With structured analysis, each piece of data or single cell might be decomposed another layer. Amplify this approach even further by splitting your four cells into sixteen.  Therefore, see the picture below.  We can now ask, generate, and record sixteen pieces of information on a large Post-It® for each assignment.  Note how we take the four basic criteria below and expand them into four additional details (for illustrative purposes only):

In our prior posting, we learned that one key to facilitating effective analysis mandates the facilitator to ask open-ended questions, not simple, close-ended (ie, yes or no) confirmations.  For example, and pardon the simplicity, do not ask “Does the sport of curling involve any sweat?”  Someone will make a compelling argument that it does, albeit minimal perhaps.  The better question, simply re-phrased:  “To what extent does the sport of curling involve sweat? (a lot, little, or somewhere in between)”.

When building a roles and responsibilities matrix for example, the classic approach identifies who is going to be ‘Responsible’ for some apportioned activity or assignment and the appropriate single cell is given a large, red “R”.  At minimum you might ask four questions, such as:

  1. What role will be responsible for this assignment? (eg, Business Analyst)
  2. At what estimated point in time will it be completed? (eg, date specific)
  3. How much financial resource will be required to complete it? (eg, $,$$$)
  4. What is the estimated FTE required to bring it to completion? (FTE = full time equivalent, such as 0.25 which is one person, full-time, for three months)
Power of the Cell

Power of the Single Cell

  1. What role will be responsible for this assignment? (eg, RASI Chart)
    1. What role is ultimately being held Accountable and paying for this initiative? (eg, EVP)
    2. What role will be Responsible for this assignment? (eg, Business Analyst)
    3. What roles will be Supporting this assignment? (eg, Project Manager)
    4. What roles need to be Informed about this assignment? (eg, Customer)
  2. At what estimated point in time will it be completed? (eg, date specific)
    1. When does concerted effort begin? (eg, date specific)
    2. What is the projected half-way point? (eg, date specific)
    3. At what estimated point in time will it be completed? (eg, date specific)
    4. When will the effort be reviewed such as Retrospective or Look Back? (eg, date specific)
  3. How much financial resource will be required to complete it? (eg, $,$$$)
    1. What are the estimated research costs? (eg, $,$$$)
    2. What are the estimated acquisition costs? (eg, $,$$$)
    3. What are the estimated operational costs? (eg, $,$$$)
    4. What are the estimated termination costs? (eg, $,$$$)
  4. What is the estimated FTE required to bring it to completion? (FTE = full time equivalent, such as 0.25 which is one person, full-time, for three months)
    1. What is the maximum number of people required at once? (eg, Quantity)
    2. What special subject matter experts are required? (eg, Title[s])
    3. What is the estimated FTE required to bring it to completion? (eg, FTE)
    4. Codify any special issues not described above. (narrative, perhaps coded)

Having left a meeting can be comforting because the amount of detail described above is substantial, but knowing that it was consensually built and is now owned by the meeting participants is reassuring.  When applied to a project plan, using questions similar to the ones shown above, you will deliver up a more detailed GANTT chart than most people build in their cubicles alone.  Hand this off to an intern who claims to be “expert” with Microsoft Project Manager® and tell them to bring you back a fully resource allocated project plan so that you can go on to your next meeting.

To help you access our in-house resources, (e.g., annotated agendas and templates used in our FAST Professional Facilitation Training) go to the Facilitation Training Store https://mgrush.com/shop/. For a nominal fee, you can now access some our favorite tools, including:

▪    PPT Break Timers for $3.99

▪    Quick, five to ten-minute video lessons on critical topics for $5.99

▪    White papers with additional methodology and team-based meeting support for only $0.99

▪    Holarchy Poster for conference rooms to help resolve arguments

Also consider the book “Change or Die, a Business Process Improvement Manual” for much of the support you might need to lead more effective groups, teams, and meetings.

Become Part of the SolutionImprove Your Facilitation and Methodology Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics of an effective facilitator and methodologist. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership-training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Do not forget to order Change or Die if you’re working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and numerous tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

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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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