Blog post

 On Sunday, July 29, we hosted #3 session of  Global Agenda Seminar (GAS) 2017. Since we began the workshop series under the title of Project Management, at the end of June, two teams each have been working on three projects.

This type of workshop is difficult to assess the progress until we actually begin the process.  At the second session on July 1, we asked each team to present how they define the main issue, hypothesis and expected output etc. after three project clients explained the situation they are in at the first session.

Based upon what we found out at the second session, I wrote a memo describing how books we assigned beforehand are related to the project activities, and another which shows some samples of framework/tools with explanation.  About a week before the third session, I sent another memo explaining how they can use time effectively and efficiently (i.e. do NOT wait until the last minute!) and what type of progress report we expect at the third session.

Each group was given 5 minutes to explain their progress and thus, expected to allocate time to focus on main message at the present.  It is always a good idea to let them do it first and then I make comments based upon their presentation. (Much better than lecture, I think.)  As teams presented, I made several key comments. They include:

Focus on the most important findings, and not the background (we know all that) and activities they have done in the past weeks.  What we are interested is their findings and hypothetical conclusion whether they are main issues or preliminary solutions from their activities.  I repeated the similar comments repeatedly as the groups explained background and activities rather than their findings.

In the latter half, the groups seemed to follow this procedure of developing hypothesis early on and of testing with analysis better.

After six groups presentations, we tried a new exercise.  We reshuffled groups and gave two topics (each with one of them) which are now discussed often.  We asked each group to discuss solutions and present proposal in 20 minutes.  It seems it was refreshing as they worked with different people (from the one for the main project) AND were almost “forced” to develop solutions right from the beginning.

It is interesting and eye-opening (for me) to find out how difficult to practice hypothesis-driven thinking in managing project.. As I often say, the only way you can learn is to practice them as often as possible.

We then moved to the restaurants downstairs and had informal get-together.  I was able to talk with many people (almost the first time) and had fun.  (To my regret, I did not take a photo!)

I prepared a short video of the session. So please take a look.

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