The Method Adoption Workshop

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The Method Adoption Workshop

During my IBM career the method adoption workshop was used several times in the beginning of the project initiation. It’s conducted to expedite the project-planning process. The MAW is a group meeting that requires participation by all project stakeholders both for their expertise and to assure buy-in. It was providing a clear message to the stakeholders and team member what method was used for executing the project. The technique paper IBM Conducting a Method Adoption Workshop will provide the guidance on how to perform it.

What’s a Method Adoption Workshop (MAW)?

It’s a series of meetings where the project manager and the lead team members (Business Analyst, Designer, Test Manager, SME’s, etc.) get to an agreement on the approach towards delivering the project.

The MAW is the keystone of method deployment, and requires preparation, education, leadership and follow-on mentoring. The MAW is undertaken during solution design to position the proposal and Statement Of Work utilizing the method.

A MAW helps in determining e.g. a tailored method, key requirements, work product list, resourcing list, PID, risk assessment, templates and outputs. The workshop essentially acts as a discussion venue to determine the optimal activities for the project. Various methods can be used for these workshops. Most of them prescribe how to collect and specify requirements and in some cases how to manage them also. These workshops also help in putting in place effective project change management processes. MAW is used to tailor and adopt the project management and technical methods for the product or service and determine the optimal activities needed. Post MAW, stakeholders are identified and various elicitation techniques are used for determining the requirements. Techniques can vary according to the group of stakeholders.

A MAW is used to bring the project and the method together. A MAW is usually facilitated by a methods trainer or project manager. The length and content of a MAW are adapted to the needs of the project:

  • They are discussed and agreed beforehand
  • Typical length 2-4 days, it may be spread over >1 workshop

Conducting an MAW could be in the following order:

  • Schedule MAW
  • Create Work products list
  • Create / Refine resource request
  • Complete project definition document
  • Create preliminary project plan
  • Obtain agreement of initial project definition agreement
  • Review milestones / deliverables identified in the Project Definition

The objectives during the MAW are:

  • Get a good understanding of the project
  • Tailor the method to project estimation, selecting techniques, tasks and tools
  • Define team organization and roles
  • Assess risks
  • Assess team skills

At the end of the MAW it should provide the results of:

  • A tailored method
  • Project Plan
  • Risk Assessment
  • Resource Plan for the Team
  • Log of method exclusions and extensions
  • Identified project work products and deliverables

But remember, for each project the MAW is never standard!

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