Although this is PMThink!, we have to admit that the PM is not the only person expected to think on a project. Sometimes the PM even needs other experts to think within a timeframe and do so as a team. This is especially when being a good facilitator is a good skill for a PM to have.
Being a good facilitator often includes:
1) Make sure the environment is set-up right for the work (post-it flip charts, enough light, etc.)
2) Kick-off the meeting right (ideally you will have sent these prior to the meeting)
- Allow time for introductions if people are new to one another
- Review basic ground rules, get buy-in and/or adjust as necessary (e.g., turn off all mobile devices, silence is concurrence, only one voice at a time)
- Present the meeting objectives, get buy-in and/or adjust as necessary
- Present the agenda with proposed timeframes and get buy-in and/or adjust as necessary
3) Invite the team to get started according to the agenda
4) Guide the group carefully; do NOT voice your personal opinion unless you are acting as a facilitator/subject matter expert rather than "only" the facilitator; if you are a good facilitator people will generally feel that they didn't actually need you!
5) Encourage everyone to contribute; monitor people's reactions - encourage people to talk if their facial expressions indicate that they may be confused or if they disagree, etc. Some people aren't extremely comfortable speaking-up in a group setting but will when prompted.
6) Watch the clock but allow good discussion to continue as needed
7) Put items that require follow-up or can't be resolved in the time allowed on a "parking lot" list
8) If applicable, divide the group into teams to solve problems, bring them back together and allow the "team captains" to explain each solution. Then, have the team discuss the two solutions until one is reached. This can encourage teamwork and increase the speed to a solution, especially for a larger group.
9) Determine next steps as a group; review parking lot items and ASK who would like to own each task
10) Let the team know that they did a good job. Thank everyone for their participation. Encourage them to let you know how the meeting could be improved in the future.
See also: http://www.fao.org/Participation/ft_faclt.jsp
Labels: it-project, job, people, project-manager-tips, project-teams