Project Management

How to run better meetings, have more impactful client conversations and improve how you plan a project with the W.O.O.P technique.

June 4, 2022
  •  
3 mins 10 secs
Ben Willmott
Founder

Do you sometimes struggle with meetings that seem to have a lot of talk but not a lot of value? I probably didn’t need to ask that, as meetings in the workplace are often very low on value but high on time for so many.

As a Project Manager, or anyone expected to run or facilitate a meeting, whether it’s a 121 or in a group, they can often go off on tangents.

It makes the meeting even harder to facilitate if you’re super busy or you don’t have time to prepare.

A technique you can use to help you prepare for important meetings, such as a 121 call or larger group meetings, is called W.O.O.P.

W - Wish

O - Outcome/Benefit

O - Obstacles

P - Plan

The good thing about the W.O.O.P is you can implement it in a few minutes if you’re stretched for time, and you’ll still see the positive impact or use it to plan a meeting approach in more detail.

To implement W.O.O.P for a meeting, you start with the ideal result you want for this meeting, the WISH.

For example, the WISH could be;

“I want to leave this meeting feeling like I’ve performed well and excited about what’s to come.”

Then you have the OUTCOME, which also could be described as the benefit. What will be the outcome/benefit of this meeting by achieving your wish? For example;

  • The client has agreed to approve the additional budget needed for your project
  • You now have the solution to the problem
  • You have an agreed set of next steps for a critical new phase of work

OBSTACLES are what could stop you from achieving your WISH or OUTCOME?

This is good practice to think about for any meeting, as the obstacles could be any number of things; some examples could be;

  1. What objections could the client have to what we’re proposing?
  2. Do we have enough data to present our case for change?
  3. What if I’m asked a question I don’t know the answer to?
  4. What if my boss is late for the call and it’s just the client and me on the call?

When used in Project Management, the PLAN is two things or can be if needed.

The first part of the PLAN is the steps you’re going to go through in the meeting; this could be the agenda, or it could be three things you need to deliver or communicate during the meeting.

The second part is to already have some next steps planned. Often next steps are left to the end of the meeting to be worked out, but there are always obvious next steps you can start to create beforehand.

An obvious example is knowing when you’ll follow up with the meeting notes. Knowing beforehand precisely when you’ll do this allows you to come across as confident and organised, versus working out on the spot and thinking about everything else you have going on outside of this meeting.

Having pre-prepared plan/next steps also helps you think about what those meeting obstacles might be; plus, during the meeting itself, you can focus on the conversation rather than the organisation of the meeting.

So W.O.O.P can be used for all sorts of scenarios as a Project Manager, but it’s not limited to just meetings. It can help facilitate planning a project, create your goals, what you want to do next in your career, and how to have a difficult conversation with your partner or kids; it’s so simple, it can be applied to anything.

So try W.O.O.P today; keep it simple, but the more you use it, the easier and quicker it becomes.

W - Wish

O - Outcome/Benefit

O - Obstacles

P - Plan

Ben Willmott
Founder
Ben is Delivery Director at the London based creative agency Wunderman Thompson where he creates bespoke ways or working for his clients and teams. Ben is also the founder of The PPM Academy specializing in coaching Project Management, Agile Delivery and how to be more productive at home and work.

More Blog Posts

Productivity

How to have the best day ever!

So can you have the best day ever or even the perfect day? That could be reducing how much you procrastinate, being more focused and present, achieve what you planned to do. This approach can move you one step closed to achieving that perfect day.

Read Article
Project Management

How to avoid those last minute requests at the end of the day

Don’t you hate getting last-minute requests at the end of the day? I know I do. It’s especially frustrating if it then causes you to work late, as quite often, if the sender just asked you earlier, you could have helped. This is a quick and easy way to avoid those last-minute changes at the end of the day.

Read Article
Productivity

How to be more focused at work with these 5 simple approaches

This productivity tip is actually five tips as it's the five most impactful things that have improved my productivity at work, and when done together throughout the day, they have a massive impact on the amount of work I produce, plus the value it creates.

Read Article

Register your interest in the PPM Course for early offers and updates