2 min read

How To 'Be Like Water' During Client Workshops

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” - Bruce Lee
How To 'Be Like Water' During Client Workshops

Bruce Lee's most notable quote encourages a Zen-like surrender to the unexpected and at times, adversarial nature of life.

But what about in a workshop setting? Do the same rules still apply?

Being 'agile' is toted as a cardinal standard in today's software development world; product managers everywhere demand flexibility from themselves and teams in order to build the best solutions possible.

Consultants—who are often on the frontlines of figuring out what the product teams should build next—should strive for the same type of flexibility in their work, 'to be like water', if you will.

But per usual when it comes to profound, eternal, universal truths — they're much easier to recite than live by in real world situations:

The team has spent weeks preparing for this client workshop.

You’ve done the research, primed appropriately and are ready to perform.

The day of the workshop arrives and nothing is as expected.

There’s way less people than you envisioned, none of the trends or solutions picked seem relevant, and the client has more ideas than anticipated.

Now you have two options:

Option #1: Stick with the game plan and hope that the team learns something useful over the course of the next couple hours.


Option #2: Pivot on the fly based on the feedback you’ve gathered so far.

At first glance, option #1 seems like the safer move; but this assumption is dangerous.

If the client gets nothing out of the workshop and views it as a waste of time, then it’s likely they’ll second question your capabilities and more importantly, your future working together.

If you go with option #2, it will feel as if you’re sailing unchartered territory but that’s often where the best ideas are discovered.

With that said, if you are going to choose option #2 and see where the current of ideas takes you, it’s important to be in the right boat with the proper equipment.

Thankfully, we’ve created Amble to safely do just that.

Our generation widget allows clients to quickly spitball pain-points or goals on the fly without overthinking them.

This type of flexibility makes it easy to pivot so that you can effectively extract the important bits of data with leisure.

Without something like this, you’re stuck to the script—possibly wasting everyone’s time— and not getting the job done.

These generation widgets can be used to fit just about any scenario.

Remember how the client had more ideas than expected?

Have them jot those down so that you can collectively review them and then move onto others together.

With Amble, you’ll never get glued to an ineffective client workshop again.

You’ll be like water — moving in with the tide and out with the current and flow.

Let’s talk boats today.