Learning the Process – Alignment Session
Have you ever sat down with a design firm and been immediately inundated with recommendations for the design of your next branch or workplace without diving into your goals and purpose of the project? This process often results in nice looking buildings that don’t deliver on your goals and that your staff don’t quite understand how to use.
We take a different approach. Before beginning design or even making suggestions, our team works with your key stakeholders to understand the purpose that is driving your project. We do through a meeting we call an alignment session.
The goal is to uncover what success means to your team. Only then do we draw on external insights and innovations to begin to design a solution.”
The alignment session is an interactive workshop, designed to kick off a project and get everyone on the same page. The goal is to uncover what success means to your team, and we do this by facilitating conversations and activities around your goals and requirements for the project. These conversations include deep dives into research, your strategic vision, and a good deal of introspection. This is an opportunity for all voices to be heard, and to discover where your organization’s priorities lie. Ultimately, the team leaves the session with clarity around the best path forward.
The pinnacle activity of this meeting is compiling a list of project requirements. It’s your chance to think big, be ambitious and contemplate what it will take to deliver on the goals and objectives of your project. The idea is to collect as many ideas as possible for your branch or workplace and narrow them down into “Must Have,” “Should Have,” “Could Have,” and “Won’t Have” categories. Keep in mind that these aren’t branch or workplace design choices, but rather the fundamental requirements that the design will fulfill.
Organizing and narrowing down these requirements gives your team an opportunity to have a deep discussion about what is really important, what’s optional, and what should be excluded. At the end of this process, we’ve not only aligned our team to your organization and goals but your team has gained a better understanding of what is important to one another. With everyone on our teams aligned, miscommunication and misunderstandings down the road are minimized.
At the end of this process, we’ve not only aligned out team to your organization and goals but your team has gained a better understanding of what is important to one another.”
The deliverable of this meeting is a shareable summary of the project charter, goals, and requirements that guides everyone’s efforts throughout the project. It’s easy for a project to drift off track, for the scope to creep, or for new partners to misunderstand the direction they need to take the project, but the documentation that we help you create during the alignment meeting helps everyone stay focused on the objectives and purpose of the project. You’ll come away with a solid foundation for the design of your branch or workplace.
In the next article in this series we’ll cover the charrette session, an interactive design meeting where we bring key project stakeholders and partners together to hash out a conceptual design that aligns with your requirements and brand. Subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll let you know when it’s up!
And as always, our team is available as a resource to guide you along the way. Feel free to reach out!