The story: Our client wanted help creating an Agile vision for the future “post SAFe”. How could we do this given that they work on multiple sites?
Can this be done remotely? Yes! During these challenging times, I thought of no better opportunity to share how we approached it.
The facilitation frame
We ran 4 workshops, roughly 1 week apart. Here’s the facilitation skeleton:
- Collect insights – what is happening around us right now?
- Brainstorm a “definition of awesome”
- Narrow down “Mindset leaps” (step 2 of “definition of awesome”)
- Define “What does this mean for us”
- Create a story that inspires and can be shared
(step 2 and 3 was both run during the same workshop)
In a visionary workshop like this, it is crucial that you master two things: Divergence (challenge the status quo) and Convergence (..ok nice ideas.. but let’s agree on what really matters).
Normally, the Convergence phase is the most difficult one to master. To help out in the Convergence phase, I utilized a battery of decision techniques with the help of a Google spreadsheet. This allowed me as a facilitator to guide the group through the decision-making process.
The decision-making support tool consists of a prepared Google spreadsheet which allows everyone to see the changes in real time. The spreadsheet contains three decision making techniques, separated into three tabs.
Poll – Select option
This is as simple as it sounds. You add the options on the left, and the votes on the options using your initials, on the right.
Poll – Temperature check
Sometimes you just want to quickly get a temperature check on a few ideas. This was done using the Temperature check poll where each participant gives their feedback using a “yep, like it!” , “neutral (I can live with it)” or “nope, don’t like it (with option tosuggest something better)”
Poll – Decision tournament
This decision approach is for the more hairy choices. The approach is simple. Option A is pitted against Option B, the winner walks through to a semi-final and so on. It’s simple, efficient and enables decision making without comparing all available options (which our brains generally struggle with – when presented with more than 5 options, our brains tend to defer choice or choose not to make one).
That’s it! Of course you also need to add some brainpower to the mix but that goes without saying 🙂
So what was the actual result? I was rather surprised by the outcome. The group managed to create a vision that was both intriguing and unexpected and it is influencing people outside the small core team that created it.
Building a vision is one of the trickier challenges you can take on using remote facilitation. So to help you out on your own journeys, I’ll share the templates that we used. Feel free to copy and tweak.