Workshop Planning Framework – The Six P’s

Note: This article is updated at The Six P's Workshop Planning Framework.

Workshops are one of the best ways to rapidly brainstorm ideas, capture scenarios, mine for patterns, etc.  The challenge can be designing an effective workshop.

In the book Scenarios, Stories, Use Cases: Through the Systems Development Life-Cycle, Ian F. Alexander and Neil Maiden present The Six P’s Workshop Framework.  Here is a summary of the approach:

Category Question Concerns
Purpose Why are we doing the workshop?
  • Goals
  • Need
  • Motivation
Participants Who is involved?
  • Roles
  • Stakeholder
  • Experts
Principles How should we function as a group?
  • Guidelines for participation
  • Working agreements
  • Ground rules
  • Group norms
Products What should the workshop produce?
  • Work products
  • Dependencies
  • Models
  • Decisions
  • Next steps
  • Issues for resolution
Place Where should we gather and share space?
  • Location
  • Time
Process When should things happen and in what order?
  • Steps
  • Activities
  • Order
  • Concurrency

As you can see, the six P’s (Purpose, Participants, Products, Place, and Process) create the overall frame.   Each category within the frame has a driving question.  For example, “Purpose” contains the question, “Why are we doing the workshop?”  Each category within the frame also has a list of “Concerns.”  For example, “Purpose” contains the concerns, “goals", “need”, and “motivation.”

By addressing the question and the concerns, you can design and shape a more effective workshop.