Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

IT WORKED: "Teambuilding" for agile Teams

Today I held the "breakfast-workshop" in Zürich about Teambuilding for agile Teams: About the courage, NOT do understand Team Dynamics, as I announced it in this ==> blog (pls follow the link to see a bit more about it)

The workshop, organised by the Swiss-ICT working group "Lean, Agile & Scrum" was sold out: About 25 persons attended physically, about 10 to 15 virtually using webex, all persons IT professionals (most of them IT project managers or IT consultants).
Maybe it was helpful to follow the preceding suggestion of the organisers NOT to announce it as "Solution Focused Work with Agile Teams" or "Solution Focused Teambuilding". This might - they argued - sound too much as one more of those "psycho hypes".... And so I avoided to use the wording "Solution Focus" as far as possible in the announcement and in the workshop.

It worked very good!

At the beginning I gave each participant a small paper bag, and asked them to discuss in pairs what they think will be in the bag after the workshop and write that in catchwords on the bag.

Then I asked them to work out in changed pairs short answers to this questions:

=> How does teamwork perform out of your experience? Show the range (from - to) on a scale from 0 to 10

=> Focus on two examples of teamwork (one example by each partner in the pair) being placed on the upper part of the scale

=> Seeing this teams working: What do you observe, so that you can say, that they are on the upper part of the scale?

=> What are helping preconditions and environments for that teams?

=> What are contributions of the members of those teams so that they manage it to be on the upper part of the scale?

I collected the answers on a flip chart.... and had a lot of aspects created by the participants which I could now link to my prepared presentation.
And in this presentation I introduced basic "SF-things" like "looking and appreciating what is here" "exploring positive differences" and so on - without using the word "Solution Focus".
And I proposed some suggestions how to change a little bit some "tools" and questions which are essential for "agile project management" (especially for Scrum) to make them a bit more "SF".

The presentation (in German only... I am sorry) you can find ==> here

At the end of the presentation I started the discussion asking the participants to check the catchwords on their paper bags and to ask for "things" in addition to the presentation to "fill the bag" more. And to ask any other questions...

And all question and comments gave support, that those "SF-things" will be very helpful and many of the participants "committed" themselves to start first tries as soon as possible.
So, there is a big chance especially in project management for those "SF-things" ... without using the "label" SF ... which might be irritating in a less useful way....

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Comment by Hans-Peter Korn on February 20, 2009 at 14:16
Thank you, Bart, for you compliments!

To this:

>>> annoyingly problemfocused 3 scrumquestions

I want to differenciate a bit:
The 1st and 2nd question is
>> what did I do yesterday
>> what did I do today

This ist IMHO not problem-focused.

The 3rd question is problem focused:
>> what impediments got in my way?

BUT: When dealing with complicated or "mechanistic" systems like computers it is absolutely appropriate to ask such questions to solve "technical" impediments which are the "cause" of "problems".
BUT (again this "terrible non SF-word" "but"...) the "trap" is, to ask such questions also for complex systems like social interactions in the team. To avoid this "trap" I propose instead to ask for "impediments" to ask like this:
"What do you need more or differently to do your work planned until tomorrow?"

Comment by Bart van Loon on February 20, 2009 at 13:48
Congratiolations HP !
looks great! fantastic reviews.
I looked through your presentation....
- great way of making complexity simple...: "having courage"
- great tools: "burn up-chart"
and better yet.... good response on the suggestion to fresh up those annoyingly problemfocused 3 scrumquestions!!!!
all the best,
Comment by Hans-Peter Korn on February 5, 2009 at 15:00
.... and here one more blog:

Some text out of this blog:

Today in the ScrumBreakfast Hans-Peter Korn sugested, in his talk about team building, to add/change the questiones. ...... I really like the idea to change the questions because this way they are more solution focused. People see what they did since the last meeting and the progress on the project. If you only focus on the problems, you won’t see anything else anymore.
Comment by Hans-Peter Korn on February 5, 2009 at 9:56
In addition to this - here is the blog of the organiser reflecting this event. He never heard anything about "SF" before.... and he described the "message" as "interesting and provocative" and he also found: "...(What do I need in addition or differently to accomplish that goal?) ... is a much more open and positive formulation of the of the tradtional 'what's is getting the way' (impediment) question. I actually think this might get better answers".

So, I think, the participants "stepped on board"...




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