Team Review Workshop & Dotmocracy

Team Review Workshop is an activity ready-made for any team meeting. You can run in virtually any situation.

It helps you build a shared understanding within a team about what’s working well, areas in need of improvement and areas of opportunity.

It’s one of my favorite ways to get a team ready to do some positive action planning.

Team Review Workshop Step 3

After Step 4 of the process your chart looks like this

There’s very little facilitation involved as it’s easy for people to grasp what they have to do and why they’re doing it. It’s transparent, democratic and a great stimulator of conversation within the group.

I use this in one form or another at least once a month with my team and I encourage you to do the same.

Dotmocracy, the method used for prioritization of the resulting themes, is a popular technique for voting within groups using dot stickers. It's also known as “dot-voting”, “multi-voting” or “voting with dots”.

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Objective

  • check
    To build a shared understanding within a team about what’s working well, areas in need of improvement and areas of opportunity.

When Would You Use It?

  • In any team meeting when you want to review your team’s current situation.
  • This activity also works well when assessing how multiple teams are working with each other.

Resources Required

  • 1 hour.
  • A large piece of blank paper up on a wall.
  • Space around the paper for people to comfortably stand around and space to move.
  • Lots of post-it notes and marker pens for each person in the team.
  • A few sheets of dot stickers.
  • Scissors (to cut the dot stickers out so each team member has a limited number for voting).

Process

  • 1
    The Facilitator starts the activity by explaining to the team that you are going to spend the next hour reviewing progress.
  • 2
    The first 10 mins are to focus solely on the question “what are we doing well?” EachParticipant picks up some post-its & pen and writes as many things as possible (one per post-it).
  • 3
    The second 10 mins are to look at answering “what could we do better?” Instead of focusing on the negatives try and keep people on improvements, e.g. “it would be even better is we did this …”
  • 4
    The third 10 mins are to look at answering “what more could we do?”. These should be new opportunities rather than improvements on existing activities.
  • 5
    The Facilitator asks the group to spend a few minutes collecting the points into themes.
Team Review Workshop Step 2
  • 6
    The Facilitator then gives each Participant a fixed number of dots and asks them to stick them on the themes that are important to them. Be clear they can put them where they want, i.e. all on 1 very important theme to them or spread out over many.
Team Review Workshop Step 3
  • 7
    Once the voting is finished you can lead a discussion on what happens next. One suggestion you can consider is take the Top 3 themes that received the most votes and run a Brown Paper Planning session to make sure you end with an action plan and a positive result.

Secret Sauce

  • It is very important to tackle each question one at a time and not jump around. The temptation for the group will be to skip straight to things ripe for improvement without spending enough time on the things that you are doing well.
  • If the group is large then give each participant 3 dots to stick on the paper. If the group is small then give them 5 each. This is so visually there are enough votes on the paper.

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About the Author

Nick Martin has more than 18 years experience as a change manager and is the founder of WorkshopBank.

  • mike.boud says:

    Hi Nick

    hope you and your family are well

    this is an interesting adaptation / application of the WWW technique and it might get people to express things they would not say directly if simply asked

    However, the problem with ANY team dynamic self analysis has proven to be the denial and self delusion of at least Western groups who think they are high performing teams – when in reality they are scarcely past forming

    I have seen some very good psychometric tests form deciding where teams are in whatever cycle you are familiar with
    Tuchman, Peck, etc… but they fail if left in the hands of the group members

    It requires outside prospective to bring some reality into the performance of groups.

    So perhaps this technique could be combined with some SMART measures of performance or indeed under performance AND what if it were used directly by 360 people around the team ?

    Not tried this myself yet but your mail has prompted these thoughts

    thanks

    • Nick Martin says:

      Hi Mike

      Great to hear from you and thanks for taking the time to comment. Very interesting points as always. What kind of combination are you thinking might work here with SMART and 360? Are they extra questions thrown into the session or is that involving more people outside ‘the room’? Or indeed both?

  • Shilpa says:

    Thanks Nick! This is a great tool for me especially since I’m interested to workshop with my small operations team (4 people including me).

    I’d like to ask a question to you and the readers – I’m planning a brief get to know you (since the team is fairly new) + this tool + action planning. However, I have a combination of high performing individual + a new joiner who is already picking up things fast and an individual who is just about meeting expectations (sometimes not even that) and is hesitant to engage or speaking things out loud. Would you suggest any other combination of the tools that I’ve expressed here?

    thanks for your time!

  • JoeA says:

    Thanks for this Nick! Your tools are extremely helpful and customisable; I used a version of this one for a concept development workshop! Much appreciated. Very best regards – Joe

  • Barbie says:

    I just want you to know that I used the Dotmacracy tool yesterday to review the work a non-profit group working in an underprivileged township area, in an under-resourced area of special needs education, are doing:

    The response was fantastic! They had no way of measuring how they were doing and how to evaluate their work. They were so happy to work out their review, and one lady said she could use the resulting summary as a springboard for her annual report to the Dept of Social Development, who is their major funder.

    • Nick Martin says:

      Great to hear Barbie! Thanks for letting us know. The real power of this tool kicks in when it becomes part of normal business (e.g. an activity you do once a month) because then you get a real sense of how your work is moving forward. Hopefully your group can continue this momentum.

  • Mark Bernstein says:

    Nick,

    I used this activity for the first time with about 25 people. All enjoyed the interaction and energy generated. Serves as a benchmark for future applications of this technique.

  • Hi Nick –
    This is one of our favourite tools at PMB. We use a variation of it when we are long-term planning. Change the 3 headings to “Keep Doing”, “Keep Doing And… (this is where you build on your current successes), Start Doing (new stuff) and Stop Doing (some things have to go). The rest stays the same.
    Thanks! Jen

    • Nick Martin says:

      Nice modification Jen. Those statements make it much more action oriented. I can see the potential of running both versions in the same workshop so you’re gradually funnelling the participants towards creating an action plan.

  • Reshma M.K says:

    this activity works great

  • Sherlette Rookwood-Brown says:

    Your ideas are easy to understand and effective

  • Stacy Bullard says:

    I have participated in an activity very similar to this and will be using it at a community meeting.

    • Nick Martin says:

      Great to hear Stacy … please let me know how it goes if you have a moment

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