April 17, 2017

Scrum Master as Facilitator

Written by Jannette Brace

In December, I wrote a blog about the role of Scrum Master as a Facilitator, see it here. In today’s post I want to go into a bit more detail about the skill needed to be a good Facilitator. Many of you may be thinking that facilitating is easy, you just stand in front of the room and lead meetings. In fact, facilitators aren’t always in front of the audience, and it takes a lot of practice and skills to be a really good facilitator.

So what skills do you need to be a good facilitator?

  • Be Present – understand how your body language, voice intonation and tempo impact the team.
    • Do you have something distracting you? Check it at the door.
    • Do you have hot buttons that the team pushes? Address them in your own time, don’t let them be activated in the session.
  • Have a tool bag of techniques for driving to outcomes.
    • How do you get teams to coalesce on a decision?
    • How do you identify root causes?
    • How do you ensure everyone feels heard?
  • Address team dysfunctions – understand what is going on for the attendees.
    Humans show how they are feeling about the process in many ways, so facilitators need a large tool bag to deal with personalities in the team like:

    • The Whisperer
    • The Loudmouth
    • The Know-it-all
    • The Silent One
    • The Head Shaker
    • The Doubter
  • Have a good “Wrap Up”
    • Ensure action items are assigned
    • Ensure decisions are recorded
    • Track and follow-up on parking lot items

All of these skills can be learned and practiced to make Scrum Master better facilitators. Use of facilitator skills extends beyond Scrum Events to everything the Scrum Master does.

To develop your skills and learn how to be a good facilitator, check out our ICAgile Team Facilitator certified class being held May 9-10 in Fairfax, VA.

In this class you learn and practice facilitating through a number of interactive exercises that relate to facilitating anywhere as well as to specific Scrum Events.

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