What is the HelixPLAN Facilitation Methodology?  

The HelixPLAN method is a set of concepts, tools and techniques, which make all types of team planning and decision-making sessions more effective and efficient.  HelixPLAN:

  • Fosters solid participation and teamwork
  • Helps simplify complex issues
  • Uses streamlined, yet thorough and effective, information sharing, idea generation, idea assessment and decision processes
  • Drives out conclusive decisions with a high level of participant buy-in
  • Allows all ideas and decisions to be captured with minimal effort, and documented completely
  • Accommodates, blends with, and leverages analytical methods and concepts from other sources
  • Provides common design and facilitation language among consultants, which accelerates session designs, and allows the mixing and matching of consultants across work sessions
  • Allows session designs to be easily documented and put on the shelf for re-use
  • Allows the capturing of twice as much information as traditional flipcharts and post-it notes   HelixPLAN is a robust facilitation method - it is complete, mature, effective and well documented. 

HelixPLAN has been used in many parts of the world in many different types of work sessions.  It is reliable, consistent and repeatable.

Training aids in a HelixPLAN class

Client Quote:

" I can't believe we got
so much done in such a short time."

Northeastern Regional Executive of Sales and Services for a Computer Company












What makes HelixPLAN work?

The HelixPLAN method is based on very pragmatic principles and concepts, such as:

  • The generation of ideas and the judging of ideas should be separated.  This improves the volume of ideas that are generated, and raises the likelihood that really great ideas will be uncovered.  It also allows every participant to fully engage without fear of being “shot down”.  The separation of idea generation and judging also improves the group’s ability to work with the ideas (e.g., group similar ideas, evaluate relevance and importance, determine independence, etc.), and do so with speed and consensus.  Idea generation and decision-making improve exponentially.  And, when you actively engage a group of people in thinking productively, all the “crowd control” stuff magically takes care of itself.

  • A person's short-term memory is limited to 5 - 7 things.  The individual techniques used recognize this limit and do not exceed it.  At the same time, because all of the group’s work is continuously displayed in front of them, the group can work with more ideas than their short-term memory can hold.

  • We can’t tell what a person is thinking, but we know a lot about HOW people think.  For example, as people think about ideas, they group them (“this goes with that”), and they judge them (“that won’t work”, “this goes before that”, “this is more important than that”, etc.).  Each person does this is their head.  With HelixPLAN, there are tools and techniques that enable the group to do this as a team, reaching consensus every step of the way.

  • The people in any organization know what they are trying to achieve, what their challenges and issues are, what the climate and culture of their organization is, and what course(s) of action will ultimately get the best results.  In other words, they have plenty of collective wisdom about their business.  They may not, however, have an effective way to harness that collective wisdom.  A consultant using HelixPLAN brings a process that harnesses the organization’s wisdom (not an ANSWER from the consultant’s wisdom), and gets people into action…as a team.

  • The HelixPLAN method is transferred to people within the organization, so that the organization has the requisite skills to accelerate and sustain its improvement going forward.

What purpose or objectives can be achieved using HelixPLAN?

HelixPLAN has been used to facilitate work sessions around:

  • Customer needs

  • Corporate strategy

  • Alliance/partnership definition

  • Corporate transformation plans

  • Functional tactical plans

  • Resource allocation

  • Project plans

  • Priority setting

  • Problem solving

  • Process improvement, design, reengineering

  • Training program development

  • Action plans of all types

  • And more...

Designing the session:

  • The purpose of the session is discussed with the sponsor(s)

  • Specific objectives and appropriate participants are agreed to with the sponsor

  • Session is designed to engage the participants in achieving the agreed objectives (while the session is designed in advance, the design remains flexible, and is often adjusted during the course of a session to ensure that session objectives are achieved)

Conducting the session:

  • Participants are asked questions by the facilitators…one question at a time (e.g. “what are all the possible things we can do to provide better service?”, or “whose opinion of our success matters?”, or “To what extent is each of the following factors critical to our success?”, or “To what extent are we currently successful in the following initiatives?”, etc.)
  • Participants write ideas/responses on cards.  The cards are posted on the wall so that everyone can see all of the ideas at one time
  • The facilitators help the group “work” the cards in various ways (e.g. to group and label similar ideas, to evaluate, sequence and/or prioritize actions, to assign dates and accountabilities for actions, etc.).  HelixPLAN includes 15 techniques, one of which is appropriate for any type of activity the group may need to perform in the session.  Techniques minimize participants "preaching to the converted", and maximize participants' feeling that their ideas are being heard and dealt with fairly.  Techniques get consensus on decisions by quickly, anonymously determining where people are already in agreement, and providing ways for participants to lobby for their point of view.  At the end of the session, participants are satisfied with the results, because each had their say, and consensus was reached and tested every step of the way

Documenting/reporting the session:

  • All of the ideas on cards, and all of the “work” done to the ideas are fully documented.
    The session report includes all of the “raw” documentation, but also includes:

    • Who participated

    • The scope and objectives of the session

    • The flow and summary of the session

  • Session reports are designed to:

    • help strengthen accountability for decisions reached and actions planned in the meeting

    • provide a complete and concise record of the meeting that is “the next best thing to being there”, for updating key leaders, other teammates, partnering organizations, etc.

 What size group is ideal?

Any size group will work.  HelixPLAN has been used with as few as 3 and as many as 42 people in a session.  Up to approximately 9 participants can work as 1 group.  If there are more than 9 participants, we usually establish table groups of 4-6 people each (switching the composition of the table groups as needed over the course of the session).  

What is the duration of a typical session? (minimum? maximum?)

There is no minimum or maximum session length.  The length is determined by the session objectives.  HelixPLAN can be used for a one-hour session or a multi-day session.

What space and materials are needed for a HelixPLAN session?

Since all ideas and work are posted on the wall, lots of unobstructed wall space is needed!  (For example, for a 2-day session with 20 people, 75-100 linear feet of wall space may be used.)  All of the materials needed in the session come pre-packaged in HelixPLAN Kits (4-foot wide roll of white paper, cards, masking tape, sticky spray, markers, grids and voting dots, name tents – and everything else you need for a work session).  HelixPLAN Kits comes in a box that is 4 feet x 18" X 4", and can be ordered online  (Click here) and shipped anywhere.

What is the cost of a HelixPLAN session?

Contact The Helix Group at 919-870-9345 for pricing.

What is the cost to train and license our own people in HelixPLAN?

Contact The Helix Group at 919-870-9345 for pricing.