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Great Job!! As a facilitator your meeting is going well, the participants have generated new ideas and you have lead them through discussing these ideas. Now it’s time for the meeting to converge and some decisions to be made. How do you build consensus?
In many meetings, participants want to stick to their own ideas, get excited with past-paced thinking and make hasty decisions and some others might have trouble thinking creatively.
What can you do as a facilitator to help the group develop inclusive alternatives and synthesize them into a solution that will work for everyone?
Inclusive principles promote a both/and mind set. Let’s take an example:
A large team was organized into two components teams, one building the workflow engine and the other building the user interface and business logic of a credit approval system. The team building the workflow engine were moving slow due to complications they uncovered while the user interface team had created a lot of their solutions and now waiting for the other team. This irritated the workflow team and as they continued to get delayed they became more and more defensive and harder to work with. The business was getting impatient and were always conveyed the message from a outspoken member of the workflow team that they could not find common ground to work with the user interface team.
The scrum master decided to host a one day event to bring the two teams together. The started with a team building event where each group had two participants one from each of the component teams. They had to play a game to compete with the other groups and surviving and winning in the game meant depending on each other.
The event was a huge success where everyone developed good relationships with each other as well learnt a lot about each other and became more and more comfortable with each other.
The scrum master maintained the same pairs and re-stated their product goal which was to build a credit approval system that would change the game in the bank being able to onboard new customers. He reminded them it was not to build a superior workflow engine or a superior user interface.
The pairs in each group were asked to work together to discuss the design and plan so the product can come together over smaller iterations to provide incremental value to their customers. This exercise forced each participant to think as a team and bring their best expertise to the table.
Initially the two sides locked horns and argued over who was to blame. The breakthrough came when they all shared a common concern
Affixing blame, polarizing into opposite camps and calling for help from the powers that may be is a typical strategy for dealing with problems. In this example the participants focused on discovering a common concern and they aimed at delivering on a shared goal. This helped them collaborate effectively and take constructive self-empowered action
In the next part, I will share another technique, creative reframing to build consensus and help groups make decisions.
The internet and social media are full of Agile, Scrum, Product Management, and DevOps jargon, including incorrect and misunderstood concepts. This could be problematic for a learner seeking knowledge. Without a course with Scrum Alliance, Scrum.org, or DevOps Institute, this knowledge is difficult to achieve.
The Concepts & Beyond blog is a free suite of articles and videos packaged in tiny chunks. You will learn or refine your knowledge and skills to help your team and organization be effective. When you want to take your knowledge further, we invite you to join us for our Certified ScrumMaster(CSM), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified DevOps Engineering Foundations (DOEF) and Training from the Back of The Room courses across the USA and Canada.
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