What a great day – I’m still deeply impressed by an awesome goal definition workshop facilitated by Judith Andresen.

Together with my teammates (what an amazing group we got already – I’m really proud to be part of it) and the really important participation of our management team we spent a high intense day to define goals for our agile team, that provide guidance for our agile coaching for the next 6 months.

With this post I describe the solution focussed approach that we used to derive our goals… 10 steps that really brought us forward.

Maybe it’s inspiring for you too and you either just try parts of it yourself or start the conversation with Judith 😉

#1 Define your agenda for the day together

It started with an ad hoc defined live agenda – it wasn’t already defined in detail before but we discussed how we’re going to spent the day to derive goals.

Sure there was a briefing about the workshop goals, the group and a frame as guidance beforehand, but I like the idea to provide authority to the group, how the day should look like.

It reminds me of the complexity tool #compleximeetings  nicely applied.

Next to come – a frame as an orientation for the goals.

#2 Expectations

Everyone was asked to shortly express expectations for the day. 
A fast check in (took about 5′) and important for the group to discover common interests and maybe differences. 

#3 Framing

Our management team gave a brief overview about their expectations to the team. It helped to recap the company direction, important aspects to consider from the product development direction point of view and to clarify questions. 
In addition it was one further bridge building step to combine thoughts and establish a common understanding.
A free presentation format (no powerpoint slides nightmare), just a round with chairs and relaxed talking and discussion. 
During the discussion Judith took notes to highlight the most important aspects of the provided frame. Just on a flip chart with nice coloring. It’s a real advantage to have visual facilitation skills 😉
A great introduction to set the stage. Followed by a recap and outlook session.

#4 We look forward to… and What are the challenges…

A group activity in pairs (5 pairs for us) … 10′ time to discuss two topics what we are looking forward to and two topics that we think will be a challenge.
After the group work, every pair had to present their results to the group, including a questions and answer session.
An important step to digest the previous framing input, combined with an positive mind setting by looking forward and welcoming challenges. 
Important to further establish an open atmosphere, generate input by the group and discover similarities and differences. 
Next step – 2017?

#5 Describe the future

The task of this step was to set oneself to the future … 2017 and ask the guiding question – How do we do things around here? 
Not just a word but we had to describe it using a whole sentence describing concretely how it looks like, extended by drawings and whatever you like. 
Again working in groups – this time trios, with a 20′ time window.
A highly intensive way to focus on the outcome and the positive future. 
Primed by the previous input it was an interesting experience. Tough but at the same time motivating to think about how it really will look like. 
Group peer pressure helped to have the focus and a little competition necessary to create results.
After the 20′ every trio had to present their results again, including Q&A.
This way we connected ourself with a possible future outcome and prepared ourself for the next step – the future timeline.

#6 The future timeline and What can do by then

The next step – again setting ourself to the future – 2017. What are we able to do in 2017? And what where steps to reach that new abilities? Group work – 4 members per group, again 20′ (this time we invested 30′ 😉
Starting by answering the question: What are we able to do by then? 
This makes the new abilities we need to focus on more concrete and builds upon the output of how we do things around here from the previous section. 
As soon as we defined the new abilities we focussed on detailed steps we did throughout 2016 to acquire these abilities. 
A challenging task too, especially to really get it concrete. It really helped to think about necessary activities and to focus on what the team can do to build that future. A really solution focussed approach – awesome.
Based on the group the next step was to combine both group results in one timeline. An interesting discussion, because every group had to pitch their ideas and convince the other group. 
The result was a common understanding, a merge and combination of ideas and a timeline as an orientation to derive goals.
The four described input sections:
  • the frame
  • looking forward and challenges
  • how do we do things around here – 2017 … and the 
  • future timeline
opened the way for the next step – to derive goal suggestions for the first half of 2016.

#7 Proposals for our new goals

In groups of four, we prepared goal proposals for 2016 based on the previous results in a 20′ session. We used the ENDPUNKT-criteria for the goal definition. Every group came up with 4-5 proposals for goals.
Next to come – pitching the goals in great new format

#8 Goal pitching session

There were five goal slots available. We gathered around the slots in a half circle formation. One by one we had the opportunity to position one goal after another in the 5 available slots. As soon as the slots were filled the next one had to make suggestions for a replacement by another goal or and readjustment of a goals order. 
Just one goal to reorder or to replace. One had to argue why it should be replaced/reordered and the group had to agree. We used the consent decision format. Followed by the next team member in line rotating in the circle.
All toughly time boxed. As soon as the time box elapsed the new 5 goal proposal got fixed.
What a great way to get the five top proposals and proving a chance for proper argued replacements. I really like this method.
Final step – check, slightly adjust and commit 

#9 Goal check, Adjustments and Commitment

Now we found our new goals – really? A check together with management and deep discussion in the group, matching to previous results led to rephrasing of goals to further get a common understanding. 2 goals were removed due to lack of commitment and a wish to create more focus. 
We concluded with a high level of confidence, that we are on the right track with these goals (still some slight adjustments necessary, but an important step forward).

#10 Next steps

A short check, how our current topics match to the goals uncovered that we need a rebase and cleanup. On Monday we cleanup our backlog and derive concrete next steps to work on the new goals.
3 goals for 2016 – What a great outcome!!
Big thanks to Judith Andresen for your top notch facilitation, to my great team and our engaged management for making it an event and successful session. MADE MY DAY 🙂