Arrange Act Assert

Jag Reehals thinking on things, mostly product development

Facilitation is an art

15 Jun 2022

A good facilitator seamlessly keeps the flow of conversations fluent and relevant, encouraging people to engage and have equal participation while remaining impartial and patient.

It's a role similar to a conductor orchestrating a choir.

conductor orchestrating a choir

In the development world, a scrum master often performs the facilitation role in agile ceremonies.

Having worked with many clients over the years, I've realised that scrum masters who excelled in facilitation played a crucial role in how teams learnt to trust, build relationships, communicate, organise, coordinate and work together. They allowed product owners, developers, designers, and testers to do what they do best and deliver value.

These facilitators were passionate about their art. For them, it's a lifelong journey to improve and adapt their skills by learning and working with different teams at start-ups and enterprises in various industries.

However, just like a lousy conductor could ruin a concert, a bad facilitator can have severe consequences for teams and companies.

I've sat through many ceremonies where people did not contribute because of fear or not having the opportunity to do so. The facilitator didn't have the training or skills to intervene or, worst still, hasn't even realised.

Facilitators know how to adapt. Instead of sticking to broken ideals and rituals, they work to resolve and improve by collaborating with others to do what's best for them as a team and reach an outcome they would jointly like to achieve.

The simple fact is while anyone can facilitate, not everyone is, can or will be a great facilitator.