Updated: Jul 21
“The right questions for the right people at the right time are at the heart of healthy group process – a top priority in effective and dynamic facilitation.” -Strachan
One of the skills scrum masters need to master is facilitation. To be a great scrum master, you need to be a good facilitator. Without the quality of good facilitation, the scrum master will only be seen as the master of ceremonies or an event organizer. The skill of good facilitation leads the group attending an event to a high-quality decision. It’s the responsibility of the scrum master to lead and facilitate the scrum events like daily scrum, sprint review, sprint planning, sprint retrospective, and even product backlog refinement sessions. The scrum master needs to facilitate the scrum events, including the people that are from their scrum team or even outside the scrum team.
Scrum masters as facilitating have the power to change the complete direction and remove weaknesses from the groups and path within the goals. By facilitating so many events in the agile journey a scrum master can achieve a lot and becomes an important role in agile. Even though some may feel that the facilitation is just a simple task that does not require any skills they are wrong. In today’s agile way every role and responsibility plays an important part in the accelerated and quality journey of the product and business achievements.
In this article, we will discuss what facilitation means and how scrum master can improve their facilitation skills and lead the group with proper preparation.
What does Facilitation mean?
Facilitation is the art of keeping the group engaged, involving every participant in the discussion, and bringing out quality output from them by directing them in the right direction of the discussion. The output obtained from the event is at some quantity result of the facilitator. Facilitation is somewhat demanding and exhausting because:
· The facilitator requires everyone in the group to keep engaged in conversation
· Make everyone stay focused on the goals and objectives set for the event
· A facilitator needs to be neutral and objective every time
These all tasks require to be done at the same time throughout the event by the facilitator which is a difficult thing. A facilitator needs to help the group to achieve the event goal with shared decisions owned by every participant together.
Tips for Good Facilitation
Invite and Set the Right People, Place, and Time
Scrum master requires relationship-building skills to remove the impediment from the group and build a network among people. Choosing the right people for the event will help them know the relationship in the room and help those building network within them and stakeholders involved in the room.
To keep the creativity flowing within the group it is required to select the right space and time for the event by maintaining the participant’s schedule. So it is wise to pre-plan the event with a more convenient location and appropriate time for every participant and activities to be carried out.
Be a Good Listener
Effective facilitators and active listeners go hand in hand. With active listening, the scrum master can grasp the flow of progress and also predict whether the event is capable to produce the desired outcome. This will also help to raise a question that can change the flow in the right direction to end the session with utmost clarity and outcomes.
Always Be Neutral
The scrum master must be an open communicator encouraging the team to express their view and ideas instead of providing their views. They should avoid participating in the discussion as it may spoil complete collaborative effort and reduce the quality of the outcome. The scrum master must oversee the flow of discussion and guide the team to bring out the desired output. Scrum masters must always be neutral and strictly avoid favoring anyone, any idea, or even any concept.
Wrap Up Event Properly
While wrapping up review the outcomes and see if required outputs are achieved or not. List out what was missed and what was achieved. While wrapping up the agenda ensure that no single agenda is wrapped prematurely just for the sake of completing the event. Ensure every point is discussed to its fullest within the time limit to have an event within the time box. Always be ready for feedback and improving will make scrum master grow along with the team. Always be ready to improve your facilitation skill.
For masters and executives can be sometimes challenging but continuous improvement and learning will make the task easy and worth doing. By using the above tips scrum master can observe a significant growth in their facilitation skills helping the team to achieve desired outcomes.
“Leadership deals with people and their dynamics, which are continually changing. The challenge of leadership is to create change and facilitate growth.”- John C Maxwell
About Advance Agility
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