Agile Team Facilitation

 “It’s a transformational way of leading teams, I’m continuously surprised at how effective it is in breaking down barriers, speeding up understanding, and getting to consensus quickly!” – Marsha Acker

OVERVIEW

Facilitation is a cornerstone skill for successfully leading agile teams. As much of the work in agile teams occurs through face-to-face communication and involves collaboration in nearly all decisions, the ability to facilitate discussion is paramount to success.

In this 3-day course you will develop a greater sense of self-awareness, ability to self-manage, and continuously show-up powerfully with a strong presence.

You will leave the course:

  • With the mindset of a facilitator, and how to achieve it under the toughest of environments and with even jaded teams
  • With specific tools you can deploy in specific scenarios to break down barriers, get to the heart of issues, and have teammates speak candidly and respectfully
  • With an in-depth understanding of the 5 cornerstones of highly productive meetings:
    • hold a group’s agenda,
    • honor the wisdom of the group,
    • maintain neutrality,
    • uphold agile values and principles, and
    • stand calmly in the eye of the storm.
  • With a toolkit to help you prepare so every meeting is productive and useful
  • Able to resolve conflicts and smooth dysfunctions between team members

The objective is for you to leave the course as a trained facilitator — the most critical skill in helping teams be successful.

Detailed Description

This three day course is a fast-paced deep dive into both the mindset and skills of facilitation in the context of agile practices. Participants will explore both the being and doing of facilitation.

Facilitation cannot be taught in a traditional classroom setting alone, it is a practice that is best learned through doing and learning as you go. Because of this, we place a heavy emphasis  on experiential learning. Several opportunities to practice the skills and receive feedback are provided. Participants will hone their skills of what to look for by both leading facilitated sessions and being an active participant in others facilitated sessions.

Many participants describe their experience in this course as transformational, seeing a new way of leading their teams. Here are some more tangible things you can expect. Through a variety of hands-on experiences and opportunities to practice facilitation participants will learn to:

  • Understand the beliefs and assumptions underneath the facilitation mindset that enable you to lead collaborative meetings with confidence and ease
  • Learn and practice the art of  planning, designing and conducting effective collaborative sessions
  • Engage teams in collaborative processes that allow all voices to be heard so that the outputs are more effective
  • Define and reach consensus on decisions within the team’s scope of authority
  • Understand the impact of different facilitation techniques and learn the art to making in the moment decisions
  • Give and receive feedback to grow your own facilitation skills and that of others

Topics Covered:

  • The Role of Facilitators – Understand the role of facilitators and how it differs from other ways of running a meeting.
  • The Facilitator Stance – Mindset and skills required for team facilitation.
  • The Facilitation Process – Learn a structured process for planning, designing, and conducting your facilitated sessions.
  • Planning and Designing meetings – Learn how to design an outcome-oriented facilitated session that is collaborative and meets desired outcomes.
  • Listening and Questioning – Critical skills in working with groups. Learn techniques for building these muscles and improving group communication and your own communication skills.
  • Getting Started – Techniques and tools for kicking off each facilitated session.
  • Exploring and Evaluating – Experience different facilitation tools for exploring and evaluating – before you get to deciding.
  • Deciding – Understand different decision-making models, when to use them, and learn techniques for helping the team move out of the ‘spin’ cycle and reach consensus.
  • Remote Facilitation – Learn key techniques for using facilitation skills in virtual environments.
  • Facilitation Simulations – Get hands-on practice and feedback in designing and facilitating sessions.

Course Materials

Each participant receives:

  • A facilitator’s bag: A black messenger bag, box of markers, large posit-it notes, small post-it notes, blue tape, white tape, 1 deck of meeting management cards, and a pen.
  • Full color spiral bound participant guide and toolkit
  • A Kindle or iBooks copy of the participant guide, available for download after the class
  • Meeting Planning and Design Canvases, available for download after the class

Certifications

  • ICAgile Team Facilitation Certification (ICP-ATF). The course is accredited by the International Consortium for Agile (ICAgile). Participants are eligible for the ICAgile Team Facilitation Certification upon completion of this course. In order to receive the certification participants must attend the full course (not missing more than 1 hour of class time) and complete the simulations on Day 1 and Day 3.
  • Project Management Institute (PMI) This course is eligible for  21 PMI PDU’s