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What Is A War Room?

what is a war room

‘War room’, it sounds like a military headquarters. Although the term originated in wartime, today it refers to a place where teams within an organisation work together intensively and make decisions to achieve goals. But what exactly is a war room? And how do you set one up? In this article, we answer these questions and more.

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What is a war room?

A war room is a physical room where a team works on strategic and creative processes. It is also a place where quick decisions are made when a major incident occurs. In a war room, all the necessary information and tools are available, allowing the team to move and decide quickly. Virtual war rooms also exist.

War rooms originates from the world wars

The word ‘war room’ comes from World War I. It was the first war room where military leaders and strategists discussed how to win the war together. The most well known war room belonged to Winston Churchill during the Second World War. Nowadays, you can visit the Churchill War Rooms in London.

A war room vs. a meeting room

Although a war room and a meeting room look similar, they are not the same. A meeting room is where (business) information is shared by someone leading the meeting. These meetings often last up to 2 hours. A war room, on the other hand, is for collaborative work by everyone in the room. Participants can move around, ask questions and brainstorm solutions. These sessions can last all day or several days.

What is the purpose of a war room?

The purpose of a war room is to find one or more solutions to complex problems efficiently and effectively. But improving collaboration is also an important aspect. You use a war room for:

  • problem solutions
  • project management
  • crisis management
  • decision-making
  • campaigning

How does a war room work?

Direct stakeholders are brought together in a war room. These are team members, stakeholders and decision-makers. All stakeholders work together intensively in the room. They can brainstorm, share information, develop strategies and make decisions.

6 benefits of a war room meeting

War room meetings offer many benefits to a project team. These benefits allow you to work effectively on a project. Below, we are going to explain to you how you can benefit from doing this.

1. Effective communication

In a war room, communication is direct and open. To make decisions and take action quickly, every team member can provide input. This ensures greater commitment, a better sense of ownership and a good outcome.

2. Concrete visibility of processes

In a war room, visualisation is made easier. Digital devices such as computers, whiteboards and video equipment allow you to share ideas, information, and processes instantly. 

3. Limits distractions

In ‘normal’ meetings or work processes, you can be distracted by colleagues or other projects. In a war room, distractions are at a minimum. This is because everyone is focused on the project.

4. Keeps stakeholders informed

A war room allows direct stakeholders to be involved in the project and its progress. This could include those working on the project or those who need to be involved in making a decision. War rooms provide an opportunity to inform stakeholders of the issues affecting the business.

5. Improves teamwork

Major projects involve multiple teams within an organisation. A war room brings these teams together to foster collaboration. By working together intensively, team members discover what the strengths and weaknesses are. This enables them to deliver an effective outcome.

6. Quickly adaptable

Projects and incidents change. For example, shape, scope, and teams. In a war room, you can quickly switch and respond to these changes. This is more effective and efficient than switching (online) messages back and forth between different stakeholders.

War rooms provide many benefits to the team. If you are looking for an environment where you can work efficiently and effectively, a war room is a good choice. But it doesn’t always have to be like this. So it is wise to ask yourself the following questions before booking a war room. Is the answer ‘yes’? Then a war room is a good idea.

  • Is the goal or problem complex?
  • Does it require intensive collaboration to achieve?
  • Is there a need for real-time communication?
  • Is there a need for rapid and immediate change?
  • Is there a need for multiple teams across the organisation?

8 tips for creating a war room

Do you want to set up a war room for important projects, incidents, or issues? There are several best practices for creating the best war room. In the following, we will give you our top 8 tips.

1. Choose a dedicated space and location

First of all, make sure you have a good location. Team members will spend quite a few hours in the war room. So the room must be comfortable, offer privacy, be accessible and have all the necessary equipment. An external space is a good choice for this. At Wezoo you can book a war room quickly and easily. Use the facilities filter to select the options you want. For example, near to public transport, an interactive display, near to public parking, and privacy solutions.

wezoo facility filter
Wezoo’s facility filters for Near Public Transport, Interactive Display, Lockers, and Privacy.

2. Only invite the necessary people

Include only the most important people needed for the project. The more people in a war room, the more complex it becomes. So ask yourself if everyone is needed to achieve the goal. The golden rule is to invite no more than eight people.

3. Get the right equipment

Time is precious during an incident. So make sure you have the right tools in advance. For example, a (digital) whiteboard, video conferencing equipment, software tools, and office supplies. But also think about food and drink. At Wezoo’s marketplace, you can use the facilities filter to find venues that offer coffee and tea, and catering services.

wezoo facility filter
Wezoo’s facility filters for Coffee and Tea included, and Catering.

4. Set priorities

The next step is to prioritise the project. Which issues require immediate attention? And which can wait (temporarily). Create a roadmap of what needs to be done and when. This is a good way of keeping the team on track.

5. Assign roles and responsibilities

Assign roles to all team members and make sure that these roles are clear to everyone. This should include a leader, contact person, note-taker and possibly a deputy. Clear roles will help to keep things on track, ensure accountability and streamline communication. Especially if there is an incident.

6. Establish communication expectations

Establish communication expectations with the team. Is direct messaging allowed? Or should everyone be able to access information via a shared folder? Also, share the agenda items in advance of the meeting so that you can stay on track. It is also a good idea to share resources. This allows people to prepare.

7. Assign a point of contact

A contact person shares information with external relevant stakeholders before, during and after the meeting. This person is also the point of contact for participants. They can ask questions and receive up-to-date information. By appointing one person, you will ensure minimal communication distraction and effective collaboration. Also, make sure the contact person informs stakeholders when an update is available.

library hnk amsterdam sloterdijk
The spacious room ‘Library’ at HNK Amsterdam Sloterdijk

8. Ensure the room has a lot of space

Finally, it is important to make sure there is enough space. A war room should be large enough for people to move around and exchange ideas. From writing on flipcharts to brainstorming in pairs. The space should also provide access for people to stretch their legs (outdoors) and to eat something. Keep privacy in mind, though, as you don’t want the ‘enemy’ to be watching. The ‘Library’ at HNK Amsterdam Sloterdijk is a good example of a spacious room.

Book a war room with Wezoo

A war room is a dynamic space where project teams work together intensively to solve (complex) problems, achieve goals or make decisions during incidents. This article has given you an insight into the benefits of a war room and how to set one up.

Are you looking for a suitable external location for a war room? Then Wezoo is the right choice. You can book a room quickly and easily via our marketplace. You choose the date, time and place, and we take care of everything else.

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