How to Facilitate Agile Meetings and Workshops
Run Live or Virtual Get-Togethers to Elicit and Analyze Requirements, User Stories, and Features
Author: Tom and Angela Hathaway
Pages: 188 (paperback edition)
Format: Paperback and eBook
Publication Date: May 17, 2022
What is this book about?
Effective Communication Skills are the Building Blocks for Collaboration
Collaboration in the workplace is what makes teams successful
It’s really that simple.
Communication skills are essential for nearly every job role in today’s workplace. Knowing how to cooperate well with others not only will make you a happier person but will also aid your career advancement.
The essence of collaborative meetings is for each participant to get what they need.
That requires social skills for session leaders and contributors alike
According to a recent survey, 69% of today’s top employers list effective communication and collaboration as required skills. They know that collaboration unlocks the potential of their employees and adds value to their customers.
In addition, studies show that individuals who collaborate are more satisfied with their work, deliver better results, and are more creative. Sounds like a win-win, so what is collaboration and how can you improve your collaboration skills and contribute to making business gatherings eagerly anticipated events?
Expand your soft skills by learning how to:
- Plan and prepare conversations, meetings, and workshops
- Effectively communicate in online meetings
- Lead collaborative get-togethers for defining business needs
- Use soft skills to create a collaborative meeting environment
- Deal with distractions and difficult people
About the Authors
Angela and Tom Hathaway have 30+ years’ experience in UX Design and Digital Business Analysis. They facilitated hundreds of workshops world-wide and trained tens of thousands of people. Simplifying complex ideas is their superpower.
What You Will Learn in a Nutshell
- Develop well-formulated objectives and agendas to flush out optimal approaches, ideal participants, and preferred tools for productive workshops and meetings.
- Create a toolkit of techniques and soft skills that foster collaborative and engaging environments for planning, preparing, and performing effective meetings.
- Leverage modern brain science studies to help people discover and document features, functions, and requirements for future digital solutions.
- Select the best type of collaborative get-together for achieving the defined objectives based on the organization’s culture, technology, and leadership style.
- Prepare participants for cooperation and collaboration in facilitated User Story Workshops, 3-Amigos Conversations, and 1-on-1 requirements interviews.
- Applying conflict resolution strategies to mitigate the threat to successful collaboration
- Understand how the conscious and nonconscious mind play a significant role in collaborative conversations
- Create a toolkit of specific techniques that will keep your Collaborative Conversation on-track and engaging
- Apply several listening techniques which are the key ingredient to productive collaborations
- Find solutions for addressing common challenges associated with virtual meetings
- Derive the necessary deliverables or outcomes of the collaborative conversations from the meeting objective
Preview the book on amazon.com.
Introduction to Collaborative Conversations, Meetings, And Workshops,
Chapter 1 presents how collaboration drives modern product development approaches like Lean and Agile. We explain why everyone involved in a gathering needs collaboration skills.
Forms of Collaborative Conversations and Meetings
Chapter II introduces 7 variants of meetings, conversations, and workshops with an explanation of the pros and cons of each variant.
Planning and Preparing Conversations and Workshops
Chapter III provides concrete techniques that set the stage for successful gatherings. It includes how a well-formed objective drives the agenda, attendees, tools, and techniques of a meeting. We guide you from the decision to schedule a meeting all the way to formulating and distributing effective invitations that increase attendance.
Leverage the NEUROSCIENCE of Collaboration
Chapter IV delves into recent studies in brain research that will help you recognize and develop the soft skills that are essential to effective collaboration. We also present techniques for developing the social skills that improve your ability to lead or contribute in a group setting.
Communication is the Core of Collaborative Conversations
Chapter V focuses on the key soft skill that underpins all human interactions. You will learn techniques for ensuring that your voice is heard in conversations and improve your ability to listen more attentively to other viewpoints.
Dealing with Challenges during Conversations and Workshops
Chapter VI acknowledges that collaboration does not depend on a perfect world to succeed. We present real-world challenges we have faced and present solutions we know work for solving them.
Closing a Working Meeting and Final Steps
Chapter VII presents what to do at the end of a collaborative session and what to do after the meeting is over. These actions extend the benefits of collaboration beyond a single workshop, meeting, or conversation by initiating a process of change that can spread throughout your organization.
So, what are you waiting for? Buy the book now to move toward becoming the Collaborative Communications expert in your organization.
Who will benefit from reading this book?
- Product Owners
- Product Team Members
- Product and Project Managers
- Business Analysts
- Requirements Engineers
- Business- and Customer-side Team Members
- Agile Team Members
- Subject Matter Experts (SME)
- Systems Analysts and Designers
- Quality Assurance Specialists/Testing Team Members
- AND anyone involved in defining digital solutions for the future.
Table of Contents
I. Introduction to Collaborative Conversations, Meetings, And Workshops
- The Need for Collaboration to Define Future Digital Solutions
- For Productive Meetings, Size Matters
- Conversations and Workshops Are the Essence of Lean and Agile
- In Agile Meetings, All Participants Need Facilitation Skills
II. Forms of Collaborative Conversations and Meetings
- Different Approaches for Productive and Effective Communication
- Ad-hoc Collaborative Conversations
- Requirements Interviews and User Story Conversations
- From Conversations to Workshops
- Unique Challenges of Virtual Get-Togethers
- Different Types of Meetings Require Different Skills
- KwikKwiz: Understanding the Different Forms of Collaborative Communications
III. Planning and Preparing Conversations and Workshops
- Planning and Preparing Get-Togethers for High Performance
- Define Enticing Objectives to Get People’s Attention
- Select the Best Participants for Maximal Productivity
- Your Objective Dictates the Outcome or Deliverables and Activities
- Plan Session Techniques, Tools, and Templates
- Virtual Add-Ons for Techniques, Tools, Templates
- Agenda Requirements for All Collaborative Conversations
- Workshops Require a Detailed, Structured Agenda
- Considerations for Effective Virtual Agendas
- Create and Distribute Workshop Invitations
- KwikKwiz: Planning and Preparation of Online and Physical Get-togethers
IV. Leverage the Neuroscience of Collaboration
- Soft Skills are Social; Hard Skills are Technical
- Social Skills Are the Foundation of Teamwork
- Neuroscience Helps People Discover What They Really Want
- Why the Nonconscious Mind Matters to Collaborative Conversations
- Deciding is a Nonconscious Process
- The Conscious Mind Deliberates and Learns
- Leveraging Soft Skills Needs a Unified Mind
- Persuasion and Influence Convince Contributors to Collaborate
- Why Not WHY?
- Neuroscience Acknowledges Change is Possible
- KwikKwiz: Soft Skills Can be Innate or Learned, Hard Skills Are Always Acquired
V. Communication Is the Core of Collaborative Conversations
- Communication Is a Fundamental Social Skill
- Make Sure You Can Talk the Talk
- Make Your Voice Count in a Group Meeting
- What You See Trumps What You Hear – Body Language Wins
- Engaged -Active) Listening
- Listen for Intent and Purpose
- Silence Is a Secret Weapon in Collaborative Conversations
- Impediments to Effective Listening
- Overcoming Listening Impediments
- Written Conversations Can Still Be Collaborative
- KwikKwiz: The Most Important Soft Skill for Successful Collaboration Is Communication
VI. Dealing with Challenges during Conversations and Workshops
- The Start of a Great Collaborative Conversation
- Icebreakers Improve Team Communication
- Techniques to Build a Collaborative Meeting Environment
- Good Time Management Maintains Momentum
- Asking Follow-on Questions Right Maintains Momentum
- Dealing with Distractions and Difficult People
- Conflict Resolution Strategies Rescue Endangered Conversations
- Virtual Workshops Add Technology Challenges
- Taking Notes versus Recording the Conversation
- KwikKwiz: During the Collaborative Session
VII. Closing a Working Meeting and Final Steps
- Close the Collaborative Conversation in Style
- Life After Collaborative Meetings
Tom and Angela’s Story
Like all good IT stories, theirs started on a project many years ago. Tom was the super techie, Angela the super SME (Product Owner in today’s lingo). They fought their way through the 3-year development of a new policy maintenance system for an insurance company.
They vehemently disagreed on many aspects, but in the process discovered a fundamental truth about IT projects. The business community (Angela) should decide on the business needs or user experience while the technical team’s (Tom)’s job was to make the technology deliver what the users needed. Talk about a revolutionary idea! All that was left was learning how to communicate with each other without bloodshed to make the project a resounding success. Mission accomplished.
They decided this epiphany was so important that the world needed to know about it. As a result, they made it their mission (and their passion) to share this ground-breaking concept with the rest of the world.
To achieve that lofty goal, they married and began the mission that still defines their life. After over 30 years of living and working together 24x7x365, they are still wildly enthusiastic about helping the victims of technology learn how to ask for and get the IT solutions they need to do their jobs better. More importantly, they are more enthusiastically in love with each other than ever before!
How they Can Help
Their company, BA-EXPERTS, focuses exclusively on business and user experience analysis for anyone wearing the BA hat™. Business needs analysis for digital solutions has become a critical skill for most business professionals regardless of job title (Business Analyst, UX Designer, Product Owner, SME, Project Manager, etc.). In today’s world, knowing how to analyze and define digital solutions from the user perspective will open many doors.
A big thanks to all our loyal readers and students.
Tom and Angela Hathaway