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February 2016 - The FoCuSeD™ Facilitator eNewsletter

focused facilitation training


FoCuSeD™ Agile | Gary Rush Facilitation

I’ve been reading about Agile and Waterfall, Agile and organizations, Agile implementation, etc. One common thread that I see throughout all of the articles is that people are the most important element as well as the biggest problem. What I find interesting is that Agile calls for engaging all of the stakeholders – a core part of Agile – it is a track in ICAgile certification, it is a core skill required of the Agile BA, and it is spelled out in the tenants of Agile: Individuals and interaction over process and tools and Customer collaboration over contract negotiation. So why do organizations continue to assign BAs, Scrum Masters, Agile coaches, Product Owners, Project Managers, and others without proper structured facilitation skills training?


The Problem


BAs, Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, Product Owners, Project Managers, and others are told that they need to facilitate the various meetings for Agile. They are given a few insights into how to do this and then told to, “Go do it”. This doesn’t work. Without proper training in facilitation skills, it’s easy for individual stakeholders to insert their own agenda, sidetrack conversations, and undermine any benefit of collaboration. Studies show that more than half of projects fail due to poor management, weak people skills, and poor process methods. So, why not change that?


Let’s do this!


FoCuSeD™ Agile teaches the structured facilitation skills needed to correct the problems of poor management, weak people skills, and poor process methods. It’s not a matter of just, “Go do it.” It requires far more than that. Learning a methodical, repeatable, and structured way to set up the workshop/meeting and deal with people dynamics, makes a huge difference. FoCuSeD™ Agile teaches “how to” form collaborative groups, “how to” deal with difficult people, “how to” challenge the status quo so that innovative ideas surface, “how to” gain engagement, and “how to” actively listen. Active listening makes a significant difference in, engaging people (who doesn’t want to be listened to?), and enabling effective communication. Note: I’ve seen businesses re-engineered simply because this skill brought out what the people were saying but not hearing.


FoCuSeD™ Agile teaches “how to” design effective thought processes. You can’t run a workshop/meeting with “let’s discuss the issue.” Thought processes need to be designed so that the people stay focused and on track, break down issues to manageable chunks, and reach consensus. BAs, Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, Product Owners, Project Managers, and others need to know “how to” bring groups to consensus. Contrary to belief, properly facilitated consensus doesn’t take a long time to reach. FoCuSeD™ Agile teaches “how to” design processes for Project Charters, Release Planning, Requirements – yes, requirements are needed in Agile, Stand-Ups, and After Action Reviews. FoCuSeD™ Agile also encompasses the concept of Time Boxing – which is critical to Agile.


FoCuSeD™ Agile – Team Facilitator Skills Training


BAs, Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, Product Owners, Project Managers, and others not properly trained in structured facilitation skills are risking the failure of Agile and their projects. Companies spend a great deal on training methods, but miss one of the most critical skills – facilitation skills that are crucial in the Agile environment. To truly enable Agile, you need to look at FoCuSeD™ Agile Team Facilitator skills training – it brings the skills that enable all key members to succeed.logo