The Importance of Facilitation Skills in Scrum

Photo by Eva

Photo by Eva

A great facilitator can make Scrum events meaningful and productive, not just for the current product or work but also for the overall health and development of the team.  The facilitator controls the process and does not provide content, so the team and other attendees are responsible for generating the output—his role is strictly one of helping the group manage the information they already possess, or can access, to achieve a necessary result in a timely and collaborative manner.  He makes it easier for the group to work together.  What might that look like?

A great facilitator can: 

  • Keep a group focused during Sprint Planning to understand the Sprint Goal and the work of the Sprint.  Each team member is engaged and participating in the conversations, disagreements about the goal or work are constructive, and the Development Team can clearly explain to the Product Owner and Scrum Master how it intends to accomplish the Sprint Goal and create the anticipated Increment.
  • Enable the Development Team to keep the Daily Scrum to 15 minutes that improves communications, eliminates other meetings, identifies impediments to development for removal, highlights and promotes quick decision-making, and improves the Development Team’s level of knowledge.  The team feels energized for the day afterwards.
  • Foster collaboration during Sprint Review between the Scrum Team and stakeholders about what was done in the Sprint and the next things that could be done to optimize value.
  • Lead an empowering Sprint Retrospective where the Scrum Team improves its development process and practices to make it more effective and enjoyable for the next Sprint.  The team becomes stronger through open and honest discussion as it Inspects how the last Sprint went with regards to people, relationships, process, and tools.

If you want to develop your facilitation skills, the Agile Coaching Institute is offering its Agile Facilitator class in Dallas on November 12-13.  It’s a wonderful course that provides techniques and practice–I attended it last year and came away with some new ideas on how to facilitate meetings that has been really beneficial!  For more information about the course, please visit the Agile Coaching Institute website.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.