Estimating time needed for exercises

Accurately estimating the time needed is practically impossible, but what you can and should do is follow the plan – keep abreast of how much time you planned, how much time you have left, whether you are running late or rushing ahead. You will also be busy moderating the discussion and monitoring the participants and your evaluation plan, i.e. checking whether you cover all the issues you planned, so this means concentrating simultaneously on three different levels: the technical (time, duration), interactive (monitoring the group and directing the communication process) and substantive (are evaluation issues opened as planned and is the group responding to them with the expected level of interest). It is quite natural that you cannot always be at the top of your game in terms of concentration and keeping everything under control. That is why you are not alone on the team. Deviations from the time schedule are quite normal when the process is set up to respond to the needs of the group. You can use the timing and tempo of additional questions to manage the sequencing and the flow of thoughts, wrap up issues and move on to concluding remarks. Steering a discussion means managing the process through interventions as opportunities arise. You cannot expect to exhaust your three evaluation questions by waiting until no one has anything more to say about the first in order to move on to the second, all the while expecting that the duration of the exercise will be exactly as planned.