponsor. The sponsor's job is then to review the results and to make clear and transparent decisions on how to proceed with the project. In a nutshell, three decisions are possible:
Facts tell us that we should better stop wasting our time because our ideas will never work.
We gained insights on how to improve our ideas and the way we work together as a team.
Wow. The results from the previous iteration indicate that our ideas are ready to be launched on the market. Go!
After the presentation, discussions and decision making with the sponsor, the project team usually meets for a short debriefing to reflect the output and define next steps.
6 hours + preparation and documentation
As a Project Team Member
Now is your time to shine! To do so, make sure to regularly communicate your status on the preparation with the team before the D-Day presentation date. Things that are not prepared upfront, will not happen on the day of the D-Day anymore. You and the team will need the time to execute all the immediate presentation preparation. It is therefore a necessity to plan sufficient time for a good number of presentation rehearsal sessions prior to the presentation. Becoming more confident with the presentation material and the feeling on stage will help you and the team.
Finalise your part of the presentation or Decide Wall
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
Prepare your answers for the potential questions the sponsor might ask
Free up your calendar for the day and make sure you can attend the workshop with 100% attention
Arrange travel and accommodation in cases needed
As a Business Design Coach
Keep an eye on the details and apply the "best man" principle. The coach supports the team to achieve the best possible presentation outcomes but stays in the background. The D-Day is the time to shine for the team and their sprint results. Your task as a coach is to take care about all the nitty-gritty details that add to the presentation success (room setup, stage, audio/video details, tech, air quality and light, etc.) while your team is focussed on the content and the results presentation.
Sometimes you may have more than one manager in the room of a Decide Workshop, which has its pros and cons: You may get a better backing for next steps after the sprint if you have the key stakeholder in the room. But a group of managers instantly creates a situation of "political noise", status fights, "group think" problems etc. If you consider the social mix of people diverse and tricky, "pre-frame" every participant prior to the workshop in short individual sessions. Tell them what will happen on that day and give them already a short briefing about the content the project team will be presenting. Listen carefully to the question you get and prepare the project team to answer them. We suggest to encourage the sponsor again to make clear and quick decisions right after the presentation.
Make sure that all outcomes of the workshop are carefully documented. Thus, the workshop is not finished after this day. Schedule a flexible amount of time to enable your team and the sponsor to translate the taken decisions into actionable tasks.
Conduct a sponsor briefing and inform him/her about his/her role and the nature of the decisions taken on the D-Day
Coordinate with the Team Manager that all team members are invited, travels and accommodations are arranged
Define and align the agenda with the Team Manager
Check the availability of the sponsor during the workshop and invite him/her
Book and organize room and catering
Prepare and print all tools & materials
5. Signs of Success
We consider the Decide Workshop as a success...
...if the project team is super motivated and engaged in delivering a great presentation to the sponsor
...if the sponsor is surprised by the presentation and the results of the project
...if the sponsor considers the results as profound basis for making clear decisions on how to proceed in the project
...if the sponsor makes decisions right in the workshop
...if the project team knows exactly what to do next
6. Tools & Materials
1x "Moderation Wall" with purpose and agenda
Structured and prepared "Decide Wall" (preferred) OR 8x Filled flip chart papers on the wall
1x Time Timer
Optional: 1x Anti-Bullshit Spray
Optional: Customer's Glasses
Optional: Tools for virtual collaboration
7. Q & A
What can I do to ensure a smooth workshop? Closely check the status of the preparation with the team before the D-Day presentation date. Things that are not prepared upfront, will not happen on the day of the D-Day anymore. You and the team will need the time to execute all the immediate presentation preparation.
My team is quiet nervous, how can I help? Plan sufficient time for a good number of presentation rehearsal sessions prior to the presentation. Consider to include this in the schedule of the D-Day (e.g. starting early) and to use the final presentation assets and room for the final rehearsal. Becoming more confident with the presentation material and the feeling on stage will help your team.
Does "best man" principle mean I should not talk at all? Sure you do! Prepare a short intro moderation that you will run as a coach before the team presentation starts. This will be used to make sure everybody is aware about the structure of the D-Day presentation, the duration and the right time for questions.
Should I allow other stakeholders, like colleagues or supervisors, to participate? You should avoid larger audiences during the D-Day presentation at all cost, as this might introduce political conflicts and hinder decisions. The D-Day workshop is for the team and the sponsor only. The intimacy of presentation needs to provide a safe space to raise all the required questions and have all the required discussions to facilitate the final sponsor decision.
How can I make sure that the project doesn't end abruptly after the D-Day? Ensure that the next steps are clearly defined and documented at the end of the workshop. Consider to already plan and agree a date for a follow-up / connector workshop together with the team and the sponsor. This will be essential to ensure the operationalization of the planned steps.
Workshop results are documented in the Project Workspace (in particular the decisions made in the workshop) and photos are uploaded
Next steps planned (briefly) incl. next meeting or conference call
9. Room & Infrastructure
1x Empty wall: > 420 x 200cm
1x Empty wall: > 220 x 90 cm
Chairs or cube seats
1x Low-distance projector for Project Workspace
1x Table for catering
Hot & cold drinks, snacks or finger food
10. Example Agenda
In some cases the Decide Workshop has to take place in a virtual work environment, which influences the agenda. Check out our Miro Board to facilitate the Decide Workshop online.
08:30 - 09:00
Arrival and "Good Morning Coffee"
09:00 - 09:15
Welcome and introduction
Project manager & Coach
09:15 - 10:00
Presentation to sponsor (see structure as outlined in the Review Workshop)
Project team Sponsor
10:00 - 11:00
Feedback of sponsor and discussions
Project team Sponsor
11:00 - 12:30
Decision-making with sponsor
Project team Sponsor
12:30 - 13:30
13:30 - 14:30
Debriefing and planning of next steps
14:30 - 15:00
Wrap-up and farewell
* P = Presentation | D = Discussion | B = Break | T = Teamwork