June 20, 2021

The Power of Graphic Facilitation in training

I was blessed with a partner who, on top of his skills as Agile coach, is a gifted graphic facilitator.

For me, who cannot draw a straight line, it always seems like magic when people are able to create instant graphics to facilitate a learning process.

And yet, before realizing the real benefits of Graphic Facilitation, I thought I would just get better charts…

I was amazed to see how it turned out :-)
Recently we had the opportunity to co-teach PSM for one of our clients who we were coaching together for a year. Boaz came with a large bag of charts, plenty of markers and a smile.

And the class began :-)

 

The Energizer

As an energizer, we asked the participants to split into small groups and to choose an animal that will be used as our presenter for the drawings during the class.
This simple exercise revealed so much of the participants' mindset. After collecting the animals, we inquired as to why they were chosen, interviewing and asking to understand what they mean to them:

  • One group selected a Stork. The participants were managers and scrum masters who reported to these managers and there was some tension between them. The Stork reflected the need for maternal warmth during the class.
  • The second group selected an Elephant. In Hebrew, an Elephant rhymes with the word “contain” which also symbolizes the need to overcome the tension in the room.
    They spoke of the elephant as a large animal, that can contain complicated issues, and remain calm and resilient
  • A Third group selected a Lion to represent a good PR of the participants (all of them owned a PhD). It’s also a cool animal, represents heroism, and it reflects their need to stand out.
  • And a forth group selected a Hedgehog that due to his long nose represents curiosity and willingness to learn new things.

 

 

Emphasize Important Learning Paths

During the class, the graphic facilitation helped with emphasizing important learning paths. 
Allow me to share some examples:

 

The role of the scrum master as a coach and facilitator for the team
The role of the scrum master as a coach and facilitator for the team

 

The role of the scrum master as a coach and facilitator for the team
Team:  “How do we get off this island?”   
SM:     “What would you recommend?”

 

The risk of technical debt
The risk of technical debt (Done, but..)

 

Sole PO per product
The importance of a sole product owner per product

 

Sprint goal
The importance of the Sprint  Goal to gain focus

 

Capturing Atmosphere 

Another thing Boaz did during the class was to capture statements of the participants that may reflect their thoughts, mindset and understanding.

This is an example of one participant who had an insight about his role as a manager that, well, relates to people, not only to the profession…

One of the participants shared a casual statement that was captured, and was essential to the manager’s role perception.

 

Wait a minute… Is this role about “touching” people?
Wait a minute… Is this role about “touching” people?

 

While working on an exercise in groups, we captured a situation where one participant said “Someone should hang this note on the wall”. Along with his body language, that might hint about the way he perceives himself as a manager. The drawing helped us capture this indirectly in a light and humoristic way.

 

“Someone needs to put this note on the wall”
“Someone should hang this note on the wall”

 

Fun

And last but surely not least, the usage of graphic facilitation is FUN! It creates curiosity, makes things look easier and makes people laugh.

When we asked the participants to share their takeaways from the class as well as issues they would like us to follow up with after the class, they asked to get a sketch training :-)

 

Burger
The Yammiest Squirrel Burger ever…

 

 

Me
A little something from my own collection :-)

 

 

To conclude, graphic facilitation is a unique and fun way to enhance learning by using visual elements to highlight centric learnings and capture the participants' understanding and mindset.

If you experience additional benefits with graphic facilitation, let’s hear you out!

If you wish to experience it, register for one of my classes :-)

Cheers!