It passes so quickly that you’ll miss the opportunity if you’re not paying attention.
It’s that initial moment in the process when a person introduces themselves, shares who they are and what and their organization does.
That moment is rich with potential and it goes by quickly.
What To Listen For
Be prepared for the moment in advance by having your co-facilitor serve as a scribe, recording the person’s name on a single sheet of paper or in a note-taking tool like Evernote.
Then your scribe should listen for and record any of the following items that the person mentions:
Pain Points / Opportunities
“I’m Juanita and I work for the Finance Department. We use Dynamics to produce final paychecks when an employee departs and work with Legal and Procurement and Travel to ensure that any garnishments are taken out prior to their final paycheck and that any reimbursements for travel expenses are also included in their last paycheck. We also produce W-2s for departed employees at the end of the year. It’s a challenge and a very manual process to get all of this done thoroughly in a short timeframe, particularly when an employee departure occurs quickly.”
Pain Points / Opportunities
What To Do With This
Hold on to them. They will come in handy in the structured conversation that will unfold in the hours and days that lie ahead.
Nearly every one of these nouns are added to a Glossary. Many of them will eventually be placed around a Circle of Interaction (COIN) diagram that clearly summarizes the process, collaborators and deliverables on a single page.
Why This Matters
When it comes to facilitating and producing a clear understanding of a domain under discussion, if it hasn’t been written then it hasn’t been said. To say it another way, if it’s been said, but hasn’t been recorded, then it will not have the potential to be added to design documentation.
Being intentional to listen for and record things that a stakeholder mentions serves the stakeholder and the conversational process well. It keeps things agile. It serves the stakeholder well by respecting their contribution to the conversation. It serves the process by maintaining velocity, by creating a corporate memory of what was mentioned and by listening for those things which will be part of the future-state design documentation.
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I love this classic scene from The Office where the office staff are called into a compulsory meeting to hear the latest blah, blah, blah..
Nobody is paying attention to what is being said. Everybody is so disaffected and bored by these meetings that they gamify them by intently watching the DVD screen saver, all the while anticipating it's perfect landing in one of the corners.
As meeting facilitators, the obligation and challenge is on us to create meetings that are purposeful, well-directed and worthy of the engagement and attention of the attendees.
For further suggestions on effectively scheduling meetings, consider Meyer's Rules of Order
A practitioner of agile design maintains a productive environment characterized by high velocity, collaborative engagement and clarity of ideation.
Creating this environment requires intentionality. For your consideration, I offer these notions that I use to influence my practice of leading and facilitating teams using agile design methods.
I help organizations design solutions collaboratively using agile design methods leveraging my vast experience in survey software solutions, enterprise architecture, business analysis, Pragmatic Marketing, user experience design and performing in musical ensembles.
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