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Podcast Ep. 9: Exploring Expert Facilitation Tips with Adam Ulery


Episode Description:

Joining Dan Neumann today is returning guest, Adam Ulery, a colleague of his at AgileThought.

Adam is a perpetually curious, continuous learner who is always willing to encourage others to try new things (as he very often does himself). As a Senior Agile Coach and multi-family investor, he’s very focused on helping organizations clarify and meet their business outcomes, and loves to help companies become resilient and rediscover their curiosity.

This week, Dan and Adam explore some facilitation tips. Facilitation is an incredibly important skill for many different roles, so in this episode, Dan and Adam explore both basic tips as well as some pro tips. There are many great, key takeaways on how you, as a facilitator, should handle the group, prepare accordingly, use effective tools to gain consensus during meetings, and allow your group to make the most of the meet-up and get where they need to go.

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Key Takeaways

  • Types of roles that need solid facilitation skills:
    • Scrum master
    • Any type of coach (Agile or otherwise)
    • Anyone who’s going to be leading meetings, workshops, or training
  • What types of events facilitation skills are used for?
    • Sprint planning, daily Scrums, sprint reviews, and retrospectives
    • Workshops where you’re trying to teach a concept to a group of people
    • Release planning or quarterly planning events
  • The basics of good facilitation:
    • As a facilitator, you should be preparing in advance, getting info radiators up, and understand the goal of the session
    • Information radiators should be concise, clear, valuable, seen by everyone, and include the agenda, parking lot, and working agreement
    • A good room setup (including big flip charts or large amounts of whiteboards)
    • Clarify the roles in the meeting
    • Really utilize the parking lot tool to table items without the risk of losing sight of them and be able to continue to discuss the important topics at hand
  • Useful facilitator tools/deciding tactics for gaining consensus or attention:
    • Roman voting
    • Fist of five
    • Show of hands for a simple yes or no decision
    • Raise your hand, quietly
    • Dot voting (to narrow down topics)
  • Adam’s Pro facilitation tips:
    • Let the group make the decision; the facilitator should remain neutral and not drive the group to make a particular decision
    • If you must wear two hats, make it clear when you’re switching from facilitator to group member
    • Control your own reactions to not influence your audience
    • Actively listen and clarify (even if it seems obvious)
    • Work hard to stay out of their way, be self-aware, and allow them to get where they’re going
    • Encourage workflow and be the guardrails
    • Allow people to be heard but don’t let them take over the conversation


Mentioned in this Episode:


Adam Ulery’s Book Picks

Like what you heard? Check out our podcast page for more episodes full of interesting discussions, agile insights, and helpful resources.


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