Organising a three day event in London remotely from Sheffield 2 weeks into a project was always going to be a little overwhelming. Needless to say, when we embarked on the task it was exceptionally daunting.
This reflection is based upon feedback gathered from the facilitators of the event through an anonymous survey. For this we used survey monkey.
With other outputs also on the groups agenda the organisation of the London master:CLASSES was undertaken by about 50% of the group. This put a substantial amount of pressure on these people but meant that decisions were made more quickly and efficiently.
Time generally was considered the biggest challenge.
An issue that was felt unanimously was that there wasn’t enough time to develop a network of contacts and to give proposed ‘masters’ sufficient time to invite them to prepare and lead a workshop. This was raised in our reflective session with the client on the final day of the London event. His response highlighted how opportunities were missed to exploit his own network (which was in fact our network too) to identify ‘masters’ who could lead the master:CLASSES. Utilising the stakeholder diagram that was developed alongside the event programme may have aided our understanding of networks and offered greater clarity of who our network of contacts were. This is a lesson learned for the organisation of future events.
Once the master:CLASSES had been organised and timetabled it was felt that there was insufficient time for facilitators to “familiarise themselves with topics and master:CLASSES which would have made people feel more comfortable speak up and lead where necessary”.
When timetabling the event it was difficult to not over-prescribe time. However this led to difficulties in regards to breaks. In one instance a master arrived to lead a CLASS but had to wait to start the class until the group had a toilet break. This was magnified by the fact that the site did not have toilets on site.
Generally it was felt that master:CLASSES were not introduced or facilitated as succinctly as they should have been. Consequently the relationship between master:CLASSES was not always clear. In addition, some master:CLASSES went off the intended topic; the result of facilitators allowing conversation to drift. This led to an interesting discussion on an unexpected topic but meant that the intended master:CLASS topic was not covered.
Overall we made a good effort o the London event but the following is a list to take forward for next time:
- Organising an event takes time – longer than you think
- Utilise the contacts within your network – use stakeholder diagrams more. Use contacts of your contacts.
- Allow time to allow facilitators to familiarise themselves with the topics and timetable so that they feel more confident.
- Ensure that time is put aside for breaks – workshops can be tiring and people will always need a toilet break.
- Introduce master:CLASSES succinctly – emphasising the relationships between master:CLASSES.
- Ensure master:CLASS topics are adhered to.