This is the another post in my “Today I read …” series where I aim to summarise. or recapitulate, excellent, and educational, articles that I have read
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Today I read the transcript, and viewed the slide deck, from one of the IIBA Spotlight Series: BA Practices in a Virtual World (from May 2013). I was particularly interested in this,as I am a strong believer that projects can be completed by groups, and individuals, that are located in geographical disparate locations. The webinar was presented by Larry Simon of the Inflection Group.
(Note – this webinar is archived on the IIBA site, but is only available to IIBA members.)
The webinar, promised that I would learn the following:
- How Facilitation has Changed
- Building Rapport Virtually
- Managing Participation
- Tools for Virtual Teams
- Demo: Powernoodle for Virtual Facilitation
This was promising.
I read through the slides and then went through the webinar transcript… After the usual introductions, etc, Larry pointed out, through the use of an example (he use to lead a facilitated centre, or an accelerated solutions environment) that the standard practice was to get everyone in the same room, and to hash things out, with copious use of whiteboards, and “group sessions”.
This would continue until a solution had been reached, or an agreement on what the problem was, what the requirements are, etc. There was an expectation that the classic Form/Storm/Norm/Perform would take place.
He then goes on to highlight the fact that, often, getting everyone in the same room, is not possible. This may be because of different geographical locations, or the fact that people work from home, or for any other myriad of reasons. (“Your office is where you are.”)
The presenter describes several handy techniques, and tools that can be used when holding a “virtual workshop”. Handy things that we should all write on a piece of paper and keep in our pocket for reference. Things such as being considerate when talking, building rapport by disclosing something about ourselves that the other person didn’t know, or mirroring others (without mocking). Finding out as much as you can about the other attendees is also a good tip (but the presenter warns that there is a fine line between being interested in a person, and stalking them.)
Taking notes during the session is also a recommended practice. Recording the sessions is also a “really good suggestion”. I won’t describe the other incredibly useful gems that get mentioned.
Then Larry describes several tools that can be used for virtual meetings. There are tools that allow for the sharing of screens,or for sharing files, and documents (anyone everheard of Google Docs?). This culminates in a demo of Powernoodle, an online collaboration tool which, actually,offers some great functionality.
There are quite a few good questions asked my the attendees of the webinar, but these were not answered in a satisfactory way (I felt).
All in all, I was expecting much more from this webinar. I have seen large enterprise projects work where the stakeholders and the implementation team, were all spread across multiple cities, countries,and continents, where English was not everyone’s native language.
I felt the advice, and information, that the presenter gave was a bit thin. It did not have a lot of depth. Having said that, I understand that the field of working with disparate teams is something that cannot be given justice in an hour-long webinar.
In fact, this topic is something that I have been,and will continue to, delve into more deeply (including Agile and remote teams). I’ll keep you updated.
The webinar can be viewed on the IIBA site (members only).
A PDF of the slide deck is available on the IIBA site here, and the transcript can be downloaded here. (Again – members only)
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