7 Ps framework – come prepared

When planning a meeting or a workshop I always use the 7 P framework from the Gamestorming book. The framework can be used to plan almost anything, and is great for asking the right questions about the journey you are about to embark on. After I have gone over the 7 Ps I always feel more prepared and confident in what I am going to do, and how I am going to achieve it.

The Ps are:

  • Purpose
  • People
  • Product
  • Process
  • Preparation
  • Practical
  • Pitfalls

Purpose

Why are we going to do this? What do we want to achieve in doing this? Having a clear vision and being able to share it with all participants is invaluable to doing the right thing. Limit yourself to the purpose of what you are planning (the meeting or workshop). World peace is great, but you will not achieve it in a workshop.

People

Who is going to participate? Write down the names, rather than the roles. A meeting can change a lot depending personal chemistry, and not only the knowledge people have.

Product

What is the outcome going to be? Are we creating a prototype writing a document or making a decision? How will this support the purpose? The product should be something tangible.

Process

How are we going to achieve the purpose and create the product? What will the agenda of the meeting be? Which exercises should we do in the workshop?

Preparation

How do you need to prepare for this? Is there homework to be done? Do we need to survey the market and look at competitors?

Practical

Where and when? What do we need to bring to the meeting? Make sure to buy lots of post-its!

Pitfalls

What risks have you already identified on the way to achieving the purpose? Can we prevent these risks?

Planning this way does not have to take more than 20 minutes, scribbling on a piece of paper. Yes, the result will be better if you actually draw the images and write down your ideas by hand. From my images above you can tell that you do not need drawing skills to get the effect. The 7Ps is also great format for planning together, and putting your plan up on a whiteboard.
Make sure to save your plan somewhere, and have a look at it after the meeting. This will remind you of the purpose and you will quickly see what did not go as planned. As an agilist I am aware that we will not be able to stick to the plan, but I also want a feedback loop to see what in my plan did not work. It is always nice to have the original plans as a reference to compare with the outcome.

A few handy tips:
Draw on a whiteboard, even if you are planning yourself. Makes it easy to refactor your plan.
If possible, plan together with another participant of the meeting or workshop.
Show your plan to all participants, so that everyone is in on the purpose, and how to achieve it.

The 7Ps framework is credited to James Macanufo and you can find more details about it at gogamestorm.com.

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