Wash-ups can be considered a type of “post-mortem”, as they occur after the project is finished.
We suggest doing two sessions of 1h30m on different days in the same week, making the wash-up a 3h exercise.
Why two sessions?
As you are remote, you end up having several video calls a day.
When you're on a video conference, you know everybody's looking at you; you are on stage, so there comes the social pressure and feeling like you need to perform. Being performative is nerve-wracking and more stressful.
Having two sessions help reduce that fatigue and having a second part helps do some preparation work and extra thinking time between sessions.
The wash-up session requires some preparation steps :
- Send the invite for the sessions (suggestion: 1 week in advance) with the agenda and explain why we are doing them;
- Send the survey for the first session 4 to 5 days in advance (don’t forget to reinforce the deadline to have them filled);
- Send the how to use the virtual board in order for everyone to feel comfortable using it;
- Add the survey results before the session starts in order for them to be analysed by the team as a starting point;
- Fill the project timeline several days before the session and let the rest of the team fill in the details;
There are two roles in this exercise:
- To facilitate effectively, you must be objective. You step back from the detailed content and from your own personal views, and focus purely on the group process;
- We suggest using someone outside of the team, with experience facilitating these kind of activities;
- What you should do as a facilitator?
- Design and plan the group process, and select the tools that best help the group;
- Guide and control the group process to ensure that there is effective participation, participants achieve a mutual understanding and their contributions are considered and included
- Ensure that outcomes, actions and questions are properly recorded and actioned.
- What do you need to ensure?
- Send surveys - send them a couple of days before the exercise and give a deadline for people to respond, so you have time to add that information into the template;
- Timekeeping - make sure that the timings don’t derail during the session. It is helpful if you use a tool that has a timer incorporated, if you don’t you can use a time timer (kitchen clock) or any other online tool;
- Adjust template - the templates are setup and have the necessary information for the sessions and from the surveys;
- Write-up - to end the session, This is the document you will share with your organization.
- Feedback - don’t forget to ask for feedback at the end of each session on the format and facilitation. Make it easy to record that information, like a mini retrospective at the end of each session.
- Participants take shared responsibility for the outcome;
- Everyone is equal and has the right to his/her opinion, as job titles should be left at the “virtual” door.
The important thing is not the tools you use but how you use them. And it’s fundamental that you know the tools very well, especially their limitations. Have a backup for the tools in case some problems arise.
Basically you need two tools, one for the video call and another as a virtual whiteboard. Here are our main go to and some suggestions, you can use others if you want to as there are always new tools coming into the market.
- Miro intro (5m)
- Review survey results (15m)
- Icebreaker (10m)
- Timeline (20m)
- Happiness Line (10m)
- Relationship Diagram (25m)
- Next steps (5m)
- Send the how to use the virtual board in order for everyone to feel comfortable using it;
- Add the images/results of the survey on the board;
- Discuss them with the team.
Icebreakers play a significant role in events in which communication and participant comfort level are important factors. They help you ensure that all attendees are equal participants and they fully engage participants when you want them to own the outcomes of the meeting or session.
Some suggestions here:
- “This or that”
- Each person as a set of cards per colour (write the first letter of your first name and last name inside the circle);
- Choose what do you like the best (e.g. salad or pizza);
- Have a fun conversation about the choices the team has done.
- “Thank you”
- Write one post-it on what are you thankful on the engagement (e.g. something you learned, someone or a group of people you are thankful for something);
- Give two minutes for people to write and then let people share (add the name in the post-it).
- Write one post-it on what you believe was the biggest accomplishment of the engagement (e.g. individual or as a team);
- Give two minutes for people to write and then let people share (add the name in the post-it);
- If there is affinity between the accomplishments, get them together.
- More ideas:
The timeline will help guide the story of the project and it’s different phases.
The timeline should have the following information:
- Dates - decide how you want to split your timeline (months, quarters, etc.);
- Phases - consider grouping several dates into phases (only if applicable);
- People - for each date write the joiners/movers/leavers with their name and role:
- Goals - Write the engagement/project goals (What did we wanted to achieve?) for this month/quarter;
- Achievements - Write the achievements (What were we able to achieve?) for this month/quarter;
- Challenges - Write the challenges (What obstacles did we face to reach our goals?) the team faced this month/quarter;
- Engagement - Write the engagement changes or achievements (e.g. renew the contract, canceled the contract, added more people, ...).
The timeline can be filled during the project (monthly) by the engagement manager or anyone else from the team as a team activity.
The Happiness Line will help understand the mood of the different team members in the different phases of the project and will create a bridge for a Relationship Diagram.
- For each date (month/quarter) move a "happy" face (if you were engaged) or a "sad" face (if you didn't feel engaged);
- One face per person per date (month/quarter);
- The "happy" or "sad" are more intense the further away from the horizontal line they are;
- After you added all your faces connect them with a line.
- The Happiness Radar can be filled along the project, on monthly basis, with the whole team
- Use different lines with a different colour per person.
- Every month you can assess with the team whether we delivered value (optional)
Relationship diagram is the exercise where you try to understand the relationship between the client, the EE engagement team and the EE management team. The information should come from the last two questions from the first survey and added to the template before the session by the facilitator. (EE Branded Template here)
- Each circle should be filled with the results of the last two questions of the survey (If possible, create affinity clusters);
- During the session, give an overview of the items in the circles;
- If needed, clarify any misinterpretation from the facilitator.
- Everyone has one vote for all items (card or cluster);
- The top 3 topics (most votes) will be explored in the second session and survey;
- At the end of the session, send the second survey and ask people to reply until the end of that afternoon.
The questions from the survey could be done during the engagement (What are we doing well? What could we be doing better?) and then analyse "What is stopping us from doing better?"
End up the session by summarizing what you have done today and what is expected for the group to achieve.
- Recap Session Day 1 (5m)
- Discuss Key Topics (60m)
- Key takeaways (20min)
- Wrap-up (5m)
Start the session by summarizing what the team did in the first session and what is expected for them to achieve today.
The discussion around key topics is the peak of the wash-up! The information for the topics comes from a second survey, which you should send just after the first session. (EE branded survey here).
- Write one answer per card;
- Create affinity between the cards, but let people move them if they don't agree with your clustering;
- For each topic, give three minutes for everyone to read the cards and ask clarifications if needed;
- Give 1 vote per person to choose which card they want to discuss in detail;
- The group might want to pick more than 3 topics in case you finish the discussions, otherwise you can finish the session earlier!
- To manage time you can use the miro timer or any other timer (as long as someone is time keeping), there are several online;
The key takeaways should come from the discussion of the Key Topics. As a facilitator during the “Key Topics” conversation you should start taking notes, or ask help from the team.
Take the time to review them, give them a title and a short description on why this is a takeaway to avoid losing context. The team agrees or challenges these key takeaways (they will be used in the write-up shared afterwards by the facilitator).
Keep it under 5 takeaways.
Finish the meeting by giving kudos to the team for their effort and reviewing what you were able to accomplish during the two sessions.
This is the document you will share with your organization.
- If applicable, don’t use names of clients or team members (no one likes finger pointing). As an alternative use a fake name (for team members) or mention the industry (for clients);
- Setup context of the client and the timeline;
- Share the results of the survey;
- Do a deeper dive of the Key Aspects of the engagement/project;
- Optional - Add some personal reflection, as the facilitator, on the project.