I had a conversation recently with someone who suggested that the skills needed to manage projects and programmes are the polar opposite to facilitation and so has no place in the PPM environment. I have the opposite view. We know that projects and programmes need to have an approach which is clear and utilises a framework or method. I used to agree with this view as the facilitators I had met were focussed on the ‘fluffy’ stuff which tends not to be the heartland of project managers.
Over time I have entirely changed my view. I learnt the ‘Process Iceberg’ facilitation method and now believe that facilitation is a core skill which should be learnt by every project or programme manager. What created this turnaround, I hear you ask. Let me share it with you.
Process Iceberg is, as the name suggests, a process based approach to facilitation. As a project and programme person this works well for me. I like to have a framework or process to follow. It has clear roles, of task leader and facilitator, and a process to follow. The Iceberg is a hierarchical set of layers which can be used to set up, undertake, manage and review the facilitated event.
There are plenty of events to facilitate in projects and programmes, from requirements workshops to post-project reviews and everything in between.
How will the Process Iceberg approach help with these? It enables you, as the PPM manager to plan an agenda with the tools and techniques which are the most likely to be effective to deliver the objective. Once the event starts you are watching to check on the tools and techniques being used, ready to change things if needed. You will also be watching the people, not to get in touch with their feelings but to ensure that they are provided with the best opportunity to give of their best to the event.
Use the right tools to ensure that the dominant character does not impose their view on the group, that the timid person still has a voice and that the task is achieved.
As well as improving the effectiveness of meetings and group events, good facilitation techniques can help with one to one interactions as well. Although you may have excellent people skills there are areas which we all find challenging, be it conflict management, performance management or personal issues. Through the use of appropriate facilitation techniques you can reduce the stress of these situations. I am not suggesting that Facilitation is the panacea to everything or that it will make every project easy, but it will help. Why not join me to learn more?
CUPE International has partnered Kingston Business School to run the next Facilitation course 2nd to 6th December. Talk to the CUPE Team on 01202 555711 or Team@cupeinternational.com , or look at www.cupeinternational.com .