Friday, January 22, 2010

Agile Bengaluru 2010 - Facilitating Dialogue in situations of Conflict (session outputs)

As promised, here are the workshop outputs from the session Rixt Wiersma and I ran on the topic of 'Facilitating Dialogue in situations of Conflict' at the Agile Bengaluru 2010 conference. It was a really enjoyable session for us as participants and we had a wonderful crowd that impressed us with their keen interest in the humanistics of Agile software developments

At the end of the exercise, here are the thoughts that teams had about dealing with conflict. I don't have record of all the tips and discussion that cameup in the debrief, but this was all the stuff that the teams wrote up on their flipcharts.

Behaviours that facilitate dialogueBehaviours that hinder dialogue
  • An initiative to get the bigger picture (what are we trying to achieve here? who is involved?)
  • Understanding the problem well, before jumping into solution mode
  • Timeboxing often helps the team rally to a decision
  • Listening to everyone - no views ignored (came up multiple times)
  • Being focussed on the discussion at hand and the goal in sight
  • An openness to clarifying doubts at the moment they arose
  • Collective ownership - participation from the whole group
  • Respecting and acknowledging other/ differing opinions
  • Deciding a strategy to begin with and iterating from there (came up multiple times)
  • Everyone trying to understand one another
  • Asking questions and seeking opinions. eg: What do you think? Do you agree?
  • Speaking in a calm tone of voice
  • No language barriers
  • Logical Thinking
  • Agreeing to disagree (concurring with the team)
  • Interest based negotiation
  • Getting stuck in your own views of the situation
  • Too much focus on the process of the discussion than on the rationale presented or even the result
  • Over-ruling others. A strong voice often stops others from expressing themselves freely and in the end may prevail as the only voice.
  • A hurry or unnecessary 'push' towards decision making
  • Avoid making assumptions. Make assumptions explicit if any
  • Forcing your thoughts on others
  • Not letting others speak
  • Personal conflicts!
  • Not making understanding explicit. (People don't have visibility into all aspects of the problem)
  • Unequal participation
  • Hidden agendas and biased priorities
  • Positional bargaining
  • Sidestepping the emotional side of the conflict. (its important to address these concerns)

Here are the slides from our talk, just in case you're interested. Thanks everyone for attending -- hope we get the opportunity to do this in other places as well.

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