I had the chance to attend the Agile Team Facilitation conducted by NTUC LearningHub in conjunction with ICAgile from the 10th to 11th April 2021. The class was conducted virtually and is accredited by ICAgile (https://www.icagile.com/).
The course is $2200 SGD and 95% of it is subsidized by IBF Singapore (https://www.ibf.org.sg/programmes/Pages/ProgrammeFinder.aspx). The remaining 5% is claimable via your SkillsFuture Credits. Meaning that this course is $0!
You can signup for any of the Agile courses here: https://www.ntuclearninghub.com/ibf/
The whole purpose of Agile Team Facilitation is knowing how to facilitate a meeting to achieve certain outcomes. I learnt quite a few interesting tactics on how to properly faciliate a meeting, which revolves around letting participants know that their insights are valued in the team.
Many a times, the junior team members will be hesitant in sharing as they might think that their ideas are “bad”. Agile Team Facilitation teaches you how to overcome that.
Personally, I think that the “Diverge 1st, Converge Later” tactic is the most insightful for me. After some self reflection, I found that I can be quite insistent when it comes to ideas, and this doesn’t really helps to brainstorm on ideas within the team.
- Introduction is important. Engage the team members earlier on in the meeting/discussion. This keeps them involved in the discussion. You are also able to leverage their experiences. Find commonalities within the team and we wouldn’t need to start from ground zero.
- Setting ground rules (Social Contract). Ground rules should be set via the team (https://jamboard.google.com/d/1jN0G9jTo7MoUkpFrk4H90moMqWPzivkDhfiTznrt3XQ/viewer?f=0), so that they have ownership and commitment over what’s happening at the meeting. The process of getting consensus is called “Dot Voting”. We let everyone express what is useful for them, and make them choose what is the most important for them.
- Inspection. Go through their works (such as sharing the social contract), their sharing opinions to gain their respect. Everybody is looking for their works to be validated. Imagine if you did something, and your bosses didn’t bother to take a look at your work.
- Break the ice. Find a common (non-threatening) topic and get everybody to talk. If there’s no connection, there’s no correction.
- Have an element of randomness/surprise. For example, it doesn’t need to be always choosing team 1, 2, 3, 4 in sequence to present.
- Appreciate silence. When asked a question, be ready to wait for up to 15s. This allows the participant to process. After 15s, if nobody talks, then you need to be ready to talk as the participants have decided not to talk.
- We can multi-task but not multi-focus.
- Promote transparency. Builds on the fundamental nature of trust.
- Actively engage people from time to time. This includes activities, questioning, assigning roles etc.
- Diverge 1st, then Converge. Ask everybody to come up with 2/3 ideas individually (diverge), and subsequently vote on the best idea (converge).
- Get participants involved by asking participants to “arrowing” fellow participants. This helps to increase collaboration between participants. For example, instead of a facilitator asking for people to get inputs, you could ask the participants to decide who is next to share.
- Consistency of transparency of things that you do. This builds trust within the team
- Try to get people to readout pointers. This lets participants know that the facilitator takes note of everyone in the meeting, and there’s an anticipation of the activity.
The below are snippets of what I thought was interesting throughout the course.
What is Agile?
It’s a mindset with 12 principles and 4 values. (Mindset + Values + Principles). It is based on continuous/increment improvement over a period of time.
4 Values of Agile
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
- Working software over comprehensive documentation.
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
- Responding to change over following a plan.
VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity)
The idea of Agile is to use the 4 values to support customers in times of VUCA.
Prioritize Incremental Value & Customers Feedback
Agile is about providing incremental value to your customers, and using the customers feedback to iterate and improve on the product.
Iron Triangle of Project Management
In Agile, think about flipping the iron triangle of project management.
The time and the money should be fixed, while the scope should be kept flexible.
ShuHaRi – Method of Adopting Agile
AWE (And What Else) – Coaching Question
From what I learned, asking “And What Else” is a great coaching question to get someone to speak up more.
It allows you to go deeper and understand the person better.
Situation Leadership Framework
Using the competent and the commitment axis.
- High Competent, High Commitment: High Performer
- High Competent, Low Commitment: Not Motivated
Support. Ask Questions. Let’s Talk. You Decide.
- Low Competent, Low Commitment: Not Right Fit, Confused
Direct. Support. I Decide.
- Low Competent, High Commitment: New Joiners
Direct. I Decide.
POWER Plan Meeting Framework
- Purpose – What is the purpose of this meeting?
- Outcomes – What are the outcomes and/or deliverables resulting from this meeting?
- What’s In It For Me? – Quickly and clearly inspire and excite participants about the broader vision that the meeting services and the impact that the meeting outcomes will have.
- Engage – One way to engage with participants is with an exciting statement
- Roles & Responsibilities – What are participants and stakeholders actually empowered to do?
4 Stages Of Team (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing)
The idea of understanding a team’s formation is that you know when to intervene, and what to intervene at each distinct stage of a team.
- Forming Activities: Give direction, training
- Storming Activities: Provide coaching
- Norming Activities: Share purpose
- Performing Activities: Support with resources
During Forming & Storming, provide more direction and coaching.
During Norming & Performing, provide more support, delegation and resources for the team to perform well.