When facilitation met the Sprint!

Alex Mckell

On Friday 28th February, I made my way to NPC to attend a pre sprint meeting, looking forward to learning more about this mysterious project my manager had signed me up for. Such as what it would involve, who and most importantly, what my role would be. You see, I’m someone who likes to have structure. AKA knowing what my role is in something so I can plan the hell out of it and be organized. The thought alone fills me with sunshine and rainbows.

Whilst the meeting gave me the who and some information regarding the what and some structure in terms of what the sprint would look like, I left not feeling 100% clear on my role and knowing what I will be doing in the sprint.  I guess this is fair enough, since Sprint 1 hasn’t even begun yet and I’ll be taking part in sprint 3. So there is time! Plus the added benefit that two of my colleagues will attend the first two sessions so they can report back with plenty of info about it. So, I should get this clarity and of course, the STRUCTURE and knowing my role.

Following this first realization, I came to another realization that whilst structure is a good thing to have as well as being clear on my role and helps one be organized, sometimes, it isn’t possible. Or more likely, the structure of something changes and the key skill in being a strong facilitator is being able to adapt and flex to this change and create a new structure to support the work going forward.

I say this because I am a facilitator for Leap and for the past 5 years, I have delivered programmes to young people and adults. However, these programmes have always had a set structure and I’ve been very clear as to what my role is in this delivery was. Furthermore, most of the time, that structure hasn’t needed to change because it has been tried and tested and works well.  If it has had to change, I’ve worked with a team that I know well, and all share information of the topic being delivered so we can easily adapt. This isn’t the case with this sprint. I guess you could say that I haven’t had the opportunity to develop that key facilitation skill of adapting and flexing to different opportunities because I have been in delivering the same programme for so many years and I got comfortable.

So I left the session setting myself the challenge of accepting that structure isn’t always possible, that things change and in moments where something doesn’t work or we need to change the plan, being okay with this and being responsive to it is a key facilitation skill. This is something I’m going to work on and develop across the sprint sessions and take this, as well as learning more about the process of a sprint back to Leap to develop our innovation practice. #Can’t wait!

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