Agile at Scale – Effective Communication | Will Jeffrey | Skillshare

Agile at Scale – Effective Communication

Will Jeffrey, Professional Agile Trainer

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21 Lessons (60m)
    • 1. Welcome

    • 2. PART 1: What Is Effective Communication?

    • 3. Skill #1 - Become an engaged listener

    • 4. Skill #2 - Pay attention to nonverbal signals

    • 5. Skill #3 - Keep stress in check

    • 6. Skill #4 - Assert yourself

    • 7. Conclusion to part 1

    • 8. PART 2: Effective Communication in Agile

    • 9. The interaction model

    • 10. Meet the challenge

    • 11. Conclusion to part 2

    • 12. PART 3: Productive Agile Meetings

    • 13. Being an effective meeting participant

    • 14. Hosting meetings - Introduction

    • 15. Hosting meetings - Preparing for a meeting

    • 16. Hosting meetings - Conducting the meeting

    • 17. Conclusion to part 3

    • 18. PART 4: E-mail writing

    • 19. Before hit send

    • 20. Examples

    • 21. Conclusion to part 4


About This Class

Why is effective communication important?

Effective communication makes a real difference when it comes to meeting project goals.

Based on a recent study on communication and project success:

  • The more employees are highly effective communicators, the more original goals are met. 80% met original goals where employees were highly effective communicators, while only 52% met original goals where employees were minimally effective communicators.
  • 28% of workers think that poor communication was one of the cause for the failure of their projects.

  • 80% rate of on time projects for teams that have communication plans.

Why is effective communication important in an agile project?

One of the principles behind Agile work methods is that, ‘business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.’ Even with agile methods in place, this is not always as straightforward as it seems.

This course looks at some of the key areas for improvement, when it comes to communication within an agile team…

There is no doubt that technical people are the ones that turn ideas into reality. Whether you’re an artisan programmer, an innovative DevOps engineer, or an automation testing genius, we all make it happen.

But we also have project managers to answer to. They’re the ones who keep us on track, and are keenly interested in making sure we build the right thing on time, and on budget. While you may be technically proficient, many applicants have been denied a job offer, because they lack the ability to communicate effectively to their managers, and other stakeholders.

The reality is that when you’re in a large-scale project, silo working is not only unlikely, but undesirable as it can lead to ivory towers, being built which later on incurs rework costs.

So, how can we communicate effectively within agile teams? How can we  instill confidence in stakeholders?

The intent of this course is to answer these questions, and to equip you to improve the way you communicate.

Through this course:

  • You will be able to get a better understanding of what is effective communication. The need to combine 4 skills is discussed in this part, and some tips and advice are shared to help you cultivating them.
  • You will understand the challenges to communicate effectively in an Agile context, that will help you and your teammates to make improvements. We will notably see how to handle diversity and how to consider alternatives in “meaning” and “significance”.
  • Working in an agile project means having recurring & regular meetings to plan, synchronize, review and retrospect: how can we keep them productive? In this part, we will discuss how to be better participants before and during these meetings. For those who have to host and lead some of these meetings, like team leaders, scrum masters, facilitators, managers, etc.: we will see also how to better host them thanks to an early preparation and an efficient conduct.
  • As just mentioned before, business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. Agile developer teams are most often collocated, in order to promote face-to-face communication. But how about the stakeholders? The remote workers? For those and others, it is rarely possible to have everyone in the same room every days, or to reach everyone through chats and online meetings. In this context, it makes sense to use e-mail to communicate. But as you know, writing communication introduces bias and misunderstanding. So, how to be more effective when communicating with e-mail? This last part will help you in this regard.

I hope you will find this course useful!


1. Welcome: Why is effective communication important? Effective communication makes a real difference when it comes to meeting project goals. Based on a recent study on communication and project's success, the more employees are highly effective communicators. The more original goals are met. 28% of workers think that poor communication was one of the cause for the failure of their projects. As you can see here, there is a link between delivering a project on time and having a communication plan. Now that we've seen how important communication is to a successful project, let's answer this question. Why is effective communication important in agile? One of the principles behind agile work methods is that business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project, even with agile methods in place. This is not always a straight forward, as it seems, this course looks at some of the key areas for improvement. When it comes to communication within an agile team, there is no doubt that technical people are the ones that turn ideas into reality. Whether you're an artisan programmer, an innovative develops engineer or an automation testing genius, we all make it happen. But we also have project managers to answer to. They're the ones who keep us on track and are keenly interested in making sure we build the right thing on time and on budget. While you may be technically proficient, many applicants have been denied a job offer because they lack the ability to communicate effectively to their managers and other stakeholders. The reality is that when you're in a large scale project, silo working is not only unlikely but undesirable, as it can lead to ivory towers being built, which later on incurs rework costs. So how can we communicate effectively with an agile teams? How can we instill confidence in stakeholders? The intent of this course is to answer these questions and to equip you to improve the way you communicate through this course, you will be able to get a better understanding of what is effective communication. The need to combine four skills is discussed in this part, and some tips and advice are shared to help you cultivating them. You will understand the challenges to communicate effectively in a natural context that will help you and your teammates to make improvements. We will notably see how to handle diversity and how to consider alternatives and meaning and significance. Working in an agile project means having recurring in regular meetings to plan, synchronize, review and retrospect. How can we keep them productive? In this part? We will discuss how to be better participants before and during these meetings. For those who have to host and lead some of these meetings, like team leaders, Scrum Master's facilitators, etcetera, we will see how to better host them. Thanks to an early preparation and an efficient conduct, as just mentioned before, business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. Agile developer teams are most often complicated in order to promote face to face communication. But how about the stakeholders, the remote workers? For those in others, it is rarely possible to have everyone in the same room every days or to reach everyone through chance and online meetings. In this context, it makes sense to use email to communicate. But as you know, writing communication introduces bias and misunderstanding. So how to be more effective when communicating with email? This last part will help you in this regard. I hope you will find this course useful 2. PART 1: What Is Effective Communication?: effective communication sounds like it should be instinctive. But all too often when we try to communicate with others, something goes astray. We say one thing. The other person here is something else, and misunderstandings, frustration and conflicts ensue. This can cause problems in your home school and work relationships. For many of us, communicating more clearly and effectively requires learning some important skills. Whether you're trying to improve communication with your spouse, kids boss or co workers, learning these skills can deepen your connections to others. Build greater trust and respect and improved teamwork, problem solving and your overall social and emotional health. What is effective communication? Effective communication is about more than just exchanging information. It's about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the information as well as being able to clearly convey a message. You need to also listen in a way that gains the full meaning of what's being said and makes the other person feel heard and understood More than just the words you use. Effective communication combines a set of four skills engaged, listening, nonverbal communication, managing stress in the moment, asserting yourself in a respectful way. While these air learned skills. Communication is more effective when it becomes spontaneous rather than formulaic. The more effort and practice you put in, the more instinctive and effective your communications skills will become. 3. Skill #1 - Become an engaged listener: when communicating with others, we often focus on what we should say. However, effective communication is less about talking and more about listening. Listening well means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated , but also understanding the emotions the speaker is trying to communicate. There's a big difference between engaged listening and simply hearing when you really listen. When you're engaged with what's being said, you'll hear the subtle intonations in someone's voice that tell you how that person is feeling in the emotions they're trying to communicate. When you're in engaged listener, not only will you better understand the other person, you'll also make the person feel heard and understood, which can help build a stronger, deeper connection between you. By communicating in this way, you will also experience a process that lowers stress and supports physical and emotional well being. If the person you're talking to has come, for example, listening in an engaged way will help to calm you to. Similarly, if the person is agitated, you can help calm them by listening in an attentive way and making the person feel understood. If your goal is to fully understand and connect with the other person listening in an engaged way will often come naturally if it doesn't try the following tips. The more you practice them, the more satisfying and rewarding your interactions with others will become. Let's a few tips for becoming an engaged listener. Focus fully on the speaker. You cannot listen in an engaged way. If you're constantly checking your phone or thinking about something else, you need to stay focused on the moment to moment experience in order to pick up the subtle nuances and important nonverbal cues in a conversation. If you find it hard to concentrate on some speakers, try repeating their words over in your head. It will reinforce their message and help you stay focused. Favor You're right here. As strange as it sounds, the left side of the brain contains the primary processing centers for both speech comprehension and emotions. Since the left side of the brain is connected to the right side of the body, favoring your right ear can help you better detect the emotional nuances of what someone is saying. Avoid interrupting or trying to redirect the conversation to your concerns by saying something like, If you think that's bad, let me tell you what happened to me. Listening is not the same as waiting for your turn to talk. You cannot concentrate on what someone saying. If you're forming what you're going to say next. Often the speaker can read your facial expressions and know that your mind's elsewhere. Show your interest in what's being said, not occasionally. Smile at the person and make sure your posture is open and inviting. Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes or Uh huh Try to set aside judgment in order to communicate effectively with someone you do not have to like them or agree with their ideas, values or opinions. However, you do need to set aside your judgment and withhold blame and criticism in order to fully understand them. The most difficult communication, when successfully executed, can often lead to an unlikely connection with someone. Provide feedback if there seems to be a disconnect, reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. What I'm hearing is or sounds like you're saying are great ways to reflect back. Dont simply repeat what the speaker has said verbatim, though you'll sound insincere or unintelligent. Instead, express with the speaker's words mean to you Ask questions to clarify certain points. What do you mean when you say or is this what you mean? 4. Skill #2 - Pay attention to nonverbal signals: the way you look, listen, move and react to another person tells than more about how you're feeling than words alone ever can. Nonverbal communication or body language includes facial expressions, body movement and gestures, eye contact, posture, the tone of your voice and even your muscle tension and breathing. Developing the ability to understand and use nonverbal communication can help you connect with others. Express what you really mean. Navigate challenging situations and build better relationships at home and work. You can enhance effective communication by using open body language arms on crossed, standing with an open stance or sitting on the edge of your seat and maintaining eye contact with the person you're talking to. You can also use body language to emphasize or enhance your verbal message, patting a friend on the back while complimenting him on his success, for example, or pounding your fists to underline your message. How to improve how you read nonverbal communication? Be aware of individual differences. People from different countries and cultures tend to use different nonverbal communication gestures, so it's important to take a judge, culture, religion, gender and emotional state into account When reading body language signals an American teen , a grieving widow and in Asian businessmen, for example, are likely to use non verbal signals differently. Look at nonverbal communication signals As a group. Don't read too much into a single gesture or non verbal cue. Consider all of the non verbal signals you receive for my contact to tone a voice to body language. Anyone can slip up occasionally and let eye contact Slip, for example, or briefly crossed their arms without meaning to consider the signals as a whole to get a better read on the person. How to improve How you deliver nonverbal communication? Use non verbal signals that match up with your words rather than contradict them. If you say one thing, but your body language says something else, your listener will feel confused or suspect that you're being dishonest. For example, sitting with your arms crossed and shaking your head doesn't match words, telling the other person that you agree with what they're seeing Adjuster. Nonverbal signals according to the context. The tone of your voice, for example, should be different when you're addressing a child than when you're addressing a group of adults. Similarly, take into account the emotional, state and cultural background of the person you're interacting with. Avoid negative body language. Instead, use body language to convey positive feelings, even when you're not actually experiencing them. If you're nervous about a situation, a job interview, important presentation or 1st 8 for example, you can use positive body language to signal confidence, even though you're not feeling it. Instead of tentatively entering a room with your head down, eyes averted and sliding into a chair, try standing tall with your shoulders back, smiling and maintaining eye contact and delivering a firm handshake. It will make you feel more self confident and helped to put the other person at ease. 5. Skill #3 - Keep stress in check: How many times have you felt stressed during a disagreement with your spouse, kids, boss, friends or co workers, and then said or done something you later regretted? If you can quickly relieve stress and return to a calm state, you will not only avoid such regrets, but in many cases you will also help to calm the other person as well. It's only when you're in a calm, relaxed state that you will be able to know whether the situation requires a response or whether the other person signals indicate it would be better to remain silent in situations such as a job interview, business presentation, high pressure meeting or introduction to a loved one's family. For example, it's important to manage your emotions, think on your feet and effectively communicate under pressure. Let's see now a few tips about how to communicate effectively by staying calm under pressure. Use stalling tactics to give yourself time to think. Ask for a question to be repeated or for clarification of a statement before you respond. Paused to collect your thoughts. Silence isn't necessarily a bad thing. Pausing can make you seem more in control than rushing your response. Make one point and provide an example or supporting piece of information. If your responses too long or you awful about a number of points, you risk losing the listeners interest. Follow one point with an example and then gauge the listeners reaction to tell if you should make a second point. Deliver your words clearly. In many cases, how you say something can be as important as what you say. Speak clearly. Maintain uneven tone and make eye contact. Keep your body language relaxed and open. Wrap up with a summary and then stop. Summarize your response and then stop talking. Even if it leaves a silence in the room. You don't have to fill the silence by continuing to talk. When things start to get heated in a conversation, you need something quick and immediate to bring down the emotional intensity. By learning to quickly reduce stress in the moment you can safely face any strong emotions you're experiencing. Regulate your feelings and behave appropriately. Recognize when you're becoming stressed, your body will let you know. If you're stressed is you communicate. Are your muscles or your stomach tie or your hands clenched? Is your breath shallow? Are you forgetting to breathe. Take a moment to calm down before deciding to continue a conversation or postpone int. Bring your senses to the rescue. The best way to rapidly and reliably relieve stress is through the senses. Sight, sound, touch, taste, smell or movement. For example, you could pop a peppermint in your mouth, squeeze a stress ball in your pocket, take a few deep breaths, clenching, relax your muscles, or simply recall a soothing, sensory rich image. Each person responds differently to sensory input, so you need to find things that are soothing to you. Look for humor in the situation when used appropriately. Humor is a great way to relieve stress when communicating. When you're those around, you start taking things too seriously. Find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or amusing story. Be willing to compromise. Sometimes if you can both bend a little, you'll be able to find a happy middle ground that reduces the stress levels for everyone concerned. If you realize that the other person cares much more about something than you dio, compromise may be easier for you and a good investment in the future of the relationship. Agree to disagree if necessary, and take time away from the situation so everyone can calm down. Go for a stroll outside of possible, or spend a few minutes meditating physical movement or finding a quiet place to regain your balance can quickly reduce stress. 6. Skill #4 - Assert yourself: direct, assertive expression makes for clear communication and can help boost your self esteem and decision making. Being assertive means expressing your thoughts, feelings and needs in an open and honest way while standing up for yourself and respecting others. It does not mean being hostile, aggressive or demanding. Effective communication is always about understanding the other person, not about winning an argument or forcing your opinions on others. To improve your assertiveness. Value yourself and your options. They are as important as anyone else's. No your needs and wants. Learn to express them without infringing on the rights of others. Express negative thoughts in a positive way. It's okay to be angry, but you must be respectful as well. Receive feedback positively. Accept compliments graciously learn from your mistakes. Ask for help when needed. Learn to say no, no, your limits and don't let others take advantage of you. Look for alternatives so everyone feels good about the outcome. How to develop assertive communication techniques. Empathetic assertion. Conveys sensitivity to the other person. First recognized the other person's situation or feelings, then state your needs or opinion. You might say, I know you've been very busy at work, but I want you to make time for us as well. Escalating assertion can be used When your first attempts are not successful. You become increasingly firm as time progresses, which may include outlining consequences. If your needs are not met, for example, you can say If you don't abide by the contract, I'll be forced to pursue legal action, practice assertiveness and lower risk situations to start with to help build up your confidence or ask friends or family if you can practice assertiveness techniques on them first. 7. Conclusion to part 1: as a summary, we saw that an effective communication combines a set of four skills. One engaged listening. When you really listen, when you're engaged with what's being said, you'll hear the subtle intonations in someone's voice that tell you how that person is feeling and the emotions they're trying to communicate when you're in engaged. Listener. Not only will you better understand the other person, you'll also make the person feel heard and understood, which can help build a stronger, deeper connection Between you. We saw six tips for becoming an engaged listener to non verbal communication. Developing the ability to understand and use nonverbal communication can help you connect with others, express what you really mean, navigate challenging situations and build better relationships at home and work. We discussed how to improve how you read nonverbal communication and how you deliver nonverbal communication. Three. Managing stress in the moment. In stressful situations, it's important to manage your emotions, think on your feet and effectively communicate under pressure. We saw five items to help us communicate effectively by staying calm under pressure, and explained how to quickly and immediately bring down the emotional intensity and four asserting yourself in a respectful way. Being assertive means expressing your thoughts, feelings and needs in an open and honest way while standing up for yourself and respecting others. It does not mean being hostile, aggressive or demanding. We detailed five items to improve your assertiveness and eventually, how to develop assertive communication techniques to help you improve the way you communicate. Do not forget the seven seas of effective communication. See for concrete. Be definite and specific, not vague. See for courtesy. Think about the receiver, their viewpoint and be respectful. See for complete must convey all the facts required by the receiver. See for consideration. Consider the audience and their requirements. See, for concise, least possible words. This saves time for sender and receiver. See for clarity. Be clear with your message. Keep it simple. See for correct. Ensure you are using accurate facts and figures. Proper use of grammar spelling in language 8. PART 2: Effective Communication in Agile: The agile manifesto highlights the value of individuals and interactions over processes and fools. Working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation. Responding to change over following a plan. While there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more when it comes to the first value. We don't throw process and tools out of the window, but the team and how they communicate come first. If we don't get that right, it doesn't matter what tools and processes we use. You can go to any number of blog's on the Web and read war stories of agile gone wrong many times, the problem can be traced to ineffective communication. High performing teams know how to build on differences in knowledge, experience, education, age, gender and cultural background. However, what are the challenges that such diversity raises? It can contribute to difficulties in communication across cultures or generations, risk to focus on their own set of characteristics and strengths. Nevertheless, we can use our differences as our strength rather than is a divisive force. We can be stronger collectively than we'd be if we all came from the same place geographically and experience wise. Guidance from scriptural principles can help us overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and b'more insightful and more balanced. When anyone replies to a matter before he hears the fax, it is foolish and humiliating. It is very easy and an agile project to fall into this trap. The principle of listening first and speaking second stands out, and this is something that we all have developed to some degree. However, it also shows clearly what we often take for granted. Communication is composed of taking an information hearing and then giving out information , replying what is involved in hearing and replying more than meets the eye. 9. The interaction model: what happens between two people when they communicate, especially when these two people are developers who are talking about code re factoring. Some steps are obvious. Our response by one person comes to the second person is a make. But there are several other steps involved in the process of interaction intake, physical process, vibrations in the air picked up by ear drums. I hear a message but not simple, meaning many things can affect the meaning that we attached to what we hear. Native speakers tend to talk too fast, hard to understand physical words expressed. Non native speakers can make vocabulary or grammar mistakes. For example, future tense instead of past multiple meanings could be assigned. Therefore need to be careful. The physical words may not actually be the message sent significance. The impact on the listener depends on historical factors. Personality, situation of a listener relationship with a speaker, etcetera. This is the basis for response all happening in a split second response. When we respond, we start the process all over again with whoever hears us. Let's look at an example of how this may play out in a typical conversation in an agile project this may be something we're likely to hear in our jobs. How could anyone misunderstand that? If it's our code we're talking about? What meaning might we attached to this? We might focus on the possible cause. We might focus on the possible side effects we may not even understand. It's good to be aware this when we send messages, there may be multiple meanings given, even though we only in 10 1 we can ask, How did you understand what I said? We may be surprised. Let's go for a best case scenario. Let's say we're able to objectively focus on a possible cause. Did we even pick out the correct cause? Possibly not. Now that we think we know the meaning of what our colleague is saying, what impact might it have on us by default? We believe our colleague has good motives. Therefore, we might be grateful. On the other hand, this job may make us acutely aware of our limitations, possibly even insecure, So we might build a protective wall around ourselves emotionally. Both possibilities Air riel. We may have felt that way at different times. Let's say that the significance attached to what has been heard is shaped by insecurity. How might we respond? We start building our emotional scar tissue. When our colleague here is this. What might he think? Everything is great. I must do that again and he moves on these steps. All happened in an instant. And the person who sends the message is unaware of everything behind the response. On the surface, I re factored your code to improve performance. Fine. Meanwhile, the seat of a problem has been sown. It seems so complicated. Should we give up and not say anything? We'd never get anywhere. Instead, we should try to be aware of what is happening below the surface, especially when our feelings start to rise. What can be said to summarize this part? By all means, be diligent with your intake quick to listen. But before you respond, give thought to the meaning and significance of what you've heard slow to speak. This is particularly true when it comes to dealing with business rules. Beauty of the code. Change of priority. Reviewing the work of someone else, etcetera Ask yourself, Are there other meanings? What about the significance? Did the other person really imply that? Am I aware that I'm feeling that if you do so, your emotional response will be more measured, slow to anger. We also need to be willing to share what we took out of the message inside into the process provides a framework that can help us to be self aware and balanced and reasonable in our responses and thus improve the quality of our interactions with others. 10. Meet the challenge: in today's fast paced workplace software developers and project managers air confronted with a painful paradox. They're faced with continual pressure to accelerate the development process. But this need for speed can result in communication failures and the accompanying project and quality problems. How can we meet this challenge to meet the challenge of this need of speed? We gain in real advantage when making the following conscious decisions about communication and planning structure work. Daily progress meetings Air only effective if they're reporting progress against well defined expectations. Weekly status reports should follow well defined structure so they can be written quickly without forgetting key issues. Extreme visibility plans, goals, metrics and issues should be highly visible and easily accessible to the team. Frequent brief communication Conduct daily. Stand up progress meetings no more than 15 minutes in which each member details progress against the micro schedule or backlog. Clear common goals. People will make a lot of decisions on the fly, but they must know how their piece of the project puzzled ties into the overall objectives . When mistakes are expensive and time consuming. Consider some basic guidelines for team formation and management to improve communication, keep teams small, having 4 to 5 developers working on a well defined subsystem stream lands communication. Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO, shared his to pizza team rule that teams shouldn't be larger than what two pizzas can feed . More communication isn't necessarily the solution to communication problems. It's how it is carried out. Compare the interactions at a small dinner or pizza party with a larger gathering like a wedding. As group size grows, you simply can't have his meaningful of a conversation with every person, which is why people start clumping off into smaller clusters to chant. For Bezos, small teams make it easier to communicate more effectively rather than mawr to stay decentralized and moving fast and encourage high autonomy and innovation. Address problem team members promptly. Team members who cannot or will not work well as part of a team quickly become morale issues that cost more than they're worth. Who fixes an impediment. It depends on the impediment. Obviously, the best person or persons should fix the impediment. Best is a multi varied equation. In practical terms, some are fixed by the scrum master or facilitator, some by the product owner, some by the doers in the team, some by people outside the team. Avoid part time team members sharing team members with other projects, guarantees thrash and assures that both projects will suffer. Try to get full time commitment from team members for the duration of their need on the project. Avoid adding developers to fix scheduled issues. If the project is not performing to its schedule goals. Avoid the quick fix of assigning additional people to an existing team. Brooks Law is an observation about software project management, according to which Having Human Resource is to a late software project makes it later. The overhead required to orient and assimilate a new team member rarely results in any short term schedule. Improvement Co located teams whenever possible. A development team should be located in the same building, on the same floor and in the same general area to facilitate team reviews and questions. A small meeting room for team uses a real plus. Virtual teams introduce avoidable communication barriers. One of the biggest communication challenges is building and sustaining an understanding of the development process among key stakeholders and sponsors. Providing understandable invisible milestones and demonstrably product during development is key so that sponsors and stakeholders get a sense of progress. This, in turn, helps to manage their expectations and facilitates communication about issues and schedules . International projects add yet another layer of complexity. There is huge tension between developing internationally and developing quickly. Cultural time zone infrastructure, language differences all slow down communication. Yet the requirement for speed is fundamentally a requirement for rapid, effective communication setting norms. Agreeing to structure etcetera is all the more critical. It's paradoxical, but you need to spend proportionately more time on defining communication protocols on rapid international projects. Top considerations for Communication on international development projects include assigning integrates modules to geographically co located teams who speak a common language . Co locating external interface developers with end users and assured that all members of both groups air fluent with the business jargon and national language of the application, kicking off with face to face meetings to establish communication norms and common understanding using multiple modes of communication, plan weekly conference calls at fixed times and with clearly defined agendas. Back these up with weekly status reports, regular emails, informal chats, fi on instant Internet messenger, basic courtesy and consideration go a long way. For example, a deli London. San Francisco conference call will require someone to work on usual hours. If you're scheduling regular calls, rotate the times. 11. Conclusion to part 2: How can use this knowledge to help you be aware of these point we have discussed in this part in your own interactions and set a good example yourselves. Observe how your teammates communicate and, if necessary, help them to consider alternatives in meaning and significance. Their responses will follow suit. Apply the suggestions to meet the challenge within your team and with your stakeholders by having a structured work, an extreme visibility and clear and common goals. We're all in perfect. So much effort and patients will be needed with ourselves and our teammates as we continually refine our communication by. Keep doing that. We're on track to succeed in our agile project. 12. PART 3: Productive Agile Meetings: in this part, we're going to talk about another aspect of effective communication. How can we have productive, agile meetings? We don't share this definition of what a meeting should be. We want to make a good use of our time and whether you are using Scrum, for example, every events, air time boxed, sprint duration included. So our time is limited, with so many working together on various facets of a project. Meetings air inescapable and together can consume a lot of time. But they're mandatory in order to synchronize and to take the opportunity to inspect and adapt both product and process. So how can we make our meetings more productive to have more productive meetings? This question needs to be answered. What are you meeting about? It is easy to fall into the trap of having meetings for the sake of having meetings or having a meeting. While a simple email would suffice, these two principles hold true all the time. Limit additional meetings to their purpose and objectives, unnecessary meetings or unduly lengthy meetings consume valuable time. Hence, we want to make good use of agile events. Daily Sink Sprint planning to reduce the need to have additional meetings. We also wanted to make sure that everyone treats every meeting like any other essential work activity and finally set an example whether we're the meeting organizer or a participant. 13. Being an effective meeting participant: I'm invited to a meeting. How can I be an effective meeting participant? How can I do my part to be an effective meeting participant? Let's see what we can do before and during the meeting. Remind yourself of the purpose and agenda. Do I know the purpose of this meeting? Do I have an agenda? Do I know my role? If you cannot hands for one of those questions, you might ask the meeting organizer for clarification. Plan to arrive on time on time might mean a few minutes early with your copy of the agenda or by having read it in advance. Now let's discuss how to contribute during the meeting. How to contribute Endeavor to keep comments succinct and relevant to the matter. Under consideration. Stay on topic. Be brief and concise. Be transparent, sharing all relevant data. But be careful to speak on the points under discussion only when you have something meaningful to add. To quote a proverb when words are many, transgression cannot be avoided, but whoever controls his lips axe discreetly. Let's discuss three very helpful items when it comes to contributing during a meeting. Pay attention to what others contribute and respect them. No side conversations or comments build on others. Contributions disagree without being disagreeable. Beware of interrupting work toward the objectives of the meeting. Challenge ideas rather than people. We don't expect all participants to contribute equally and in the same ways they each bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table. Regarding the last item, what is actually mean? Let's deep dive on it. Why should we prefer dialogue to debate In a dialogue? People express their opinions and differences in an effort to arrive at once better for the group in a spirit of mutual understanding, a quest for commonalties and a sense of community. Whereas in a debate people are driven by their individual interests to advocate their opinions and positions and to win over other opinions and positions. Two principles when it comes to making decisions, fostering unanimous decision making, supporting the final decision when we're apart of the minority. Let's see now the importance of recording notes from eating. They're very helpful when we have to go back to review a decision. Even if someone else calls the meeting, you ask for notes. It is a meeting, best practice and a meeting without minutes. Maybe an unnecessary meeting when recording minutes. Do not take note of decisions only, but take note of reason and decision. It will help participants to remember why this decision has been made. It will be also particularly useful for those who did not attend the meeting and need to catch up with the minutes. As a summary, we discussed eight tips to be an effective meeting participant. We want to one. Read the agenda carefully beforehand to prepare to participate. Three. Arrive on time with a copy of the Agenda. Four. Contribute and encourages others to contribute. Five. Respectfully pay attention to what others contribute. Six. Build on others contributions. Seven. Work toward the meeting objectives. Eight. Ask for the minutes afterward. 14. Hosting meetings - Introduction: We've all been a stuck in a bad meeting. You arrive on time only to have the meeting start 10 minutes late. The agenda unclear the person in charge. Also, some people start to offer ideas. Others shoot them down. Nothing is really decided on the meeting wraps up. As you silently lament the loss tower. There is a better way. Hosting a meeting could be a daunting task, even for a seasoned professional. For those just entering the workforce, speaking in front of your peers and keeping your co workers on topic may seem overwhelming . Effectively leading a meeting is an important skill in an agile project. What can we do to prepare and conduct effective meetings? Ensure the following items, having an agenda, defining the right meeting duration, running the meeting agenda at the proper pace, handling the discussion efficiently, facilitating decision making, ensuring that minutes are taken and published? Let's see in details. Each one of those 15. Hosting meetings - Preparing for a meeting: What are the items to be checked when we want to host a productive meeting? It may seem like an obvious requirement, but a lot of meetings start with no clear sense of purpose. The meeting's agenda can be summarized on a handout written on a white board or discussed explicitly at the outset, but everyone should know why they've gathered in what they're supposed to be. Accomplishing the agenda provides a compass for the conversation so the meeting can get back on track. If the discussion wonders off course, writing an agenda will help us to determine what matters need to be discussed by sending in advance a copy of the agenda to the participants. We will help everyone to make this meeting more effective. While we were writing the agenda, we should ask ourselves these questions. Why don't we need a meeting to be defined? I think that sets expectations on outline that supports the objective. How should the pieces of the meeting be sequenced most effectively and efficiently? Who should attend which parts of the meeting why is each person necessary? Research shows that engagement in meetings starts to drop off quite rapidly after about 30 minutes attention levels drop quickly, the longer the meeting lasts. If you know ahead of time that you only have 30 minutes or less to cover all of the topics on your list, you become hyper aware of how you're using the time. This translates into getting more done as you'll be less likely to get sidetracked discussing things that are irrelevant. It was also stated that because you only have a small window of time, you tend to listen better. When things are moving at a more rapid pace, we become more alert and therefore, when you have a room full of alert and focused people, success is bound to happen. Hence it's very important to define the right duration of a meeting, send out the agenda so that participants can prepare for meaningful involvement. By doing this, you can expect new agenda item, better audience participation, better solutions, reserve meeting space. We have all had the experience of trying to go to a meeting, only to discover at the last moment that there is no meeting location attached to the invite. Make sure that you reserve adequate meeting space that suits the number of attendees and work to be accomplished. Professional, agile meetings vary widely according to tone, setting, formality and content. No matter what kind of meeting you're attending, though, it's important to be thoroughly prepared. Know what role you're expected to play at the meeting? Identify your objectives, prepare relevant data and presentational materials and get yourself in the right frame of mind beforehand in order to ensure that you make a positive professional impression on your coworkers or clients. 16. Hosting meetings - Conducting the meeting: What should we take into consideration during the meeting, As mentioned here, the chairman sets the pace of the meeting and enforces that the agenda is respected. Each item of the agenda needs to be properly opened and concluded by the chairman. This ensures that everyone is going with the meetings flow. Let's see how we can apply this council. As a chairman, we want to maintain an appropriate pace. Cover each of the agenda items one at a time. In order, introduce each agenda item, conduct the discussion of the item. Keep discussions focused on the agenda item check for full understanding of any decisions on that item. Close the discussion of the item. Encourage full participation by all members. Help the participants evaluate the meeting close The meeting meetings will be more productive if participants speak up using Francis of Speech. How does a chairman encourage everyone to speak up freely to ease discussion during the meeting, Chairman needs to be careful to prevent any member from dominating chairman included and to engage all members in the discussion. Make sure that each person is allowed the opportunity to contribute for each purpose and goals choose an appropriate method conversation for possibility to maximize creativity and generate ideas. Conversation for opportunity to narrow down a field of options through discussing, sharing information, analysing taking positions, conversation for action to make a decision and commit to taking action. Participatory Process called the decision making diamond divergent zone generating alternatives Free, Open discussion. Gathering diverse points of view. Unpacking the logic of a problem. Convergent zone. Evaluating alternatives Summarizing key point sorting ideas. Arriving at conclusions. Closures. Own ending discussion. Clarifying proposal. Polling group members implementing decision rules. Decision point separate stinking in action indicates that disagreements no longer considered alternative points of view. If you want to know more about the participatory decision making end divergent and convergent thinking, see my other course available on skill share methods to decide managerial, the manager or chairman makes the call vote by majority or plurality. Just count the votes delegation. Selected members of the group make the decision consensus, a result that all participants can support. The cooperative development of a decision that's acceptable enough for all members of a group to agree to support. This is the most typical team approach to making decisions. For example, the decider protocol, a decision making process that provides a formal way for teams to achieve unanimous decisions in an efficient manner. This protocol has thumbs up, thumbs down, but also flat hand. Ah, yes, vote means yes, I support this proposal and I am ready to champion it. A supported vote. The flat hand can be translated, as I believe that this proposal is probably the best way for us to proceed. Now I support it, though I have some reservations. I don't believe I can lead the implementation of this proposal, but I commit not to sabotage it. A no vote means no. Right now. I can't support this proposal because it is playing wrong because some details need clearing up and looking into or because I don't understand it. Why preferring consensus to groupthink groupthink when all the members of a group seem to agree on a decision. But there are some who are censoring themselves and not expressing concerns or who have not resolved some differences they consider important and who are not resolved important differences because they feel pressure to agree and to avoid disrupting the unity consensus when all members of the group have thoroughly explored a range of choices considered the risks and weaknesses of each option and resolved all important differences. Chairman insurers that notes are taken during the meeting, either by him or someone else. He makes sure people follow up on their action items. Meeting notes are to be shared with the participants quickly within 24 hours for online meetings with Skype, for example, taking notes in a duly like Microsoft. One note that is presented to participants is very handy if a recurring meeting set up the next meetings notes, so people can immediately start adding to the next agenda. It's a good practice to get meeting feedback roadie. That is mean. Return on time Investment is a quick and easy method to gauge the time spent on meetings and to improve their effectiveness. How does it work? Take a couple of minutes at the end of the meeting to ask participants to rate their return on time invested using the fist of five technique and this 1 to 5 scale high return on investment received benefit greater than time invested. Moderate return on investment break even received benefit equal to time invested. Low return on investment. No return on investment. No benefit received for time invested a net loss of time in an online meeting. We can use a polar, the meeting chant. 17. Conclusion to part 3: this list summarized some of the tips we discussed during this part of the course. Both chairman and participants wanted come prepared and arrive at least five minutes early . We turn off our smartphone. We share all relevant data by staying on topic, remaining brief and concise. We resisted the temptation of having side conversations or comments, and we do not interrupt anyone when we disagree. We are not disagreeable as participants were willing to participate. We challenge ideas rather than people. We understand whether we keep silent, that it means we agree. As chairman, we start and end the meeting on time. We send meeting notes within 24 hours By keep doing this, we will improve the productivity of our meetings. 18. PART 4: E-mail writing: in this part we're going to talk about. How can we be more effective when communicating with email? Why does it matter? In an agile context, indeed, has reminded in the agile manifesto precisely at the seventh principal face to face conversation is the best form of communication. In spite of that, this is not always possible to have face to face communication. And we need to write an email to ask a question to a stakeholder, for example, or to address an issue with a remote worker in our team who is offline. Since time is precious for everyone, and emails can be time consuming for both email sender and receivers, we want to be effective when it comes to writing emails. First of all, this question needs to be answered whether to communicate with the mail. It's appropriate when you need Teoh, send someone a document, distribute information to a large number of people, keep a written record of the communication or get in touch with someone who is hard to reach because you might be very busy or is living in a different time zone. It's also appropriate if the information is not time sensitive unless your reader has promised otherwise. Assume that it may take a few days for him to respond to your message. It is not appropriate when your message is long and complicated or requires additional discussion. When there is a lack of information or a difference of opinion, the message is likely to generate an extended conversation like a game of Ping Pong. Or it would be best accomplished face to face. Avoid sending an email. Whether your message is charged with negative emotions or the tone of the message could be easily misconstrued. Once we have checked, it is appropriate to send an email. We need to think about who is going to read it first. Let's talk about the main recipient. Please reflect on the following questions. To whom do you wish to address this message? Who is he or who are them? What is your audiences relationship to you? How would you talk to him in a social situation? What do you want your audience to think or assume about you? What kind of impression do you want to make copying individuals on an email? C. C means carbon copy. Copying individuals on an email is a good way to send your message to the main recipient while also sending someone else a copy at the same time. This can be useful if you want to convey the same exact message to more than one person in professional settings. Copying someone else on an email can help get things done, especially if the person receiving the copy is in a supervisory role. For example, copying your boss on an email to a non responsive coworker might prompt the coworker to respond. Be aware, however, that when you send a message to more than one address using the C C field, both the original recipient and all the recipients of the carbon copies can see all the email addresses in the to and CC fields. Each person who receives the message will be able to see the addresses of everyone else who received it. Blind Copying emails B C. C means blind Carbon copy. Blind copying emails to a group of people can be useful when you don't want everyone on the list toe have each other's email addresses. The only recipient address that will be visible to all recipients is the one in the to field. If you don't want any of the recipients to see the email addresses in the list. You can put your own address in the to field and use BCC exclusively to address your message to others. However, do not assume that blind copying will always keep recipients from knowing who else was copied. Someone who is blind copied may hit, reply all and send a reply to everyone, revealing that he was included in the original message. 19. Before hit send: before you had sent. Look at the following points. The subject line. It's easy to read the tone, the greeting and farewell. Email subject lines air like newspaper headlines. Think about the subject lines on the email messages you receive. Which ones do you think are most effective? Why a few comments about subject lines? They should convey the main point that you want the reader to take away from your email. They should be as specific as possible. One word. Subjects such as High Question or F Y. I are not informative. And don't give the reader an idea of how important your messages. If your message is time sensitive, you might want to include a date in your subject line. For example, Network outage on Thursday, December 21st. Why do these ideas help us to write easy to read emails? We want our message to look tidy, not cluttered. First impressions count. We want to lower the barriers to understanding, so we remove visual noise. The purpose of the email has stated simply and directly in the first paragraph. This gets to the point. Other paragraphs add context, explanation, justification, etcetera. Each main thought is dealt with in a separate paragraph. This keeps our thoughts and the recipients clear. Some people are reluctant to read a long letter from a stranger, so it may be the course of wisdom to keep her message brief. We've already mentioned that time is precious in any message. Give attention to proper spelling grammar, punctuation end. Of course, neatness doing so will lend dignity to your email in the message that it contains. Let's look at some practical tips that are acceptable in less formal emails. When you are familiar to the recipients. State the purpose at the beginning. Ask a question that explained with paragraphs state a decision to be made, then list options. Comment on options in separate paragraphs. Provide a summary T L D R T L D Ar is an abbreviation for too long, didn't read. The point is, allow someone a quick overview of what the message talks about without having to read the whole thing. Provide the reader with context for your message. Use working hyperlinks for external resource is wicky files. Etcetera. Use bullet points for important details so that they are easy to pick out. Use boldface type to highlight critical information such as due dates. Do not type your entire message in capital letters or boldface. Your reader may perceive this a shouting, and he won't be able to tell which parts of the message are especially important. Once you have completed your email, read it to evaluate the content. How does it sound? Is it friendly and tactful? If you detect a negative tone or hint of pessimism, adjust the wording. Never send an angry email. Some have found the following procedure to be practical. Leave it in your drafts folder. Calm down. We read the email and edited. If you can talk face to face, Why What do we lose out on when we communicate via email? Your words are not supported by voice inflections, body language or other cues, so it may be easier for someone to misread your tone. Sarcasm and jokes are often misinterpreted in emails and may offend your audience. This is difficult enough when both sender and recipient have the same language. It is much more tricky in an international context. Regarding greetings. Always greet your reader common ways to address him. Dear colleagues. Polo John Hi Consider what others did. If this is part of a thread if others use. Dear Martin. Dear door, dear John is fine. Hello, buddy is not. When in doubt, address someone more formally to avoid offending them. What about farewells for your closing? Something brief but friendly will do for most correspondents. Thank you. Regards. See you tomorrow. Always sign off with your name at the end of your email. If you don't know the reader well, you might also consider including your role in the company you belong to. 20. Examples: Now let's practice, please look at John Does email. What are the problems? In version one? The subject line is imprecise. There is no greeting. The email contains only one big paragraph. There are typos. For example. Th instead of the grammar is incorrect. For example, these material instead of these materials details are vague and expected actions are not obvious. For example, tomorrow afternoon, enough copies there is a potential lack of clarity because of the second subject introduced here. Also, I wanted etcetera. There is no farewell. How does the message be improved? Let's see version to subject materials for kickoff preparation meeting. Hi, everyone. For tomorrow's three PM meeting in the conference room, please bring 15 copies of the following materials Your project calendar A one page report describing your progress so far. A list of goals for the next month. Copies of any progress report messages you have sent to clients this past month. See you tomorrow, John. It looks better, doesn't it? This email sets a good example of an effective communication when we have to write a long message. The subject is clear and specific. The message is easy to read. A wise use of T L D R paragraphs are separated. Important ideas are in bold notice, the use of hyperlinks to he's understanding the context here, a new framework feature. And to get the meaning of T L. D R. The tone is serious and respectful. Greeting and farewell are brief and friendly. 21. Conclusion to part 4: Let's quickly review a few points. We wanted to pay attention to when communicating with email subject line specific as possible to ease receivers to prioritize and handle their messages. Easy to read purpose stated in the very beginning to help the reader to determine the level of attention he should give to the message. Separate paragraphs for the sake of clarity. Brief. We remember that the time is precious for everyone. Tone friendly and tactful. Greeting and farewell include them in every email. If we don't know the reader well, we might also consider including our role in the company we belong to. There are valid cases when we're less structured. This is when we're using email is in a synchronous chant. Let's take an example. Imagine, John, send this email to Martin. Could you please chair the next project meeting? Thanks. Ah, well, do answer from Martin would suffice. This might even be done purely using the subject line. This last thought summarizes nicely what we talked about today, right? As if you were talking to the person face to face Once again. I'd like to thank you for attending until next time. Goodbye