Origins

The role of Workshop Facilitator in the agile environment emerged – with the concept of agility itself – around 20 years ago.

The concept of a 'splitting team' has also been around for a long while in a systemic context, whereby a second team is created and takes on shared responsibility for tasks and procedures.

A facilitator can be defined as a person who manages or leads a course of action, such as the one in the Lego Serious Play example. Process facilitators are commonly found in the consultancy field and play a significant role in large-scale projects. Workshop facilitators have long been established within the field of project management.

Recognition

The International Association of Facilitators (IAF) is an international body that supports facilitators around the world – www.iaf-world.org. The association hosts international congresses for its members, serves as a source of information and provides opportunities for certification.

APMG created the Facilitation Framework in 2012, in association with the Strategic Facilitators from the UK. Certification is available for Foundation and Practitioner levels, as well as in other fields – http://www.apmg-international.com/en/qualifications/facilitation/facilitation.aspx.

We are the leading ATO in this field within Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Results

The workshop facilitator is responsible for leading the project team more effectively towards structured goals, which still remain the goals of the project team itself. No specialist knowledge is required here – simply an understanding of different perspectives.

When the facilitator uses the Iceberg management model, he works with the person in charge of a particular task, as well as the stakeholders of each level, to agree on ways that support can be provided. This allows everyone to know what is expected of them and why specific actions need to be carried out.

Implications

Beating new paths often requires a radical break with old habits. The more innovative and abstract new projects are, the less certitude people have. We can only identify such projects once we know what they entail (what, where, how, why and what for?)

People who have a large gap between where they are and where they need to be, or are scared of venturing from the beaten path, tend to be considered as 'dysfunctional'. These are joined by further categories such as 'transitional' and 'process-minded'. In the case of 'dysfunctional' people, no questions are raised and the facilitator provides feedback to the group. The 'transitionals' contains a few advocates, whereas the process-minded group are proactive in requesting feedback. The level of understanding increases with each group.