BA Workshop Technique: How to collect masses of AS-IS information in 1 hour

VOE-Workshop-Technique.jpg

Now you've watched the video you realise how important this template is.

Click here to download immediately the workshop comment cards template immediately (In excel format)

A Voice of the Employee Workshop is one of the best ways to obtain masses of feedback in a really short space of time without YOU having to write a single word or note.

But you’re probably wondering.

What is a VOE workshop and how can I use this technique to deliver the greatest value to my project requirements.

Well in this post, I’m going to show you EXACTLY how you can tap into the VOE workshop technique to set yourself up for engineering first class requirements.

And delivering new systems and processes that people LOVE to use.

First I want to give you a SUPER EASY way for you to remember this post.

Don’t worry - I do get down to the business side after this.

So a few years ago, my friend was hosting a dinner party for about 12 people.

He didn’t have a clue what to cook.

And he wanted to make an amazing night for the guests.

BUT he didn’t know anything about his guests eating habits.

Including their likes and dislikes

So what did he do?

He asked all the recipients 3 simple questions

WHAT DO YOU LIKE to eat?

What DON'T you like to eat?


AND

What are your 3 favourite foods?

By asking these 3 really simple questions he was able to find out some key information to make just the right amount of TWO different meal options.

Which meant EVERY SINGLE one of his guests would feel like the meal had been made especially for them.

And what’s more he had ZERO waste

So what does my friend’s dinner party have to do with holding a workshop!

Well when you’re implementing a new system or process, you’re actually asking people to adopt your new ways of working.

So the more you can find out about them and their current situation, the easier you can make it for them. to adopt.

The more success you will have

And that’s exactly what this workshop technique enables you to do.

It asks just a few simple questions of the people who currently WORK ON and will be WORKING ON the systems or processes you are going to create.

Here’s something you can relate to…

Back in 2010 I embarked on a major project which would implement a system and reengineer a complete new process.

I didn’t know anything about the process or system at the start

But I knew I needed to squeeze as much information as I could, out of the employees in the very little time that they would spend with me.

Outside for their own hectic day jobs

What’s the one thing that makes transition to a new system or process really difficult?

Arguably it’s the training people need and the ability they have to get out of their comfort zone

So I realized that by understanding the people that actually use the current system and process then you remove a huge barrier to resolving the employee’s pain in adopting new changes.

But not only that, by involving the employees right at the start you have a much better chance of gaining their consensus to future changes

So now you understand how a VOE works and how well they work, it’s time to show you exactly how to do it.

At the end I’ll also give you some key tips you’ll want to know before conducting the workshop to avoid looking like a BA fool!

Time to tell you how to do it

Step 1 - Arrange VOE workshop

Find between FOUR and EIGHT employees who know the process or system you’re analyzing

The first thing to do is arrange the workshop in good time.

Give yourself a couple of weeks

Get consent from the manager but don’t invite the manager

Why?

Because employees won’t be willing to talk as much while their manager is present

Step 2 - Explain workshop

At the beginning of the workshop

Make sure you tell the attendees WHY they are there and what the format of the workshop will be

It could go something like this

“In this workshop I want to get as much information as I can from you about the customer complaints process and I’m going to use a technique, which I’ll explain as we go, that comes from 6 Sigma, which if you’ve not heard of it is a strategic process improvement methodology.”

That’s it – be sure to answer any questions.

Don’t bore them with too much unnecessary information

Step 3. Collect the comments

With the introduction over

It’s time to start collecting comments

Here’s how to do it

You need to give them a pile of blank coloured cards and ask them to write ONE comment per card

The colours of the cards:

RED – What’s bad about the system/process?

GREEN – What’s good about the system/process?

YELLOW – What bad things should you never do?

BLUE – What ideas do you have to change it?

Like this:

VOE-Workshop-Technique.jpg

VOE-Workshop-Technique.jpg

Give the users about 20 minutes to write down as many comments as possible as possible

TIP: Tell everyone to write down their own comments and that duplicates is a GOOD thing because it means issues or ideas are much more likely to be agreed across the team when you introduce a change to the process

Step 4. Discuss the comments

With a mass of comments under your belt

This is where you question what they have written down to get a better understanding

Don’t start this until everyone has finished writing.

Collect all the comments and sort them into their coloured piles.

Then go through every single comment and whoever wrote it to expand on their comments

Take your own notes where you can as it will help your memory later on.

(Okay, maybe it was a slight exaggeration saying you didn’t have to write anything)

When you’re happy with the amount of information you’ve got.

You can thank them for coming and close the workshop

Step 5. Analyse the output

A good way to do this is to compare the number of coloured cards and put it in a graph

Then you can categorise each comment into People, Process or System.

And again create a graph

Follow up on your assumptions

What do I mean here?

Don’t just copy exactly what people write if you don’t fully understand what it means!

Follow up on anything you are unsure of so that you’ve got a good thorough understanding of what the issue actually is.

This is a major competency of a Business Analyst

3 Important tips:

Take more RED and BLUE cards into the workshop

Always tell the employees what the next steps are

Download the coloured card template below this video so you can easily

Did you learn anything? Or get a surge in motivation?

Or better yet head over to the ba-guru.com home page and sign up for exclusive business analysis tips

4 thoughts on “BA Workshop Technique: How to collect masses of AS-IS information in 1 hour

  1. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for sharing this, I think it’s a valuable information with enough details to set up a requirements workshop.
    Please find my advised on things that can be improved:
    I feel the name VOE, sounds to me a little bit political, my preference would be: Guru’s workshop or Black belt workshop, or Gold medals workshop, the reason is to motivate them and feel like strong contributors, so you can get what you want with less effort.
    Then after the meeting and getting conclusion, are you calling for another meeting to confirm your assumptions and them drill down in in something which is not clear or quite complex?, then after this second meeting your sending a drafting doco for final review before requesting approval to stakeholders?
    M

    1. Hey Miguel,

      Firstly, that’s some great comments so thanks for that.

      I agree on the name VOE. The reason I used it was because I believe is a well known title for a workshop that’s adopted by six sigma and thought that would help people relate to the advice.

      Ha, really like your thoughts on the names for it too. Definitely adds an element of positivity to the workshop goals. Guru’s workshop gets my vote!

      You are bang on with the follow up questions. These are meetings/presentations that I would most definitely schedule for after a workshop as part of the analysis work. And you make a very important point about validating the findings/assumptions/recommendations with the very people that attended the workshop before finalising the work.

      Glad you like the post 🙂

      Cheers,
      Matt

  2. Cheers Matt,

    The colour code and questions fit right into format I need for a VOE workshop on feedback on a systems.

    Thanks again,

    Andrew

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