During the last weeks we were preparing a workshop for effective meeting facilitation and having great retrospectives. We … because preparation was done in a team of 3. A great experience I would like to share with you with this post.

It started with the idea, to enable more team members to facilitate meetings and especially the retrospective format. Why? To foster self organization and remove dependencies on us Agile Coaches.

It took some days of preparing time (and some calendar weeks as a time span) to create the workshop but enabled even a broader learning among us agile coaches. In detail:

  • we had to discuss and reflect current practices used for facilitation and our retrospectives
  • we had to find a good structure for the workshop and this challenged further investigation on the retrospective and facilitation topic
  • it helped to synchronize our opinions and views
  • everyone had some new learning areas and in total we got stronger in the agile coach team
  • learning to facilitate a whole workshop is a great challenge (especially for young team members) to exercise ones own facilitation techniques

Another great side effect was the insight to our work as Agile Coaches (at least a part of it ;-).

It looks that simple to facilitate a meeting – but as often, if you start having a look behind the scenes, you uncover all the hidden details, that make it a difficult exercise.

In addition the meaning of retrospectives got shared in a way never reached before.

Maybe due to our mistakes so far, we still had a style of asking the team for the retrospectives – the need was not expressed from within the team and therewith was not a strong wish by all team members (what I would expect in a really self organizing team).

By understanding the real need of retrospectives to succeed in complex environments (like software development is one) the workshop was an eye opener.

Key takeaways

Next time you consider hiring an external workshop facilitator, consider whether you can prepare your own workshop format. It’s beneficial if you would like to repeat the workshop for more members (or even selling it to participants outside your company).
Creating and facilitating a workshop deepens knowledge levels far beyond just reading a book or attending a course. The intrinsic motivator – Mastery – gets addressed perfectly.
Use it to spread the word of your work and use an in house prepared workshop to cross connect and amplify learning. Learning at scale as soon as you help more and more people (e.g. to facilitate).
What is a workshop format you already have experience with? Any plans for your next learning opportunity? Thanks for sharing your insights with your comment 😉
If you would like to have more details of the workshop format – just leave a comment and I’ll check whether we can share it with you.

Further readings