What is the difference between a meeting and a workshop? What is the difference between a presentation and a workshop? What is the difference between routing a functional specification for comments/approval and a functional specification workshop? There are several true answers.


The term workshop denotes a team “hands on” working session. If you go to a photography seminar you expect to hear about photography. If you attend a photography workshop you expect to take some pictures.

The company that uses a workshop approach can achieve a goal efficiently and effectively. I saw this personally years ago as process controls engineer. We formed Process Improvement Teams (PIT) to analyze and correct problems, inefficiencies, and increase productivity in any number of areas. The teams had varying success depending on the team leader and the assignment. In some cases outstanding successes were accomplished by these multi-disciplined teams. But these teams also tried to tackle some huge often – poorly defined goals with metrics of success that were too general.

Sylution Incorporated is a value added reseller of performance management and lean tools and services. The difference between a meeting and a workshop to us is often the value we can quickly bring to a client. The workshop approach that Sylution uses is focused on the client’s improvement objectives. The client organization should have representatives from engineering/operational excellence, operations management, process controls and possibly maintenance to get more than one perspective or interpretation of needs and the value that improvement brings . Sylution engineers participating in the workshop can instantly answer questions about relative cost of different options, time to implement, skills required, training, change management and insight from other projects. A workshop causes discussions that lead to prioritizing objectives and great insight to rank and payback of various objectives – even if there is more work to be done outside the workshop.

Sylution offers several different levels of workshops from a lunch & Learn to a multi-day custom workshop with a process audit. None of the workshops are completely free. Everyone participating must contribute time for the meeting and preparation so that they bring in domain expertise and information. But the rewards can be high. Participants will have a much better understanding of their problems, opportunities, and the ability, cost and ROI for correcting the correction of the problem. In short, a workshop allows the client to buy a solution that meets their needs rather than being sold a system.

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