Uncovering the Essentials of Skilled Facilitation for Agile Teams

Home » Uncovering the Essentials of Skilled Facilitation for Agile Teams

When you moderate the meeting in this manner, the team won’t become confused about your role or purpose. Your job is to ensure that the entire group becomes engaged early in the planning process, and then stays engaged, managing conflicts before they impede the group’s progress. Design the format of your meetings to promote discussion and participation from everyone, beginning on day one.

team facilitation

Don’t take this feedback personally; instead, use it to improve your approach to facilitation. Team Facilitation starts with developing the right mindset and meeting preparation process. It’s informed by the things you believe as a facilitator, such as believing the group has the collective wisdom to solve the challenge at hand. Being aware of your bias means understanding how you can intentionally or unintentionally influence the group process. Enablement, much like facilitation, encompasses the act of empowering and supporting individuals or groups to achieve their goals. It involves providing the necessary tools, resources, and guidance to enable others to accomplish tasks or overcome challenges.

Techniques and Training for Top Scrum Facilitation Skills

Remote team members need as much attention and care as in-house staff and measures should be taken to stay engaged and in clear communication with those people. Practice curiosity during meetings by imagining any disturbance or difficulty as a messenger bringing you an important bit of information about the group. If you notice something of this sort, you do not need to take upon yourself the whole responsibility of solving the problem.

You should also consider the benefits and drawbacks of each method and tool, and how you will balance them to create a varied, interactive, and effective session. Encouraging participation by everyone is a key facilitation skill that greatly enhances collaboration and creativity in the workplace. A skilled facilitator understands the importance of creating an inclusive environment where every team member feels comfortable and empowered to contribute their ideas and perspectives.

Facilitation is a balancing act

Check back after each major part of the process to see if there are questions and that everyone understands and agrees with decisions that were made. Some groups feel strongly about reaching consensus on issues before moving ahead. If your group is one of them, be sure to read a good manual or book on consensus decision making.

  • The team facilitator can help the team leader by clarifying the team’s purpose, facilitating the team’s decision-making, and ensuring the team’s alignment and commitment.
  • The team facilitator is not a member of the team, but rather a neutral and impartial guide who helps the team work together more effectively and efficiently.
  • There is also the important job of keeping domineering people from monopolizing the meeting or ridiculing the ideas of others.
  • In the process of documenting your process, you might also find that you are missing something or could do something better.
  • You might even find that by being open about the purpose and reasoning behind a project you invite new ideas that can improve any project or initiative.
  • Anticipating potential challenges or conflicts and having contingency plans in place are vital for a successful facilitation process.

By the end of the course, you will have your facilitation plan to improve your next team discussion or Scrum event. At certain times, you may be better off trying to speak to that person in private to discover what drives them, and at minimum, give feedback to help them understand how their behavior affects the group. Interpersonal communication is again an important part of effective facilitation and ensuring you have these facilitation skills can make your job in a workshop much easier. The ability to handle and diffuse tension is a skill that sets expert facilitators apart from others. Group facilitation is often exciting and productive, though differences of opinion can form in workshops or meetings you might be facilitating.

What is business management?

A facilitator understands that being an active listener also means using positive feedback to encourage quiet people to get directly involved in the session. If you were to work on improving just one facilitation skill, this is a great place to start. A retrospective is a learning tool that assists your team in reviewing their successes, challenges, and lessons learned from a project, period, or goal. It can help them celebrate their achievements, recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and come up with ideas for improvement. To conduct a retrospective, you should schedule a dedicated time and space for it and invite your team to attend. Additionally, choose a suitable format and method for the retrospective, such as the Start-Stop-Continue, the Four Ls, or the Starfish.

team facilitation

Effective business management means being having organizational oversight and setting both long and short term goals that align with your business strategy. Having realistic expectations of a meeting or project means not overloading the agenda with items, giving your team all the tools they need to help make it a success and facilitating effectively. In the broader scope of change management, having realistic expectations means knowing the purpose, parameters, and means of creating that change and weighing that against your resources. Remember that the experience of being a team manager is very different than being a software engineer, a salesperson or being involved in customer support.

Create a success wall

Balancing tasks and workload is one of the key responsibilities of a team manager. Often, a manager is spinning several plates at once, and it can be very easy to be distracting and overwhelmed. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for group interaction and great team managers know what format will work best for the task at hand.

team facilitation

Offer strategies, resources, and ideas for the group to work with, but not opinions. When you finish a point or a part of the meeting process, sum up what was done and decided, and pause for questions and comments before moving on. Learn to “feel out” how long to pause — too short, and people don’t really have time to ask questions; too long, and folks will start to get uncomfortable from the silence. Before ending the meeting, summarize the key decisions that were made and what else happened. Be sure also to summarize the follow-up actions that were agreed to and need to take place.

Timebox tasks

Acknowledge that sharing opinions, discussing difficult topics or bringing new ideas to a group is hard and reward the effort your team makes to be a part of the conversation. Being out of the comfort zone can be made more comfortable by the actions of an empathetic, positive manager. Healthy businesses benefit from the wellbeing of their staff and an environment where staff members are encouraged to contribute to the overall health of the business. Careful planning and designing of the structured time you will be spending with your team will improve the results of those endeavors. Change management is the art of ensuring change actually happens and is adopted by your team – confidence and authority are key components of making this happen, though be sure not to silence your team either.

team facilitation

You might even find that by being open about the purpose and reasoning behind a project you invite new ideas that can improve any project or initiative. Having strong and clear processes is one aspect of business management – get into the habit of having processes in place and clearly documenting them. Anyone leading a team can benefit from continuing to learn and by not resting on your laurels or believing you know everything on a particular subject.

How can you plan a team facilitation session that satisfies everyone?

Team managers have a responsibility of communication not only to their team but to the entire organization. This responsibility goes both ways – senior management should hear the concerns and ideas of every staff member, and every member of a company should regularly hear about what managers and executives are thinking. These are just glimpses of the vast pool of techniques a competent agile team facilitation Scrum Master or Agile team facilitator can implement. For a comprehensive understanding and hands-on experience with these techniques, you might consider undergoing professional training, such as our Professional Scrum Facilitation Skills™ course. Skilled facilitators can help drive discussions toward a common understanding or agreement, supporting the team’s decision-making process.

Stick to the agenda

A nice way to close a meeting is to go around the room and have people say one word that describes how they are feeling now that all of this work has been done. You’ll usually get answers from “exhausted” to “energized!” If it’s been a good meeting, even the “exhausted” ones will stick around before leaving. Groups have a tendency to wander far from the original agenda, sometimes without knowing it. When you hear the discussion wandering off, bring it to the group’s attention.

Managers have many roles and responsibilities and in each of them, the way they act can have a huge impact on the mood of the team and how they respond to tasks. Going into a team meeting where you will be holding the space or facilitating conversation while distracted, agitated or not fully present will invariably have an effect on the success of the meeting. Effective facilitation skills can influence the success of your Scrum implementation dramatically. Facilitation ensures that all team members actively participate, that their voices are heard, and that they collectively work toward shared objectives.