Content By scrum .org
We spend a big part of our workday either participating in or facilitating workshops. As Scrum Masters, we facilitate the Sprint Events. We facilitate Scrum Team decisions and support collaboration within, between, and external to Scrum Teams.
As Product Owners, we engage with our customers and conduct requirement workshops, gauge market interest – often with very diverse and varying stakeholders.
As Developers, we drive technical excellence by collaborating and communicating with other developers – in workshops.
And also as agile leaders workshops are an integral part of our workday trying to foster environments in which self-management and accountability can grow.
In this blogpost we will dive into a practice you can use to kick off workshops. A practice to set the tone, to spark impulse, to invite for change and forward momentum: Using videos to kick-start a crucial conversation.
By the end of your reading, you will have an idea of why showing a video to kick-start a conversation might be fruitful to your context. Besides that, you will have a pool of thought-provoking videos, ready to use in your next workshop.
Using videos for sending educational content
An obvious reason for using videos is that it is a brilliant way to transfer information. Not only does it help against zoom fatigue we also know that people learn best when they take in information via multiple modalities – through reading, drawing, listening – and viewing visual media.
Using media illustrates a topic without having you draw, talk or gesture anything.
Scrum.org’s own educational video on Scrum is a good example of this. Short, concise, animated, and to the point – in this case, an overview of Scrum.
Using videos to set the stage
Showing a video is not only about sending content. Showing a video at the start of the workshop also elegantly sets the stage. It sets the tone of the conversation. It introduces a topic without unnecessary opening blah-blah. You jump right into it and let the audience settle in.
It gives you as a facilitator the opportunity to step back, watch the audience’s reaction to the shown content and kick-start the conversation and reflection.
Provide external ideas
As an example: in my leadership and Scrum Master classes, I like to show videos of external and acknowledged leadership experts, such as David Marquet, a former US submarine commander, and Jürgen Klopp, champions league winner and charismatic football coach with FC Liverpool.
By letting these experts explain their leadership style, you may then ask the audience in the workshop to listen and compare their experience to the experience of the experts. These external, industry acknowledged perspectives provide structure and impulse for the participants to use and apply them to their own, internally observed behavior. It invites for deep reflection, serious conversation, and creative application of out-of-the-box thinking (“How would Jürgen tackle our situation?”).
Invite for thinking outside the box
By referring to these external expert voices it is also often easier for the participants to pinpoint and surface things that might be more sensitive to be addressed otherwise. Participants can externalize internal observations and talk about someone else first, then map the external situation back to them in a later step.
By comparing the shown video to the participants’ current context, it is then often easier to specify what they need more of or less of; what they want to start, stop or continue doing.
Interested in some reflection questions to get your next conversation about leadership started?
Consider the following:
- What does leadership mean for David Marquet / Jürgen Klopp?
- What did surprise you w.r.t their way of leading people?
- What is important for the leader in the video? Why?
- Why do people follow them? What do you think?
- Which of the depicted content is missing in our context? What would be beneficial to try in our context? How?
You will be surprised how many different perspectives, interpretations, and details are observed by the audience – although all of them watched the same video!
Provide a metaphor and visual language
Videos do not need to be dead-serious to be used in professional workshops. On the contrary, videos can give a wonderful opportunity to blow off some steam, to have a good laugh – and nevertheless use the videos’ insights for a good follow-up conversation and deep reflection.
You might have seen the Expert video already. Or know the “Peanutbutter Jelly Sandwich Challenge”.
I love to use both videos to talk about a dead-serious challenge in agile project and product development initiatives: stakeholder management and agile requirement engineering – while not forgetting to laugh about the painful absurdities conventional requirement engineering techniques and behaviors may lead to.
As an example: by showing those videos you may establish a metaphor for how agile requirement engineering should not work (over-specification by focusing on documentation: the peanut butter jelly sandwich :-)), preparing the space on how it could work (e.g. face-2-face conversation, collaboration, closed feedback loops and the like)
Last but not least, videos are an elegant way to reconnect after a break, refocus on the topic, and not take it too seriously and have a good laugh and a lighter approach to the sometimes quite serious problems to tackle in a workshop.
Some of my personal favorites for the lighter side to reconnect e.g. after a heavy meal are
The phobia workshop
Shit bad Scrum Masters say
Timo Wopp on complexity (German)
The impatient Product Owner (feat. Seinfeld)
More to watch
Want more video ideas? Go get some on my blog here (The blog is in German, the referenced video sources are usually in English)
How about you?
Which videos inspire you? Which videos do you use?
Which of the videos above do you plan to use? In which context?
Let me know by commenting below!