Workshop Facilitator Capabilities

Here's a guide for all the levels of Co-Facilitator and Expert Facilitator.

Skills and levels are the way all Experts and Collaborators can keep track of their progress and make sure the quality of the deliverables stay consistently high. Each domain of expertise, namely Facilitator, User Researcher, and Product Designer has a range of tasks. Each task has an ideal duration and rate.

Note: The exercises listed on this page are arranged in order of their difficulty and not according to the chronological flow of the workshop sessions. To view a chronological walkthrough, please click here.

F_Shadow β€” Shadowing i.e. plain observation

  • When only shadowing a facilitated session, please make sure your camera and microphone are off. This is to allow the facilitator to have a one-to-one relationship with the participants and to avoid the client being distracted or responding to what you might say or do.

  • But be an active listener! Try not to check messages or do other activities that will draw your attention away from the observation.

  • You may be asked by the researcher at the end of the session if you have any questions you would like to ask, so think about this during the session. If you don’t have any questions, that’s fine too.

You will receive the expert badge only when you have have also completed UR_Reccos or PD_WSConcept.

F_Help β€” Help people in Zoom/Miro

Answer queries on the Zoom chat and assist participants on the Miro board as required.

F_Livestream β€” Live stream workshop

To make the sessions accessible and watchable online, you can live stream them. Here's a tutorial on how to do it regardless of where the sessions run:

Install OBS

OBS is a free broadcasting software, you can download it here:​

Join video call and workshop board

Join the video call with your camera and microphone off and open the Miro link in a separate window.

Set up screens

Choose a scene and add three sources:

  1. Audio Input (Default) - make sure the Audio Mixer shows that sound is coming through from the internal audio.

  2. Window Capture - Browser window with the workshop board / Miro

  3. Window Capture - Google Meet window or Zoom

They should be arranged like this:

Add streaming key

Ask one of the Deep Work Creative Directors for a YouTube streaming key (and potentially YouTube account) to start the stream.

Start streaming

Check that the YouTube stream is set to "Unlisted" and press "Start Streaming" in OBS. If YouTube shows your screen, then this is it, you're live. You can share the streaming link in the appropriate Discord channel with the team and community.

F_DJ β€” Play music in workshops

Do keep a Spotify playlist handy. During the workshop sessions, playing a playlist in the background would create a distraction-free atmosphere. You can add your own music to the playlist. Though, make sure the tracks are essentially instrumental, minimal at lyrics, and give out a calming vibe.

You can use Zoom's "Share Screen" feature to stream the music playing in the background by selecting "Music and Computer Sound only" under the "Advanced" tab at the top.

Here's a recommended playlist

Music tip: "Elliptic" by Vessels can be used throughout the Crazy 8's exercise as it has gotβ€”a duration of approx. 9 minutesβ€”a perfect length and has the best energy!

F_HMW β€” Intro and HMWs


Duration: 15 mins

The very beginning of the workshop is the most important part to set the correct tone and vibe. Here's an ideal to-do list to kick off the Hypersprint workshop with:

  1. Welcome everyone and thank them for turning up.

  2. Share the Miro link, introduce how it works, and let everyone find their personal workspace.

  3. Normally, it's okay to skip personal introductions. Quickly introduce the Deep Work team, emphasising their strengths.

  4. Talk about what's going to happen over the duration of all days. Go into a bit more detail on what's going to happen on the current day.

  5. Explain the concept of breaks. Emphasise that breaks should be used to rest. (mention time boxing)

  6. Explain how the collaborative process works and the importance of everyone's involvement. (repeat this point at the beginning of each session)

  7. Help to eliminate the fear of saying something irrelevant or stupid. Any input can spark ideas.

  8. Empower others on the team to feel their input is valuable.

  9. Mention that it might be intense at times, but that's ok. Just trust the process.

  10. Nominate a decider.

The decider is the one who pushes the envelope forward wherever the team is stuck somewhere and couldn't come to a decision.

How Might We

Duration: 48 mins

How Might We (HMW) is an exercise wherein everyone comes up with questions to tackle a challenge or to solve a particular problem. Ask the decider to talk about the biggest challenges and let everyone jot down the How-Might-We's (HMWs). Let everyone contribute who has expert knowledge. This discussion should not take longer than 30 minutes.

Here are some questions to ask during the exercise:

  • What can be done with the tech?

  • Who is the target audience specifically?

  • Who is currently using it?

  • What’s the most important thing for your target audience?

  • What are the most difficult challenges?

Make sure everyone is actually writing.

A collection of HMW questions

Progress and guide everyone through the HMW related exercises:

  1. Quickly arrange the HMWs into categories. Overlap doubles. This should take 10 minutes.

  2. Vote on the most relevant HMWs. Each participant gets 4 votes whereas the decider gets 5. This should take 7 minutes.

  3. Arrange voted notes into a "tree" structure in order to prioritise the ones with a higher number of votes. Read out the final results. This should take 1 minute.

An example of HMWs prioritsed

F_LTGSG β€” Facilitate LTG & sprint questions

Long Term Goal

Duration: 18 mins

In this exercise, make everyone discuss the long term goals of the project in an optimistic sense. This is a beneficial exercise that would be helpful in future sessions when there are confusion and disagreements amongst the team members. This way the team can always come back and refer to these goals.

  1. Let everyone write 1 note, starting with "In two years time...", outlining the future vision of the project. This should take 5 minutes.

  2. Vote on the most succinct long term goal. Each participant gets 1 vote whereas the decider gets 2. This should take 3 minutes.

  3. Combine winning goals into a full sentence. Try to be succinct and let everyone's opinion count. This should take 10 minutes.

Sprint Questions

Duration 28 mins

In this exercise, make everyone come up with questions and doubts in a pessimistic sense. Discuss the problems, challenges, and list out the things that could go wrong. This would be helpful while figuring out the answers to these questions in the designing and prototyping stage.

  1. Let everyone write 3 notes, describing potential challenges while reaching the long-term goals. This should take 5 minutes.

  2. Vote on the most relevant questions. Each participant gets 2 votes whereas the decider gets 3. This should take 3 minutes.

  3. Select 3 questions (combine if necessary) and rephrase them into "Can we..." questions. This should take 10 minutes.

  4. Select the most important question and highlight it. Ask the team, "if it was possible to only work on one question, which would it be?" This should take 10 minutes.

Long Term Goal and Sprint Questions combined

F_USM1 β€” Facilitate first user journey

User Journey Map β€” Discuss, Vote, and Combine

Duration: 25 mins

The goal of this exercise is to create an overview of an ideal user journey.

An example of User Journey Map (individual user journeys in rows and indivudual user steps in columns)

Following are the steps to achieve the same:

  1. Make everyone write a basic user journey. If possible, try to condense the user journey into 6 steps (one user step per post-it). Starting from something like the first contact with the product and ending with the desired activity. If the product already exists, write out the existing primary user journey. If it doesn't exist, write a basic hypothetical user journey. This should take 10 minutes.

  2. Read through and vote. Each participant gets 2 votes. Let the participants vote on an individual user journey (row) and an individual user step (column). On the other hand, the decider gets 3 votes and can vote on one row and two columns or vice versa. This should take 5 minutes.

  3. Combine the top-voted journey with additionally voted steps into one. This should take 10 minutes.

User Journey Map β€” Elaborate

Duration: 40 mins

  1. Transfer the combined journey onto the user journey map frame and ask everyone to elaborate the user journey using keywords and exploring possible details and side journeys. This should take 30 minutes.

  2. Move the upvoted HMWs into the relevant areas. Circle the areas with clustered HMWs to see what to focus on. This should take 10 minutes.

Stick with the time. It's okay if the map feels incomplete and not perfect.

Elaborated User Journey Map

F_Research β€” Facilitate Research

Duration: 30 mins

In this exercise, we will make a mood board by browsing through and collecting inspirations from the web.

  1. Make everyone browse the web to search out for products or services that faced similar challenges and found elegant solutions. They can be from completely different industries but should have relevant solutions.

  2. Ask everyone to take screenshots or copy the things they found interesting and place them on the Research section of the Miro board.

  3. Give everyone 1-3 minutes to go through their examples and explain why they are interesting. Alternatively, record your Loom screen share video.

Refer to the Long Term Goal and Sprint Questions to get the most out of this exercise.

Here's an example for a mood board

F_Sketching β€” Facilitate sketching

F_Concept β€” Draw Concept

Concept β€” Note-taking

Duration: 30 mins

Let everyone go through all the research from the previous step and take notes. Make them feel free to make some initial sketches of what the interface or product could look like. Do not let anyone share their notes with others yet.

Do refer to the Long Term Goal and Sprint Questions whenever anyone feels stuck.

Concept β€” Crazy 8's

Duration: 10 mins

Crazy 8's is a quick exercise to draw some rough sketches of the product. Make everyone take a sheet of paper and fold it three times to get a grid with 8 cells. Ask them to sketch one major part of the interface into each cell, per minute. Don't worry if they're not finished, just ask them to iterate 8 times on the same idea.

Concept β€” Integrate

Duration: 60 mins

Let everyone collect all the things from the previous steps into a full three-slide concept. Remember to make everything self-explanatory and annotate with sticky notes if necessary. Take photos of the concepts and upload them to the board. Cover them with the cover sheet to keep people from peeking.

Take a break!

Duration: 30 mins

Congratulations! You are done with sketching the concept. It's time for a break.

Heatmap Voting

Duration: 10 mins

Make everyone vote on details they found fascinating. Votes can be unlimited. Place as many votes as you all can to create a heatmap.

Straw Poll β€” Voting

Duration: 7 mins

Make everyone, except the decider, think about which concept provides the best structure for the storyboard. This should take 5 minutes.

Each participant gets 1 supervote whereas the decider gets none. Make each participant write their initials on their supervote in order to distinguish their supervotes from the rest. Everyone simultaneously places their supervote on whatever concept (or part of concept) is best. This should take 2 minutes.

A vote is represented by a red dot πŸ”΄ whereas a supervote is represented by a green dot 🟒.

Integrated Concepts with Heatmap Voting and Straw Poll

Straw Poll β€” Present

Duration: 3 mins each

Let each participant explain their decision to the decider. Make sure the decider is listening to these presentations very carefully.

Decider Votes

Duration: 3 mins

Ask the decider to place 2 supervotes on the concept to move on with.

F_USM2 β€” Facilitate second user journey

Duration: 42 mins

Considering the final results we got from voting in the previous exercises, let everyone form a refined user journey.

  1. Make everyone write a user journey based on the winning concept. Starting from something like the first contact with the product and ending with the desired activity. This should take 7 minutes.

  2. Read through and vote. Each participant gets 2 votes. Let the participants vote on an individual user journey (row) and an individual user step (column). On the other hand, the decider gets 3 votes and can vote on one row and two columns or vice versa. This should take 5 minutes.

  3. Combine the top-voted journey with additionally-voted steps into one. This should take 30 minutes.

F_Storyboard β€” Facilitate storyboard

Storyboard β€” Place user story map

Duration: 10 mins

Make everyone place the User Journey Map post-its decided on in the previous session above the empty frames of the storyboard.

An empty storyboard

Storyboard β€” Outline

Duration: 50 mins

Make everyone collaboratively create an outline for the content. Use already created sketches to create visual references in each frame.

Storyboard β€” Details

Duration: 50 mins

Make everyone fill in more detailed text and imagery. In a way, design a rough skeleton of what the actual product would look like. Delegate larger text chunks or content to a few team members and experts so that the rest of the team members can work on storyboarding.

Referring to the long term goal, sprint questions, and mood board would always help.

Storyboard β€” Polish

Duration: 50 mins

Make everyone work on the final touch-ups of the storyboard and see if there's anything left to be worked upon.

A polished storyboard

Passed F3, F4, F5, and F9? Congratulations! Now you can apply for the Expert Facilitator position.

F_Summary β€” Record summary video for the researcher

F_Presentation β€” Present results

Reveal the results with confidence. Remember that this is the first glance for the client to see their product and learn about how it works. Here's an example:

Friends! It was an incredible week! And we have something really cool for you. In the next hour we will show you the prototype we created together and [the designers] designed, [the user researcher] will tell you how your users liked it and explain to you what that means for the product.

Reiterate what the team has decided on during the workshops. Then hand over to the designer to present the prototype.

The designer then hands it over to the user researcher to present the results.

After that, they can ask questions and think that the session is over.

Right before they are about to leave, stop and pretend you remembered something else. Like this:

Oh, one more thing! We actually have something else to share with you.

Then present all free content you could share with them, the video tutorials, workshop templates, user research guides and link to our Discord.

F_Overdelivery β€” Make the experience delightful and enjoyable

Workshops are generally tough and very practical, but as a facilitator you can make them more enjoyable by entertaining the participants, playing good music and making each individual feel seen.

Overdelivering as a facilitator means that the participants will remember the experience they had for a very long time.

F_Iteration β€” Facilitate iteration workshop

For some projects the team needs to review the user research, the design and decide how to improve the design based on the users' feedback. The iteration workshop normally lasts approximately two hours and finishes with clear changes to the prototype, which the designer can implement.

Here is the full overview:

F_ProPrep β€” Do a quick call to prepare the client

For larger projects, you will have to arrange a short call with the client team to describe how the workshops will look and ask them to prepare the following, if possible:

  1. Any high level details about the project, who the customer segment will be, any data about the current behaviour of users if applicable (use this input in the HMWs).

  2. Visual and UX references - other projects the team likes and gets inspired by. Projects with similar functionality or interesting features (use this during the research phase).

  3. A user journey of the main target audience and potentially other involved actors (use this in the first user story map).