Session 22 – An introduction to Agile for facilitators: The value of team facilitation in agile team practice

Date:  Tuesday 27 October 2020                  Time:    10am                              Length:   60 Minutes

Stephen Thorpe

This session is designed for:
Emerging facilitators                      Still developing                   Wisdom Keeper                  Everyone

Will this session be recorded?                                       Yes

Session Outline

From a team facilitation lens Agile software development processes, such as in the popular Agile Scrum process framework, are pragmatically nothing very new. The ‘ceremonies’ of sprint planning, sprint review, sprint retrospective and the daily stand-up are what facilitators might easily recognise as processes that allow team alignment and structure for the communication between members, or between teams.

Scrum ‘artefacts’ are what might be seen by facilitators in the form of a road map, an action plan, and an outcome agreement on what something might look like when it is complete. The ‘product backlog’ is what facilitators might commonly identify as a prioritised ‘to-do list’; perhaps with some responsibilities, resources and estimation of time attached. The ‘sprint backlog’ is essentially a sub-set of the most important work that the team have identified to tackle first, second, third and so on, and a shared agreement to split various activities amongst the team. The ‘product increment’ is alignment on what the outcome should hopefully be and what it may perhaps look like when it has been achieved by the team and ready to present to a particular stakeholder called the ‘product owner’.

This session provides a high-level introduction to Agile for facilitators using the Agile Scrum process. It will identify some of the similarities with the tried and true practices of the every day facilitator and also explore the areas where facilitation may be able to take an agile team deeper into transformation and breakthrough territory.

Key Learning Objectives

  • To explore the Agile Scrum process framework
  • To identify similarities in Agile methods and common facilitation practices.
  • To discuss areas where facilitation may take agile teams deeper into transformative levels.

How this session contributes to the AFN Community of Practice

This session will be ideal for any facilitators interested in knowing about Agile, and perhaps looking to work in the area of Agile teams or with software and technology teams.

Toolkit takeaways

The session will include a manual that will include web links to common Agile practices, a high-level description of the Scrum roles, ceremonies and artifacts, and potentially inclusion of a work in progress article being written for the Group Facilitation Journal.

Speaker Biographies

Dr Stephen Thorpe
Stephen is a Senior Lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology, a Director of Zenergy – a network of Facilitators generating presence & collective intelligence towards our vision of ‘Whole People Co-operating in a Sustainable World’. He is a Founding Director of the Project Management Research Office and recently he has led the creation of an innovative new Master of IT Project Management. With a background in facilitation, user-centered design and technology, he integrates domains of technology and collaboration. Recent work includes a paper with Dr Glyn Thomas (2019) on Enhancing the facilitation of online groups in higher education, published in Interactive Learning Environments, and a chapter co-authored with Dr Dale Hunter on The Gift of Presence in Groups published in Social Ecology and Education: Transforming Worldviews and Practices.