Agile teams thrive when people of multiple disciplines—software development, testing, analysis, user experience, project management, product management—collaborate to deliver great products. But creating—and sustaining—a culture where true collaboration is possible is not easy.

Think about it for a moment. How transparent are your daily communications with team members? What steps have you taken to understand your teammates’ perspectives about what hinders or accelerates shared success in your daily work? How often do you converse—openly and deeply—with team members, especially those who hail from other disciplines? For most of us, our day-to-day interactions fall short of the ideals of honest communication, mutual learning and genuine curiosity.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Join us for “Can We Talk?” as we explore techniques to help us share the truth—without blame or judgment—with our colleagues. In this session, we dig deep to explore puzzles, patterns, and possibilities for more effective cross-discipline collaboration. In the end, you leave with a set of activities you can use to safely yet honestly engage with your whole team.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

(' =minutes)(format below uses Sharon Bowman’s Training from the Back of the Room structure, the 4C’s)

Connection:

  • Find out who’s in the room (pop-up). (1’)
  • What are your communication struggles? (4’)

Concept:

  • Quick Teach: Share info on cross-functional communication as it relates to team effectiveness and the challenges involved. Includes 1' Joan Rivers video about the origins of her catch phrase and how it signifies open and honest communication. (5’) (presenters)
  • Disciplines & Complaints: Form affinity groups around disciplines. Identify complaints about the disciplines (15') (groups)
  • Quick Teach: Leader discussion about feedback, it’s nature, goals of constructive feedback (20’)(presenters, groups)

Concrete Practice:

  • Group generate recommendations to address their complaints (we make sure each discipline will get the gift of recommendations); they frame and deliver them as constructive feedback. (10’)(groups)
  • Feedback marketplace: one person from each affinity group stays with the group’s work while the rest “go shopping.” Participants circulate examining feedback for their discipline and selecting at least one item to take back to their own work. (10’)(groups)

Conclusion:

  • Retrospective: cross-affinity share one takeaway for their discipline (10’)(groups)

Note: we have can provide more content and time for the activities, changing this to a longer session, if desired. 

Learning Outcome

  •   Understand the nature of and motivations for giving and receiving feedback
  •   Unearth perceptions and stereotypes that practitioners have about other disciplines
  •   Experience techniques for defusing mistaken assumptions about others’ motivations
  •   Identify actions that engender cross-discipline collaboration

Target Audience

Professionals who work on, lead, or coach agile teams and have experience with at least one discipline in product development. Agile coaches--internal and external--focused on amplifying communication and feedback to facilitate change.

schedule Submitted 10 months ago

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