Scrum Guide Organization Scrum Facilitation

Facilitating an effective meeting or event can be challenging, especially for experienced professionals. The Facilitator can do a few things to increase attention and engagement. For example, you could shorten the length of meetings, use more interactive activities, and provide a clear agenda and purpose for the meeting. While eliminating daydreaming may not be possible, making simple changes will increase attentiveness and make meetings more productive.

Facilitation is critical to the success of Scrum Teams and their events. Without effective Facilitation, even the best-laid plans can fall by the wayside, and people can quickly become disengaged. The goal is not to remove all meetings but to improve the quality of the ones we need. In Scrum, we have four specific events that take place within a Sprint. These are Sprint Planning, Daily Stand-up, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective. Without effective Facilitation, even these events can become ineffective. To improve the quality of our Facilitation, we need to root it in purpose. By being clear about the objectives of each meeting and ensuring that everyone has a chance to participate in a balanced way, we can help to ensure that our Facilitation is effective and that people remain engaged. Finally, timing is also important. If a meeting starts to drag on or people become frustrated, it may be time to call an end. By being mindful of these things, we can help to ensure that our Facilitation is effective and that our meetings are productive.

Facilitation is an essential skill for any Scrum Master. A practical Scrum Master is interested in facilitating the improvement game of the Scrum Team, and they are not concerned with swaying the decision or outcome.

Here are 5 ways you can improve your meetings and Scrum events based on the principles of effective Scrum Master Facilitation:

  1. Have a sense of Direction. It is important that the meeting has a clear plan or goal. The team will be better focused.
  2. What Does Done Look ‘like’? The Scrum Master should help challenge the team by asking, “what ‘done’ looks like?”. By asking, you will help to facilitate discussions and decision-making that will move your team more cohesively toward agreement. 
  3. Facilitate The Improvement Game. The Scrum Master should encourage the team to view every meeting or event as an opportunity to improve their process. They should create an environment that is safe for experimentation and learning. 
  4. Encourage Leadership Style. The Scrum Master should discuss the leadership style the Product Owner will intentionally occupy so that they can better support the team convergence on an agreement. An explicit declaration of leadership style will help to ensure that everyone feels invested in the team's success. 
  5. Diverge and Converge Effectively. The Scrum Master should facilitate discussion, allowing the team to explore new ideas and converge on decisions. They should encourage all members of the team to participate in these discussions.

One of the essential facets of the Scrum Master role is Facilitation. As a Facilitator, it is your job to help Scrum Teams understand and achieve their shared goals. You encourage psychological safety to enable discussion, generate new information, and collaborate with others.

Scrum Guide Organization Scrum Facilitator Team

To be an effective Facilitator, keep these points in mind:

  • Enable a purposeful and participative environment - Participants should feel comfortable discussing the topic at hand and that they can contribute to the conversation. 
  • Help people understand and achieve their shared goals - Make it easy for participants to get on the same page regarding the discussion goal. Help people know what they need to do to achieve common goals and supported outcomes. 
  • Facilitate events effectively - This includes everything from planning and preparation to execution and follow-up. Ensure all events go smoothly by spending time on pre-plan activities, so everyone can better focus on the task. 
  • Hold effective meetings - This means being organized and efficient and ensuring that all attendees can participate.

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