Facilitating Effective Agile Workshops
The course is part of this learning path
This final module focuses on the positive action you can take to keep improving as a workshop facilitator.
The objectives of this course are to provide you with and understanding of:
- What grouping is
- Why grouping is such an effective workshop technique
- Grouping techniques
- The importance of consistent note taking
- How to coach note takers
- Workshop anti-patterns you need to avoid
This course is aimed at Scrum Masters who want to improve their individual knowledge of facilitating workshops in service to their Scrum team and their wider organization.
Prerequisites of the Certifications
There are no specific pre-requisites to study this course.
We welcome all feedback and suggestions - please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you think.
Workshops are all about cross-functional collaboration and lateral thinking. One of the best ways you can facilitate this is to use groups. But why is this the case? To answer that question, we need to understand why breaking workshops into smaller groups can be effective and how to do this without interrupting the flow and productivity of the workshop. So, there are a bunch of great reasons that smaller groups work well within a workshop. One of the best reasons to group in workshops is to simplify communication. If you're facilitating a workshop with say nine people and you're trying to tackle a decision, it can be time consuming for everyone to have their say and to contribute to the discussion. If, instead, you break the workshop up into three groups of three and ask each group to have that same discussion and then rapidly present their group's thoughts to everyone else, more people will get the chance to add value to the conversation in the same amount of time. In the workshop environment, you may find yourself facilitating people who don't normally work together. By creating smaller groups, you can promote cross-functional working and give developers and business people a chance to work together. This will let them learn from each other and give each other feedback in a way that working in the larger format group meeting can't do. A useful technique when breaking workshops up in smaller groups is to get each group to tackle a unique problem. Each group can have a bit of time to work through a problem and then everyone rotates. This tactic allows different people in the group to bring their skills and experience to the table. It can also help build trust and respect between group members and gives everyone the opportunity to create as much value as they can. So, using smaller groups is effective because it's a great way to break down barriers to effective, rich communication and collaboration and promotes the skills, intelligence, and experience of everyone in the workshop. But what are some of the ways you can break workshops up into groups? Let's go through a few of them. Get everyone to line up and self-organize by a random criteria. This is a great ice breaking activity as it gets everyone talking. You can ask them to line up according to their shoe size, their height, their hair length, or the distance they live from the venue. Once everyone is in their place, divide them as you see fit. Give everyone an instruction that is vague enough that they will all have unique ways of doing it. Ask them to spin on their chairs, then divide them up by the direction they landed in. Ask them to make any number between one and 10 using their fingers behind their backs, then pull the number out and group them accordingly. Or you could pair everyone off and ask them to play rock paper scissors and group winners and losers however you want. The key thing here is that it should get everyone laughing and talking, but only take a minute to do. Your imagination is the limit here. Ask everyone to grab a piece of fruit, then divide them by the fruit they chose. Put different colored Post-its under each chair and ask everyone to grab their Post-it and find others with the same color or maybe each group must have one of each color. Have fun, be creative, and try to think of something that might resonate with your workshop attendees. Simplicity is the name of the game with this one. Ask simple questions like beach holiday or skiing trip, yoga or running, reading or series binge. With each question, you can further divide the groups and have a laugh as you go. Last up, we have the cluster. Ask people to cluster together based on a random criteria. Maybe it's based on the number of siblings they have or the color of their hair or their eyes or the length of time they've been at the organization. Regardless of how you choose to group people as a facilitator, you need to know your audience. This will help you make the right choice on fun and quick ways to get your workshops into smaller groups and working effectively. So, that's it for this video. As we've seen, there are loads of great reasons to group people in workshops. And there's also a bunch of ways you can do this quickly whilst having a bit of fun.
About the Author
Tony has over 20 years’ experience in Business Development, Business Change, Consulting and Project/Programme Management working with public, private and third sector organisations.
He has helped organisations to design and create process and procedures to align ways of working with corporate strategy. A highly motivated and detailed solution provider utilising a wide range of methods and frameworks to provide structure whilst promoting creativity and innovation.
As a confident and self-motivated professional with excellent communication skills Tony is able to bring people together and get them working as a team quickly.
Tony is an Agile and Scrum trainer with a vast knowledge spanning IT Systems, Business Change, Programme and Project Management. With excellent presentation skills and a solid background, he ensures that all clients gain maximum benefit from his training. He has successfully guided those new to the industry through their initial training, helped experienced staff as they progress in their careers and worked at Director level advising on best use and practice, as well as tailoring courses to fulfil the exact needs of clients.