Please note that this article will cover one way of running a salesforce workshop. These points are not really limited to a salesforce workshop, so you will be able to apply the same segments to other projects. Note that this is not intended to be a blueprint for the correct way of running workshops. This is just one of the many correct approaches.
Step 1: Understand the problems
At this stage, we are trying to understand the problems, issues or difficulties that lead this organization to seek help. You may have a specification document or even a project brief that you have received prior to the meeting or if this would have been a competitive sourcing exercise, you would have received a number of documents part of a bidding project.
In any case, our objective here is to understand what the client thinks the problem is.
Step 2: Gather Requirements
After understanding the problem of the client, we need to focus on the gathering their requirements.
Now, this is one of the most important skills that a Salesforce consultant can and should develop, as it is core to the success of the implementation. At this stage we would be looking at a detailed process walkthrough. Ideally, the workshop should have a variety of members and roles. Not a lot of members, but a good variety. That way we can actually hear first hand from our future salesforce users.
This stage is where we would ask a lot of questions and we would also challenge a lot of the pre-made decisions that the client may have in their mind. For example, if we are building a Supplier Compliance system, one of the stakeholders might say that they need both an electronic signature as well as a wet signature from the client. This would be a common example of a change from us.
We need to emit a sense of curiosity rather than contempt. We need to understand why that particular stakeholder has this belief and stands by his requirement. At the same time as we ask questions and get some answers from our client, we need to start thinking of a draft solution. We need to understand if and where we will host any data that needs to be hosted. If a stakeholder says that they need to rate their Customers, we need to understand is that a dynamic value, will that be stored separately whenever it is changed? By thinking of one requirement in this way, we are in a position to ask questions and further clarify our solution.
The requirement gathering part of a workshop should take the most time from your workshop timeline.
Step 3: Understand Success
After understanding the problem and going through the client requirements, we need to understand what counts as a success for the client. What success looks like for them? If it is a compliance application, then is success defined as a centralized repository of their data? Is it having a 75% compliance by the last FY? Where the system provides support towards that success?
Usually, success is linked with a metric that the client measures itself on. We need to find that out and understand its relationship with the project. Also, this will also be a good opportunity for the participants to reflect on what was discussed and decided up to this point.
Step 4: Action Plan
The action plan is a very important tool in a salesforce’s consultant toolkit, as it sets an expectation from the consultant, from the project, and from the client. Depending on the size of the consultancy that you are with, you may have defined processes in place on how to run workshops and more importantly how to records actions and how to follow-up on them.
There is not really a right/wrong way to approach this stage, as long as you track any outstanding actions and assign it to a member of the project team with a realistic deadline.
NOTE: Use the Action Plan as a tool.
Step 5: Next Steps
Very similar to the Action Plan stage, Next Steps is quite important to be discussed and decided upon in a workshop.
Next Steps should cover what will happen next in out project timeline? Such as a follow-up workshop, a project update session etc.
NOTE: Overall, there is no correct blueprint for running a workshop, these are only some of the major points that I would recommend being covered in a workshop session.
Different consultants may merge some of the points or cover them in a different way, which is not wrong.