Facilitating Effective Agile Workshops
The course is part of this learning path
This module will help you to understand exactly what workshops are, and why they are such a powerful business tool. It will help you think about how workshops can be used in an agile context. Lastly, this module will introduce you to the core role of a facilitator, to set the tone for the rest of this learning path.
The objectives of this course are to provide you with and understanding of:
- What workshops are
- Why we use workshops
- How workshops can be used in an agile context
- What facilitation is all about
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 email@example.com to let us know what you think.
Workshops are a powerful and easy way to achieve clarity and create value in day-to-day business. But what kind of activities do you need to run a successful workshop and how do they relate to the Agile mindset? Simply put, a workshop is a structured group meeting enabling participants to reach a predetermined objective in a compressed timeframe supported by a neutral facilitator. Now, that definition's a bit of a mouthful so let's break it down a little. To start with, workshops are structured. They have set activities or topics of discussion. These need to be structured and organized and that structure must be maintained by a facilitator. The facilitator should be a neutral party, someone who's only goal is to make sure that the workshop is successful. They can do this by having a set agenda in mind for the workshop to keep it on track and productive. But what is the point of a workshop? Well, Stacey's Complexity Model reminds us that the further away we are from agreement and certainty, the more complex decision making can become. In everyday business, decisions often sit in the complex and complicated zones and workshops are a really effective way of dealing with these. A session where teams or groups of people can work through problems gives them a chance to think laterally and be creative, helping them understand the complexity of a situation and come closer to an agreement. Because of this, workshops are also a fantastic team building activity. But workshops are old news, predating Agile by a pretty large margin. So, how can we reinterpret workshops from an Agile perspective? Let's take a look at a few of the Agile values and principles to see how they can be applied in the context of a workshop. Two values come to mind. First up, we always need to value people and their interactions over processes and tools. Of course, workshops are a fantastic opportunity to do just this, giving us a chance to interact and work together face to face. The other is that we must value customer collaboration over contract negotiation. While this value needs to be thought about throughout a project, workshops are always a fantastic opportunity to collaborate and can of course include customers. Workshops can be used to apply at least four Agile principles too. Workshops are a great opportunity for the development team to work with business people and collaborate. It's also an efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team face to face. Because they're so efficient, they also help maximize the amount of work not done. Last up, workshops are a neutral space and tend to involve people from different teams. This means that everyone in it will need to self-organize, so Agile teams who are used to this will have an advantage. So, workshops provide opportunities for collaboration and lateral thinking. But what are some of the specific reasons you might run one and when are they most useful? Well, there are three main reasons for most workshops: to make a decision, to clarify a problem or opportunity, or to inform or educate. Scrum teams use workshops to do all three from making decisions in sprint planning, to review, to clarifying ways of working in the retrospective. And that brings us to the end of this video. As we've seen, workshops naturally lend themselves to Agile practices because they provide a fantastic space to practice Agile values and principles. But if they're not well-structured and facilitated, they can become a time sink.
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.