Chapter Five - The Content/Tech Caper (Part 1)

Facilitation and creating a vision

I kept shaking the marker pen in a vain attempt to force the ink out onto the whiteboard. Why is it that whenever you go into a project room there’s never enough usable marker pens?

I turned around to face the group of mildly amused IT associates waiting expectantly for me to start. One of the developers asked: “So you want to build a mobile app? What’s the plan?”

As a Content Manager, I never expected to lead a project to build an app because I am not by definition a ‘techie’. I’d been, shall we say, ‘volunteered’ to manage this project.

However, before even getting to a plan, I needed to bring this group together to discuss the problem to be solved including the actual benefits. I started by getting to know the group, asking questions to understand their interactions with one another, their likely contributions to the project, and their previous app build experiences. We discussed what we agreed upon, what we didn’t agree upon and why.

This took time. Many people were keen to take immediate action so that they could feel that they were achieving something. I wanted to make sure that the ‘something that we were seeking to achieve was the ‘right something’. Did we all really understand the vision?

Discovery plays a big role because it helps to shape the steps you take to achieve collective agreement and commitment to a vision. If no one understands what the vision is then it’s unlikely that people are going to be invested.

Shared learning

 

- Understand team dynamics because it enhances team performance.

- Clear articulation of the problem is essential to avoid misunderstanding.

- Discovery conversations can take time but are worthwhile investment in the long term.