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How to Reframe Your Approach to Change Management: Welcome to the Jungle

(Project Management) Permanent link

Domo of the jungle

When the topic of home page real estate comes up, 4 out of 5 association professionals are likely to let out a groan. I've heard their stories of sitting in meetings where decisions about home page content are made based on power politics – whoever has the most departmental clout gets the primo real estate.

But this doesn't happen if René Shonerd is on your team

As the Managing Director of Technology Initiatives at the American Industrial Hygiene Association, René has a proven approach to dealing with change management challenges, including website squabbles. She uses a 4-frame model first introduced in Reframing Organizations by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal.

With the first of the 4 frames, the Structural frame, you look at how change brought on by new technology affects the infrastructure or framework of your organization. Which policies, processes, procedures, job positions or descriptions are affected by the change?

The second frame, the Human frame, views the organization through a more human (or humane) lens that focuses on people – their perceptions, emotions, and behavior.

The third frame, the Political frame, views the organization as a jungle. Does that sound about right from your experience?

If you don't have a change management plan in place, alongside change comes conflict. In the minds of many, change results in winners and losers. Some on staff will feel disempowered. Some will use the occasion to make power grabs. There's one thing you can count on: pushback.

Keep on talking – and listening

"Much of this drama can be avoided if you build two-way communication into your project management plan," said René. She warns, however, that "if your communication with staff is one-way only and staff has no opportunity for input, you miss the opportunity to build trust and buy-in with those who will be affected by the change."

René recommends creating arenas for conflict – opportunities for concerns and issues to be worked out in a healthy fashion with rules, referees, and spectators. She used this approach when leading a website redesign project. She heard the "my content needs to be on the home page" argument too, but she had a plan.

The players make the rules

Working with the vendor, René decided to do the card-sort exercise not only with the project team but with senior staff as well so they could have input into the primary navigation and home page elements. She gathered all the "powers that be" together for a facilitated exercise about strategic priorities for the site. Once the strategic priorities were tied to organizational goals, it took the politics out of the discussion. She let them sort the cards and come to the appropriate decisions themselves. Everyone had the opportunity to be heard, but now they all understood how navigation was designed and why specific types of content were given priority on the homepage.

Clever, isn't it? The outcome is a website that serves the goals of the association instead of being a political pawn.

Flickr photo by Richard Elzey  

Neighbor helping neighbor

(Community, Events) Permanent link

Last night, the DelCor crew made the short trip over to Shepherd's Table, where we served 141 members of our community a delicious dinner of cheesesteaks, onion rings, mixed veggies, salad, and desserts. It was our 4th time doing so, and probably one of our quietest nights of service; the guests were all so busy enjoying this special dinner that they weren't very chatty!

Shepherd's Table is a partner agency of the Capital Area Food Bank, of which we are also a long-time supporter. In fact, we're about to kick off our 13th Annual .org Community Food Drive for CAFB, which will help the food bank distribute much-needed nourishment throughout our entire region through its 500 or so partner agencies, including our neighbor, Shepherd's Table.

 

Please *click here* to join our food drive & help the food bank fulfill its mission to our community!

 

Need to know more before you commit? No problem!

  • The DelCor-sponsored food drive raises much-needed funds that go directly to our local food bank.
    • To date, the .org Community Food Drive, sponsored by DelCor, has provided more than 280,000 meals.
    • 92¢ of every dollar is used for food programs, distribution, and transportation – all of which are critical to the "frontline" work that CAFB and its 500 partner agencies do on a daily basis. It is truly neighbor helping neighbor.
     
  • How many children in our region are food-insecure?
    • Nearly 1/3 of children in D.C.
    • Nearly 1/5 of children in Maryland
    • 55,000 children in Northern Virginia
     
  • CAFB served more than ½ million people last year. And the need is actually greater than their capacity, and growing – not shrinking – despite "economic recovery."
    • Last year, the food bank distributed 42 million pounds of food – equivalent to 35 million meals.
     
  • What areas does CAFB serve?
    • Washington, D.C.
    • Montgomery County, MD
    • Prince George's County, MD
    • Fairfax County, VA
    • Prince William County, VA
    • Arlington County, VA
    • City of Alexandria, VA
     
  • 21,000 volunteers support the work of the food bank each year, representing a $2.6 million savings in staffing costs.
    • This year, DelCor will sponsor our 3rd Annual Volunteer Night @ CAFB (date TBD), in conjunction with this food drive.
     
  • What is food insecurity?

Limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.

 

What can YOU do?

Those are the facts – and there are many more – but there is something more than "fact" that I hope compels you to join our drive. It's the Power of (A)yes, the Power of Associations – to join together to better our community.

If your organization is headquartered anywhere in the Metro DC Region, the truth is that the food bank serves you, your family, your neighbors, your staff, your clients, your members – because we are each part of the fabric of our community.

Please, do something good today to strengthen the fabric of your community: join the 13th Annual .org Community Food Drive! Together, we can solve hunger – and demonstrate the Power of (A).

 

Details, details

Our food drive begins Friday, May 1, and runs through Thursday, May 21. Any association, nonprofit, or charitable organization may take part, as well as any vendor, company, or supplier supporting the association/nonprofit community. Participating organizations agree to promote the food drive to their staff and/or members, with guidance from DelCor. Any individual, organization, or company may donate directly to the food drive when it launches on May 1.

Not in the D.C. region? Support your local food bank! Find it here.

How to Reframe Your Approach to Change Management: We Are Family

(Project Management) Permanent link

normal family

When implementing new technology, it’s rarely the new system itself that’s the challenge for project managers and IT staff. Rather, it’s your colleagues – the people who must work with the new system. People don’t like change.

René Shonerd, Managing Director of Technology Initiatives at the American Industrial Hygiene Association, found a way to understand, prepare for, and respond to staff resistance to change. She uses a 4-frame model developed by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal, authors of Reframing Organizations.

In my last post, I described how René uses the first of the 4 frames, the Structural frame, to understand how a new project affects the infrastructure or framework of an organization.

Change creates ambiguity and distrust

The second frame, the Human frame, views the organization as an extended family. With this change management lens, you focus on people – their perceptions, emotions, and behavior. With the introduction of new technology and the resulting structural changes in policies, processes, and procedures, people aren’t quite sure yet what is expected of them or what to expect from others.

In the face of this change, people believe their “old” knowledge and skills are being devalued. They don’t yet have the skills required for their new role or for new processes, and many don’t have the desire to acquire them. Their confidence and ego are shaken. As a result, they resist change, hoping others will see that the old way is the best way.

Provide comfort in the hopes of joy

In these scenarios, project managers and IT staff must provide support, or arrange for it to be provided. People need to feel heard. They need to feel secure in their status. You might have to act as a counselor, listening to them and helping them work through the anxiety they’re feeling.

“Counselor” isn’t a role most IT professionals are used to, but this support must be provided. René said, “If you’re not the best person to provide support, ask for the help of someone who can, perhaps human resources staff or a project champion on staff who has the aptitude for this type of role.”

A story from the association front line

A benefit of new technology is that it often frees up staff time to focus on more mission-critical work. But this change can be alarming to staff whose jobs are affected by that implementation. After a shift to e-commerce at René’s former association, the number of orders placed by phone and mail decreased, and along with it the need for data entry by call center staff.

“As we were moving to online ordering, the president set a goal to increase membership,” said René. “We worked with HR to draft new position descriptions for 2 of the call center staff because we shifted their focus from entering orders to entering membership prospect data. The way we handled this transition helped the call center staff deal with change because they knew their jobs weren’t going away.”

René warns that staff who are experts on an old system or process may feel anxious about learning a new system or process because they’ll no longer be perceived as the expert. She recommends including them in demonstrations, user acceptance testing, and formal training so they regain confidence and become more invested in the new system.

The Human frame helps you turn what could be a threatening and stressful time of change for your fellow staff into a more humane experience that will help them ease into transition with their dignity and ego intact.

Flickr photo by DaveBleasdale

Reframe Your Approach to Change Management: Welcome to the Machine

(Project Management) Permanent link

Change management is no longer the exclusive specialty of consultants. To help their organizations implement and master new technology, IT professionals must also become proficient with change management.

René Shonerd, Managing Director of Technology Initiatives at the American Industrial Hygiene Association, is an IT professional who understands change management. She recently told me about a session she co-led at the 2014 ASAE Technology Conference titled “Leading Change in IT.” She said that change management is a part of project management that is often overlooked by both the IT and executive staff.

She’s been using a 4-frame model to deal with change management challenges. The model, from the book Reframing Organizations by Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal, has helped her address and reduce any resistance to change brought about by the implementation of new technology and to ensure that technology project goals are realized.

In their book, Bolman and Deal use a metaphor to describe each of the 4 frames. The first frame, the Structural frame, views the organization as a machine. With this structural lens, you look at how a new project affects the machinery of your organization – its infrastructure or framework. Will the new technology require changes in policies, processes, procedures, job positions/descriptions, or training?

If you don’t consider the project’s impact on your organization’s structure and prepare staff for any necessary changes, an ugly disconnect will reveal itself. Old policies and procedures may no longer make sense given the new technology. A sense of confusion and chaos settles in for staff whose jobs are affected. Your once well-oiled machine begins to break down.

That Change Management ’70s Show

Change management isn’t a 21st century phenomenon. René told me a story about her father-in-law’s employer, a large technology company, in the 1970s. Back then his office’s standard mode of communication was well-written and edited interoffice memos. To improve communication between different locations, the company introduced a pre-email electronic communication system.

The new technology was a game-changer. No longer did managers have to rely on support staff to type, proof, and mail correspondence. Instead they could communicate directly, person-to-person, with their colleagues. Entry- and mid-level management adopted the new system. However, senior management resisted because they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) type. They continued using support staff to send out and receive correspondence in the traditional way.

Sensing trouble ahead, the project manager asked the CEO to use the new system to make a request of senior staff. Although initially resistant, the CEO sent the message and set a deadline to reply. When senior staff missed the deadline because they never read the original message, the CEO made his frustration known. Finally, senior staff got on board and learned to type so they could use the new system.

Modern Day Change Management

Before introducing new technology, consider the skills that staff will need to learn. For example, even the chief lobbyist will need to learn how to look up a phone number in the AMS or pull a list to send an email to a group of CEOs.

Recently, René was involved in drafting a new IT vision and strategy that would make it possible for staff to work remotely. However, the association’s policy didn’t allow staff to do that. Her team worked with HR staff to put a new telework policy in place that defined who could work remotely.

René said, “Without this change in policy, any system needed for telework, no matter how well the project was managed or executed, would have been dead on arrival.”

Next we’ll look at how René used the Human frame, which views the organization as a family, to ease the anxiety and stress that can spread through an organization at times of change.

DelCor Awarded Workplace Excellence Seal of Approval

(Our Company) Permanent link

Association/nonprofit-focused IT consulting firm recognized as model workplace

AWE Workplace Excellence Award 2015

The Alliance for Workplace Excellence honored DelCor Technology Solutions yesterday with a Workplace Excellence Seal of Approval. DelCor is one of 51 companies to receive the award for their exemplary commitment to building excellent places to work in Montgomery County and through the United States. The Alliance also recognized 10 additional winners in other categories.

“It is our vision to be a model partner for our clients and a model workplace for our staff,” said founder and CEO Loretta Monterastelli DeLuca. “This award is wonderful recognition of our commitment to that vision.”

All award recipients undergo a rigorous assessment process led by an independent review panel. They recognized DelCor for its commitment to staff, including company-paid professional development and memberships, liberal telework programs, and ergonomic office products such as lift desks and treadmill desks. As well, DelCor was applauded for its commitment to Montgomery County and the surrounding communities, including the company’s membership in Community Profits Montgomery, 30 Acts of Appreciation, and annual sponsorship of the .org Community Food Drive for the Capital Area Food Bank.

The Alliance for Workplace Excellence will celebrate all of the winners at an annual awards luncheon on May 21 in Bethesda, MD.  The awards luncheon, focused on “The Future of Workplace Excellence,” will feature a keynote address by Michele Norris, President of Navigen Leadership, LLC, and will be hosted by award-winning journalist Leon Harris, from ABC7/WJLA-TV. For event information, visit www.excellentworkplace.org/events.html.

About DelCor

DelCor Technology Solutions, Inc., is an independent technology consulting firm headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, with seven areas of service designed especially for associations and nonprofits. Since its founding in 1984, DelCor has helped hundreds of organizations nationwide achieve progress through technology, with a focus on IT Maturity.

About AWE

The Alliance for Workplace Excellence (AWE) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1999 by Montgomery County, MD, and Discovery Communications.  Over the past 16 years, AWE has been dedicated to empowering employers to build excellence in the workplace as a means of supporting the quality of life for employees, their families, and the community at-large.  AWE is dedicated to increasing the number of excellent workplaces within the business community through education and recognition, as a means to enhance the quality of life of its citizens and empower economic growth. For more information, visit www.excellentworkplace.org.

Finding the sweet spot for your association’s IT security

(Cloud Computing, Infrastructure, Security) Permanent link

The CLUB steering wheel lock

With an increasingly high level of security threats like the ones exposed on the nightly news, it’s tempting for IT departments to lock everything down. However, your staff needs – and expects (especially the younger generation) – a certain level of freedom to work efficiently and productively. The best security policy balances the needs of staff, the IT department, and the people who entrust their data with you: your members and constituents.

The case for less security

Each end of the security spectrum has its own risks and rewards. A security policy with fewer restrictions may grant staff more admin rights to install programs or use their mobile devices freely at work. A lower level of security may make the work day easier for staff, and allow them to get work done faster. IT staff won’t have as many support calls to install and update programs. Until one of those updates isn’t really [insert name of downloadable software], but is actually malware. That’s the risk of a more hands-off approach.

But, on the other hand, is more security better?

Having more security reduces the risk of breaches, but does come with its own challenges. When staff aren’t able to do as much on their own, the IT department is naturally required to provide more support and oversight. For example, staff may be allowed to use their mobile device for work, but only with a mobile management program overseen by the IT department. Or, a policy requiring a password change every 4 months means IT staff is answering more help desk calls.

Security is not just about the devices themselves

Security isn't just a technical concern. A good security policy addresses association-wide issues.

  • If a security breach occurred and confidential data were compromised, do you have a crisis playbook? Do you have a response team? Does that team include staff with crisis communication skills?
  • Do you segregate data by its level of importance and, therefore, security requirements?
  • Is staff trained to spot and avoid social engineering attempts to breach security? Do you test to see if staff is using default passwords?

A balanced security policy works for everyone

Your security policy should include input from IT and non-IT staff to include a variety of perspectives and needs. More importantly, before a security policy is implemented, everyone on staff must understand why and how they, as individuals, should comply.

Staff compliance with your security policy will help protect your association against known threats, but it’s only as good as the knowledge and expertise behind it.

Budget for a security audit. A security audit is not the same as a technology or IT audit. It’s a focused audit performed by security specialists. Get a security audit before something happens. You don’t want to be the association sending a “Target letter” to your members or have your network go down during a trade show. Or, even worse, you don’t want to be a target for intruders who want access to your members’ networks and data.

Leverage your relationship with the providers of your existing antivirus packages. What percentage of the package are you using? A phone call with one of their software engineers to discuss your situation could be worth thousands of dollars. An incremental increase in the licensing fee may give you additional modules that will provide major deterrents to hackers.

Remember The Club for cars — the locking device for steering wheels? Think of additional security as The Club for your organization — if hackers see it, they’ll walk on by to find another target.

Next up, we’ll review the elements of a sound security policy.

Flickr photo by Asim Bharwani

 

The IT security threat landscape for associations

(Cloud Computing, Infrastructure, Security) Permanent link

evil computer gremlin

Although an increasing amount of data is moving between networks, mobile devices, and the cloud, IT departments don’t always have the information they need to protect their association’s network and data from malicious attacks. Associations Now highlighted this disconnect with a sobering statistic from the Cloud Security Alliance:

Just 8 percent of more than 200 IT and security professionals surveyed worldwide know the number of unauthorized apps currently being used within their companies – a phenomenon often called shadow IT.

Shadow IT is just one security challenge that IT staff must address. Since 2013, there’s been a 27.5% increase in data breaches, according to a report by the Identity Theft Resource Center. The Sony hack is one of the more recent headlines, but news-making IT security attacks date back to the early days of office desktops. Unfortunately, the entry points exploited by security threats in the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s are still concerns for all organizations.

Maybe you remember The Brain virus from 1986? It was the first of many Microsoft OS viruses that got into desktops and then networks when people copied files from infected floppy disks. Infected USB drives cause the same problems today.

The next big scare came from the Morris worm in 1988 that exploited unpatched systems, in this case, a popular email server.

From 1995 to 2000, an epidemic of infected attachments spread viruses through email contact lists, like obnoxious chain letters raining bad luck down on all the recipients.

In 2008, we first saw hijacked web links downloading malicious executable files.

In 2012, millions of Yahoo email addresses and passwords were stolen in an SQL injection attack. Because a Yahoo web application wasn’t written in a secure manner, malicious code was injected into it that allowed access to the application’s database.

Since 2013, ransomware has become increasingly common. Victims of these extortion attempts may have to resort to paying a ransom to the attacker to get an encryption key that allows them to decrypt their files. It sounds like a sick online game, but it’s a serious cybercrime. It even made its way into primetime storytelling on an episode of “The Good Wife.”

The 3 most common security threats we see today:

  1. Malware infections – malicious software that’s installed without your consent, for example, viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. The Sony, Home Depot, and Target breaches were caused by malware.
  2. Denial of service attacks – the inundation of a network or server with external communication requests with the intent of bringing it down and making it unavailable to its users.
  3. Spam injections – code is injected into custom-written contact forms resulting in thousands of emails being sent out anonymously.

The Home Depot and Target breaches are illustrations of what can happen when the security of a third party is compromised. In those cases, hackers stole and used vendor log-ins on extranet sites to get inside the companies’ networks and install malware that stole millions of credit card numbers and email addresses.

If Sony, Home Depot, Target, and other Fortune 500 companies can be hacked, you can too. Your members have a transactional relationship with the companies they do business with. But they have different expectations for the relationship they have with you. They trust you with their data and privacy, but is that trust truly warranted?

On the other hand, can associations trust that their members won’t become the entry point for malicious hackers like the Home Depot and Target vendors were?

I know this all sounds overwhelming and depressing, but stick with me. In my next post, I provide suggestions for improving your organization’s security readiness.

Can’t wait for the next post? Read about the delicate Balancing Act of IT security versus flexibility in Associations Now.

 

 Flickr photo by EFF Photos

Your content doesn’t have to suck: an introduction to intelligent content

(Web, Usability, CMS) Permanent link

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats Cartoon #2507

I returned from my first Intelligent Content Conference inspired by speakers like Robert Rose, Scott Abel, Cleve Gibbon, and Melissa Breker, and energized to return to work and spread the message, “Your content doesn’t have to suck!”

I’ve been working with association clients for 3 years now as a consultant at DelCor, helping organizations to create digital strategies; select or replace their existing content management systems; and revamp their websites, social, and mobile efforts. As a former association marketer and membership professional, I understand just how complicated it is to orchestrate content internally to make the content meaningful and useful to the member. Whether you’re at a large Fortune 500 company or a mid-sized association, silos and deadlines are very real. What’s more, the role of “content strategist” just doesn’t exist in many associations.

What is intelligent content exactly?

Intelligent content must abide by these 7 rules; the content must be:

  1. scalable,
  2. reusable,
  3. personalized,
  4. structurally rich,
  5. automatically discoverable,
  6. reconfigurable, and
  7. adaptable.

Also, the content must be in the right voice, tone, and tailored specifically toward your target audience. As you’ve likely learned by now, there is no one-size-fits-all approach here. The content needs to find the right person at the right time, on the right platform/channel, in the right language, and be optimized for that person’s device.

The intelligent content command: quality, not quantity

Intelligent content argues for creating personalized journeys for the member. If you already work in the digital arena, you’re probably familiar with the need for creating personas and offering personalized content, but this goes even further by making sure the content – the true grit of your message – is compelling and clear to the audience. While many marketers are focused on the omnichannel challenge – how can we reach everyone, everywhere? – intelligent content argues for us to stop producing so much “meh” content. In fact, we should be creating LESS content. Y’know, quality, not quantity.

If you haven’t created a content strategy yet, now is the time folks. 90% of the world’s data has been generated in the last 2 years. According to Robert Rose’s presentation, there were 710 million rolls of film processed in 1995, 8 billion digital photos taken and stored in 2005, and 1 billion digital photos shared in 2015. That’s a lot of photos being created.

More and more of your members/customers want to have exceptional experiences when interacting with your brand/organization. How are we delivering that experience throughout the year when they aren’t at our conferences? Step outside your own organization and ask yourself this: what are the 5 brands/organizations you can say you have a relationship with?

Pretty hard exercise, isn’t it?

 

Flickr photo by Ape Lad

Blogger’s Digest & Upcoming Events: March 2015

(Everything Else) Permanent link

artistic cleaning bottle

There’s a slight theme to this month’s blog posts – organization! So, how about a little spring cleaning? If you would like to receive this monthly digest by email, let us know by dropping a line to bwalker[at]delcor.com. Sprouting on the blog next month: reframing change management and what associations need to know about IT security.

Blogger’s Digest: March 2015

Upcoming Events

 

Flickr photo by John Perivolaris


A facilitator’s tricks of the trade

(Project Management) Permanent link

colored flip chart markers

Not too long ago, I facilitated a 3-day meeting in which a group of 10 independent organizations were working on a project to share information. This group of executives agreed to establish a set of standards for the group that would allow them to share development costs for a software product. We had 2 days to establish a base set of standards to support the needs of the individual organization as well as their community at large. The standards had to include enough detail so that the software development team could propose solutions, but general enough to allow for flexibility during the creative process.

Were we successful? YES!

Why? Preparation, spirit of agreement, and lots of paper!

team in facilitated meeting

Before the team assembled, we established the goals for the workshop. I met with the project manager and business analyst for a full day to prepare each major objective. We developed a series of flip charts with requirements and assumptions from the group. We developed the 4 magic flip charts and assembled all of our supplies!

The team started by reviewing and refining the goals and objectives, agenda, and ground rules. We developed a parking lot and placed it in the room – but off to the side so it was not a distraction.

Here are some specific tricks of the trade that we used to get to success.


Use of color

When you are making decisions, color matters. Why should a good facilitator bring their own stash of markers? Green and blue are the most important colors and therefore are frequently overused and dried out. It’s very difficult to build consensus when you write notes in RED!

  • Black/Brown – Use to label EVERY flip chart. Dark colors make a statement.
  • Blue – Note comments in blue; it is a neutral color.
  • Green – When teams are brainstorming or listing options, all positive options should be noted in GREEN. Each option should be listed with a + [plus sign].
  • Red – When teams are brainstorming or listing options, all negative options should be noted in RED. Each option should be listed with a – [minus sign].
  • Orange/Yellow – Avoid these colors because they are hard to read/differentiate from a distance.


Colored dots

As the team reviewed options, they ranked key items that were critical. They used:

  • red dots to indicate critical,
  • yellow dots to indicate optional, and
  • green dots to indicate the dependency of one item to another.


Sticky notes (aka Post-it®)

Several members of the group needed to think about their needs, so they wrote their ideas on sticky notes. They wrote one idea per note and I added them to the list. During the meeting, people would use sticky notes to add parking lot items to the list during other discussions; they were engaged because they were contributing, but didn’t want to interrupt a good discussion. 

Timer & train whistle

Breaks are critical! Even when people are in the middle of a great discussion, their brains still need to take a break. The facilitator must monitor the agenda and call breaks. The team may wish to renegotiate the break time, but it must be discussed with the group.

It is recommended that the team pick a break time that is not an even number (10, 15 min.). Why? If you schedule a break for 12 minutes, more people return on time! Moreover, deciding the duration of breaks is another opportunity to build agreement.

When the break is almost over, use the train whistle as a sign to return to the room. It’s a lot more effective than trying to yell or herd people.

Keep on writing… keep on writing…

The facilitator must make sure they write everything that is shared by the team. They cannot ignore comments that they deem as unnecessary. Spelling isn’t everything – write as quickly and clearly as possible. As people share information, you can develop a pace by repeating what someone said as you write. This allows the facilitator time to write the information as well as provide feedback to the team member. If there is a long discussion, the facilitator should ask the group to provide a summary or “headline” for the idea.

The facilitator should practice standing and writing so their back is not to the group. Stand with your body facing the group then lean slightly toward the paper.

Fidget toys

Everyone has a hard time staying engaged in long meetings. Use of fidget toys allows people to have a positive outlet for their energy. For tactile members of the team, holding a koosh ball or playing with a fidget toy allows them to focus. Try it!

DelCor Tangle Jr. fidget toys

When are we done?

At the beginning of the meeting, the team defined consensus. They decided that they could live with a solution that was of “B” quality. They may eventually design an “A” solution, but in order to keep things moving, they agreed to start with a solid “B.” Our team followed the agenda, took a lot of breaks and finished the work ON TIME!

Feedback from the group was very good. They said they felt included, were able to share their ideas, and found agreement with their peers. The developers were happy to be included in the discussion so they could understand the context of key discussions while having lots of notes. It served as a great start to the entire project.

chart - data exchange chart - flow chart - profile records

Flickr photo by Royan Lee; meeting and chart photos by author