1 Running and Facilitating Virtual Problem Solving Sessions

Plan Ahead

  • Set session objectives; leverage PO3 and Design Star frameworks Anticipate mindset, physical/ emotional distractions
  • Prepare materials
  • Communicate expectations; assign clear ownership to the agenda well ahead of time
  • Collect and send out pre-reads to cut “report-outs” from the session


Maximize Engagement

  • Make video calls the norm to minimize “multi-tasking” and distractions
  • Raise relevant topics; encourage collaborative problem solving
  • Frequently solicit input from participants; do breakout sessions
  • Manage time and energy:
  Check in every 5 mins
  Limit presentation time to 10 mins
  Limit session time to 90 mins


Clarify Next Steps

  • Review objectives & output – did we achieve what we aimed for? 
  • Use the commitment wall framework to process people’s opinions and clarify ownership of, and expectations for deliverables
  • Follow up with session materials, summary and action log


Useful framework for your session

2 Driving Progress and Delivering Excellent Project Output


Set the pace

Implement a project rhythm that works for the team, e.g.:

  • Daily 15min team meetings to discuss goals for the day, raise potential issues
  • Weekly 1-hr problem solving sessions
  • Monthly project review meetings


Better, not more control

  • Micromanagement and full control are impossible – let go of full control and give the team deadlines, clear, actionable goals
  • Agree on KPIs upfront, and track them throughout
  • Establish a safe, inclusive environment
  • Pick the right team – consider skills, diversity, personalities
  • Set clear rules of communication and availability
  • Create a mindset of “fail fast & improve”


3 Boosting Morale, Keeping Team Together and Having Fun


Establish team rituals

  • Sharing high’s/low’s since your last meeting to get warmed up
  • 15-min “lunch and learn” on any topic, delivered by team members
  • Monthly game nights


Recreate office setting

  • Organize virtual coffee breaks to re-create the water cooler experience
  • Informal channels
  • Create informal social channels, such as a WhatsApp group – for non-work related topics and humor


Additional material you may find interesting:

a-connect’s “Running Virtual Workshops” / GoodCompany’s “Guide to virtual meetings” / HBR’s “Managing your newly remote workers” / Google’s “Make home office work for you” / Implement’s facilitation tips & design star framework / Sophaya on virtual team building ideas and tools