Discovery workshop
Last modified on Mon 25 Apr 2022

Discovery workshop is a research activity we usually do to kick off a new project. A discovery workshop often tells us if we have enough information to go into the wireframes/concept phase, or we still need to do a bit of researching. The main goals of this workshop are to get the whole team on the same page before the project starts.

It is a 1-2 day workshop with the clients, and it can be done on-site (at Infinum's or clients' offices) or remotely via Zoom.

If we are doing an on-site workshop, it can last up to 8h/day, but if it's a remote workshop, we advise you never go over 4h/day.

Usually, two designers, a tech director and a project manager, participate from Infinum's side. From the client's team, anyone who is responsible for project requirements and outcomes can join too.

This workshop consists of a lot of methods and design exercises which helps us produce a more precise brief for the project, as well as the defined scope and design process. Always aim to answer all of these questions during the workshop.

Here are the most common ones:

Preparing for a discovery workshop

If you are about to have a discovery workshop with the team, the first step is to learn as much information as possible and prepare before the workshop starts. Please ask the clients to provide any materials they have regarding the product requirements, user findings, short-term and long-term goals.

The second step is to create a precise schedule for the workshop, including relevant exercises and the duration of each exercise per day. Here are a few agenda templates you can use:

Share the agenda with the clients and ask if they have any comments or suggestions regarding the workshop flow.

Don't forget to include at least two shorter breaks (10 min) and a lunch break (30-60 min). You don't want the team to get nervous! 😄

If you feel a bit insecure about the outcome, to get everything right, make a quick test version of the workshop with your colleagues.

The next step is to clear your calendar and put other projects on hold because these workshops will need your full focus. Even if your workshop schedule says six hours per day, you will need to sync, review the steps and the done work until the next day.

Finally, make sure you have the workshop booked in your calendar.

Starting a workshop

Have a brief introduction session, maybe through something unrelated to the project as an ice-breaking exercise.

Introduce yourselves and your role in the workshop. A moderator keeps the workshop on track and on time, and a facilitator is leading the conversation and design exercises. A tech director will help you get through any technical discussions as well as any scope or estimate related issues.

Let the team know there is a specific set of rules they need to follow to get through this workshop on time, which means they will be interrupted from time to time or asked to move a particular discussion for later in the day.

Be prepared to move around things in the schedule as time goes by. Sometimes you will need to skip or add some exercises in between, move something to the beginning, the end, or the next day of the workshop. It is totally natural, so focus on reading the room. Sometimes you will need to let a fruitful discussion go on and maybe let go of an exercise if you see the participants are getting tired.

On-site workshops

If you're organizing an on-site workshop, book a spacious conference room with plenty of seats, a large TV screen and a whiteboard.

Bring in some snacks and coffee for the meet&greet session. Make sure you have a good breakfast because it takes forever to get to lunch.

Take plenty of pens & papers to the conference room because on-site workshops enable sketching in teams, live sketch reviews and ad hoc upgrades.

Remote workshops

Make sure the clients have a nice at-home setup without distractions and a stable internet connection throughout the workshop. Instruct them on how to use Zoom video conferencing in workshops as well as Figma.

If the participants are in the time zones which are too far away from here (i.e. US West Coast), the remote workshop setup won't work.

Without further ado, here is everything you need to know about preparing and leading a remote workshop with clients.

Use our Remote Workshop Template Figma file to pick and choose exercise templates that fit your agenda.

Alternatively to Figma, we also use Miro to facilitate online workshops. It's a browser-based collaborative tool which covers everything you might need for a workshop - except actually designing screens, so keep that in mind. If you're going with Miro for your workshop, let the Operations team know so they can create a project and send out invites.

Discovery workshop report

The main deliverable of a discovery workshop is the discovery report. The summary needs to include information and conclusions from the workshop, as well as the design process timeline and a list of MVP features.

🔒 Here are some great examples for future reference.

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