Facilitation Skills for Project Managers

Meetings are nothing more than a tool to get results. A successfully facilitated meeting helps to achieve and exceed project goals, by improving issues resolution, decision making, and risk management. Facilitation is an art and science that consists of a set of skills that can be learned. Successful facilitators can recognize and balance the needs of the meeting, the individuals, and the team.

This webinar discusses typical challenging behaviors of individuals and groups and associates them with various animal metaphors. We will review a few facilitation strategies for key challenging behaviors. We’ve all been in meetings with the “wise old owl” who philosophizes at great length. And we all know what it feels like when there is an “elephant in the room.” The images may be simple to grasp, but this is not a basic meeting management webinar.

You will learn about:

  • The fundamentals of facilitation
  • A perspective shift that encourages the use of meetings as a tool
  • Overview of the top individual challenging meeting behaviors
  • Strategies for dealing with some challenging behaviors

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Successful Collaboration requires Team Engagement

Each person on the project team is essential to a successful outcome. The level of engagement that each team member has can significantly influence the level of success the project will have.  Here are a few ideas for engaging your team.

Understanding the Pain

If you can involve the entire team in reviewing requirements, then the team will understand why change is needed to reduce or avoid the pain being experienced.  Don’t just tell them what you want changed.   This not only helps all team members better develop their piece of the solution for better test planning, it allows the entire team to discuss the problem and possible solutions so the best solution can be selected by everyone – including the customer/business. Read more


6 Agile Planning and Analysis Practices to Try

Recently I spoke at a Fortune 50 PMO gathering of all their PMs – where the CIO encouraged them to “try” new things to deliver value faster to customers.  Several of the ideas I shared with them are listed in a great article at ebg Consulting.

Someone asked:

“What Agile techniques would you suggest introducing to a software development team that is currently not using the Agile approach but would like to get a flavor for the methodology?”

Several key fundamentals for doing and being agile in the Planning & Analysis area shared included:

  • Analysis is the “entire teams responsibility”
  • Expect to “fail” to learn
  • Value is in the eyes of the beholder

Read much more detail in the entire article here.


What’s a Good Measure of an Agile PM’s Success?


Most agree that an Agile  project managers measurement of success is NOT “product adoption” – rather it includes various metrics.  Some metrics are from PMBOK, such as the triple constraints:  Time – Budget – Scope/Features.

….I would argue there are other key metrics to an Agile PM’s success.   Being an Agile PM is an art, so lets talk about some of that artistic magic…

(1)  Enabling your team to own the project – When everyone owns the project – they also own the success of the project or product adoption.   Many PM’s today are contractors that are handed a project from a PMO department with an End-Date, Budget, and Scope already dictated to them.   How does a PM hit these expectations handed to them?    If a team is going to truly “own” the project, then they must buy into these set expectations to have a chance of being successful.  Agile PM’s success will be directly tied to their ability to build that “buy in” by all team members.

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Successful Projects through Agile Project Management

Successful projects are found when project managers (PM) learn to

* Lead a team and not just manage it

* Enable the team to collaborate and self-direct, not just wait to be told what to do

* Facilitate and encourage innovation and creativity in solving problems, not just act as a foreman

Staying aware of the triple constraints (scope, time and resources) is critical, but managing them through the use of a project plan can make it very hard to adjust with changes that inevitably come your way during the project.  Rather, changes can be seen as opportunities to improve the solution and make it fit bestt for the customer / business.

Agile project management is done through the collaboration of teams that consist of the customer, the business, and the project implementation team.

Project Times | Successful Projects through Agile Project Management


What They Forgot to Tell You About Agile

Do Agile without sprints?   Stop using Story Points?   Create a Microsoft project plan for my sprint?

This webinar covers numerous uncommon ways of being Agile, without conforming to the most common Agile practices.  You will learn what seasoned Agile teams know – that Agile principles can be supported in numerous ways, not strictly by the practices we usually associate with Agile.

DURATION: 1 hour
Earn PDU’s: 1


SPEAKER: Greg Smith is a seasoned Agile coach and the founder of GS Solutions Group. He is a Certified Scrum Master, Certified Agile Project Manager, and a PMI Agile Certified Practitioner. Read more


Case Study into Leveraging Scaled Agile Framework™ in Mixed Waterfall and Agile Environments

While the adoption of Agile practices has become more and more prevalent in the industry, it’s clear that many large organizations are often unable to go “all in.” Even as we attempt to isolate initial use of Lean and Agile methods in a “pilot” environment, external forces often exist that prevent a “pure” implementation.  Waterfall and Agile/Lean can co-exist.

This Agilista PM webinar will dive into 3 real life situations with mixed Agile/Waterfall environments to show you:

  •   How Agile projects can align their plans to a Waterfall project when they are not in sync?
  •   How Waterfall projects can operate within a fixed cadence?
  •   How to deal with potential issues that may arise in these mixed environments?
  •   How to know when things are not working and when to make some changes?

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NEW BOOK – The Scrum Field Guide “Practical Advice for Your First Year”

The Scrum Field Guide  (by Mitch Lacey)  is meant to help you fine-tune your own implementation, navigate some of the unfamiliar terrain, and more easily scale the hurdles we all encounter along the way.

Who Should Read This Book

If you are thinking about getting starting with Scrum or agile, are at the beginning of your journey, or if you have been at it a year or so but feel like you’ve gotten lost along the way, this book is for you. I’m officially targeting companies that are within six months of starting a project to those that are a year into their implementation, an 18-month window.

This is a book for people who are pragmatic. If you want theory and esoteric discussions, grab another of the many excellent books on Scrum and agile. If, on the other hand, you want practical advice and real data based on my experience running projects both at Microsoft and while coaching teams and consulting at large Fortune 100 companies, this book fits the bill.

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Learn SCRUM in Under 10 Minutes (in HD)

All new recording…in HD just released !

Learn Scrum in under 10 minutes. This video is an introduction to the Scrum software development methodology. By the end of this fast-paced video, you’ll practically be a scrum master. You’ll know about the follosing and will be ready to start implementing Scrum in your own team.

  • burn-down charts,
  • team roles,
  • product backlogs,
  • sprints,
  • daily scrums
  • and more…

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Does Risk Management have a place in an Agile Lifecycle?

We often have questions about relating traditional PM practices to Agile practices. This is especially true in the area of risk. In this one hour webinar, Greg Smith (Author of Becoming Agile) and Donna Reed (The Agilista PM) will cover traditional risk management techniques and contrast them to the Agile risk management practices.

You will learn how to use traditional risk management in harmony with an Agile lifecycle and how to perform risk management at a level that minimizes waste and over-planning.

Areas covered include

  • BURP (Big Upfront Risk Planning),
  • daily risk management,
  • and Team involvement in risk identification.

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