We have covered some popular methods of analysis in other blogs. Here we look at framing the scope of arguments, projects, and programs, which demands more structure than can be afforded through simple discussion. While the framing tool has various names, and uses, it frequently is called “Is Not/ Is“. Faster to build than a context diagram, meetings that are designed to support projects, are best served by having or creating a frame that helps ensure consistent decision-making.


To create a scoping statement—what may or may not be included in a field of work. It is best to begin with the “Is Not” (ie, OUT) items and then continue with what “It Is” (IN) items.


Groups need a tool to help them stay focused and prevent drift. When the group agrees what something is, they should also test it by confirming what it is not.


Various methods may be used to capture input, including the use of sub-teams, Post-It® notes, electronic submission, and off-line information gathering. Consider gathering input from multiple perspectives (see our Root Cause Analysis tool for other perspective suggestions). Frequently it is advisable to include framing analysis along with the Categorizing tool.  Frequently there are similar or redundant inputs that can be eliminated or chunked together.

Once the group feels comfortable with how they have categorized what is not or is part of the subject matter at hand, it can be helpful to convert the raw input into an articulate narrative paragraph. The final statement, or few sentences, serves as an appeal to later to see if something should be included or not (or applied to the frame itself as “uncertain” or even the Parking Lot as beyond immediate scope).

Let the group know that the statement can be modified later if they find it advisable, usually to sharpen the edges and make the scoping even clearer than the original. Most items should be IS NOT or IS but some items remain undecided until they are resolved or escalated to a sponsor or review board to decide.

“Shape clay into a vessel;
it is the space within that makes it useful.

Carve fine doors and windows,
but the room is useful in its emptiness.

The usefulness of what is
depends on what is not.”

— Wisdom of the Tao, Eleventh Verse


In conclusion, MG RUSH professional facilitation curriculum focuses on providing methodology.  Each student thoroughly practices methodology and tools before class concludes. Some call this immersion. We call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Become Part of the Solution While You Improve Your Facilitation, Leadership, and Methodology Skills

Take a class or forward this to someone who should. MG RUSH Professional Facilitation Training provides an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, 40 CDUs from IIBA, and 3.2 CEUs. As a member of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), our Professional Facilitation Training aligns with IAF Certification Principles and fully prepares alumni for their Certified Professional Facilitator designation.

Furthermore, our Professional Facilitation curriculum immerses students in the responsibilities and dynamics of an effective facilitator and methodologist. Because nobody is smarter than everybody, attend an MG RUSH Professional Facilitation, Leadership, and Methodology workshop offered around the world, see MG RUSH for a current schedule.

Go to the Facilitation Training Store to access our in-house resources. Finally, you will discover numerous annotated agendas, break timers, and templates. If you value our contributions, take time to buy us a cup of coffee and punch LIKE or FORWARD.

In conclusion, we dare you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.


Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Monthly Facilitation blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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