How to Facilitate Remote Agile Meetings Like a Pro
Here at AWA we understand how important it is to be able to share knowledge and communicate well since we are largely distributed from each other 90% of the time. In fact it’s very rare that the whole team are in the same place at the same time, ever. Being able to share knowledge and effectively communicate with each other is absolutely essential to us. This means we rely whole heartedly on our Zoom line to share knowledge and Slack for continued conversations throughout the day. Being able to have effective online meetings is incredible important to us and it means we are able to share knowledge, communicate and get the work that needs to be done well.
Indeed there are teams all over the world who are in similar situations; working away from each other. When teams are working away from each other this means a number of different online meetings are needed to share knowledge and to communicate with each other, such as standups, retros or planning, to name just a few. However, online meetings often need a lot more prep than in-the-room one and are often a lot more challenging to get participants fully engaged, and to keep them engaged.
ARE YOU FEELING LEFT OUT?
For “agile” organisations who are increasingly reliant on both knowledge workers and distributed teams, being able to share knowledge and communicate remotely are two important issues to get right. Yet despite an increase in improving collaboration technology to support things like video conferencing it’s still something of a dark art. More than half or 57% of people feel like they are missing out on important information and 55% get excluded from meetings because of their remote location (2019 State of the Digital Workplace). This behaviour goes against the primary function of collaboration technology, which was designed to bring teams together but can lead to people feeling left out. This is where a good facilitator, who understands the technology and knows the right remote facilitation skills can really help.
REMOTE FACILITATION… WHAT’S THAT?
With 50% of UK employees (ONS) expected to work remotely from next year, mastering remote meetings is fast becoming a critical skill. But how do you facilitate remote meetings?
A facilitator is somebody who helps make a process or meeting easier or helps people reach a solution or outcomes without getting directly involved in the content or discussion. In agile ways of working we have lots of different types of meetings and ceremonies, like standups, retrospectives and planning sessions. A good facilitator helps make sure these meetings stay on track. So when we are working with remote teams we still need to hold these meetings but a different set of skills and techniques are required. When we don’t know these skills or how to use the technology correctly, that’s when people in remote meetings can become distracted, disconnected and feel uncomfortable. When this cycle repeats we can start to dread our online meetings, resulting in a lack of engagement or meaningful outcomes and work.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS?
In what may be a world first, we have partnered with Judy Rees – an expert in remote team communication – to offer the community a unique online training program on remote agile facilitation from this September. The Remote Agile Facilitator has been designed specifically for agile practitioners who work with remote teams and dread leading their online meetings. Our hope is turn the current challenges of remote meetings around by sharing a set of effective skills that remote facilitators can use to energise their online meetings resulting in better team connections, communication, and outcomes.
Curious to learn more? Want a new and improved remote facilitator toolkit for working with distributed teams? Then join us on one of our future cohorts. Visit the class page for details and dates. We do recommend booking sooner rather than later as places are strictly limited to just 12 people.
I work at AWA HQ looking after day-to-day operations, speaking with people, organising events and training, and thinking up the next cool thing we can do. Outside of work I’m probably in one of 3 places – at F45, on the mat practising yoga, or out in the countryside with my husband walking our whippet, Luna.