When I facilitate sessions with the team I struggle to get feedback

Last post 03:35 pm July 18, 2022
by Mario De Caerlé
7 replies
11:05 am July 13, 2022

Hi all,

When I facilitate sessions with the team I struggle to get feedback from a large number of team members and it seems to be the same people who contribute. This could be due to cultural/hierarchical beliefs and differences in the team or other reasons. We have tried using Miro which has helped with some involvement as people have written ideas and we have discussed them as a team afterwards - this works well in Retrospectives. 

However, I am trying to refrain from picking on individuals as I am aware we are having some challenges with Psychological safety and I am conscious of worsening this. Does anyone have any tips on how to encourage more feedback and insights from incredibly quiet team members? 

Thanks all

05:16 pm July 13, 2022

How well are they collaborating during the rest of the working day?

09:21 pm July 13, 2022

What @Ian said because that is when the collaboration means the most. 

But I will give you a technique I have used in similar situations.  Instead of trying to get some people to talk, I focus on getting the most vocal to not talk.  I use things likes "Dave, I believe that everyone appreciates and respects your opinion on this topic, but I would really like to hear others opinions as well.  Maybe someone that doesn't usually speak up would be willing to give me their opinion?".  If that doesn't work I go further and let people know that in the future I will start to ask specific people for their opinions instead of leaving it as an open invitation.  I explain that I know there are more opinions and viewpoints in this team than are being expressed and that it is quite possible your input could uncover something that could materially impact the decisions. 

This shows to those that don't usually speak up that someone is interested in their opinions.  And you are the one that is taking the hit for stopping the usual suspects from monopolizing the discussion.  

09:32 pm July 13, 2022

If you're a scrum master, it's best if you can ask some probing, or leading questions, to get the team to recognize the problem.  Then put the solution onto them.  Hold them responsible for fixing the problem but the mechanics of the fix is their "problem".  

If the team doesn't see the lack of feedback as an issue, perhaps you can figure out a way to emphasize the effects of the lack of feedback.

Another option, read about liberating structures and try a 1-2-4 all technique.  There's loads of good stuff in LStructures.

01:45 am July 14, 2022

You have some good tips from the others. +1 for Liberating Structures, these techniques get everyone involved, even introverts who might need some time to think. In addition to asking open ended questions, I would encourage you to be comfortable with silence. One technique you can try is to ask an open ended question, and then silently count to ten. Most of the time someone will speak up. And if it the same folks speaking up you can use Dan's technique.

In addition to Miro and sticky notes, you can also add in Dot Voting to get consensus. 

12:38 pm July 18, 2022

Thanks all for the responses - they have been helpful! :)

I have tried saying thank you to those who have spoken up and have encouraged others by moving the focus to other team members, but I often get nothing back. 1-2-4-all could definitely work so might give that one a go.

I think a lot of what we struggle with is that the team are a mix of 3rd parties with different cultures and they believe it isn't their place at times to make decisions or even have a voice. 

02:50 pm July 18, 2022

Hi Katherine

Maybe you need to increase team comfort level?

if the team are huge and it is not possible to connect individually with each of them 

Maybe it is beneficial to group them and appoint a leader who will be able to connect with you

Arranging lunch meeting or informal event may improve team comfort level as well



03:35 pm July 18, 2022

Who is in these meetings, and who are you to the team?

Are you external (freelance / consultant / ...), or somehow a higher hierarchy than the Developers?

Try to have a Retrospective with only Developers, nobody else, not you either. See what happens.