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Facilitation Techniques for Creating a Healthy Space, Consensus and Collaboration

March 16, 2023

Facilitation isn’t all about fun icebreakers and team building exercises. Don’t get me wrong, these have a place, but facilitation activities should connect people with each other but also the content that will be explored during the session. A technique that isn’t helping to move the group towards the goal or outcome for the interaction, will be ineffective. Experienced facilitators know which patterns to use when interactions are difficult as they understand not only the mechanics of the technique, but also when to use and why. 

There are many facilitation techniques that can be employed to improve the Scrum Event interactions between team members and enhance the team’s success. Some techniques are great at encouraging diverse perspectives whilst bringing the team together to reach decisions, whilst others are about creating a safe space and coming to a shared understanding. Having a toolbox of facilitation techniques and understanding how to apply in different circumstances is the key.

Here is a summary of my "go to" patterns in my facilitation toolkit for creating a safe healthy space, consensus and collaboration through participative decision making.  For the full article see my ZXM Blog - Facilitation techniques - When to use and Why

Techniques to create a healthy environment

To be effective as a Scrum Team, it’s important to create a safe space to discuss difficult and complex issues and challenges and ensure each team member has a voice and participates. I often use these when events are dominated by one or two vocal participants or if people aren't comfortable being vocal in a group (eg manager in the room).  

  • 1-2-4-All - Provides an opportunity to connect with each other an dteh purpose of the event
  • Triz - Creates a clear space for people to egnerate ideas and challenge existing practices
  • Team Agreement - Creates a shared understanding of the working rules and values of the team

Techniques to gain consensus

Whilst it’s is important to give people a safe space and time, sometimes as facilitators we also need to gain consensus.  Getting a decision or outcome can be challenging.

  • Roman Voting - Provides a fast easy why to quickly build consensus
  • Affinity Mapping - Helps organise, consolidate, and act on a large data set of ideas from a brainstorming exercise.
  • Dot Voting - Allows team to choose a few option from a larger pool or options

Techniques to for participatory decision making

These techniques help to get everyone’s voice heard and understood whilst also involving the whole group in the participatory decision-making process.

  • Gallery walk - Enables transparency, collaboration and ability to explore different perspectives 
  • White Elephant - Refines and sorts a large number of items into columns to create a shraed understanding 
  • Diverge/Converge - Captures ideas and alternatives and then narrows down and reaches a decision/conclusion 


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