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Prepared as a Lunch and Learn guide, you will find twelve FAST Structured Facilitation gems worth remembering. You will find them listed in alphabetical order, rather than order of importance. From the perspectives of curriculum developers, instructors, and students, please find the most significant learnings offered by the MG RUSH curriculum and structured facilitation technique.

Lunch and Learn: FAST Structured Facilitation Gems or Takeaways

Lunch and Learn: Structured Facilitation Takeaways


7:59am preparation and interviews (ie, managing expectations and ownership)

    • Comment: There is no ‘silver bullet’ for effective facilitation. If you don’t show up prepared, good luck with that.


Active listening (because seeking to understand creates more value than being understood)

    • Comment:  Many understand that reflection is the key. However, reflecting WHY people make claims is more important than simply repeating the claim.


Annotated agenda
 (ie, visualizing everything the session leader does or asks in advance)

  • Comment:  ‘Right-to-left’ thinking (or, ‘starting with the end in mind’) makes demands of the facilitator. You must know what the deliverable looks like for each agenda step, each meeting activity, and each tool. Then write it down, so that you can focus on listening during your meeting or workshop, not thinking about what you should say or do next.


Common nouns and purpose give rise to natural categories
 (ie, great tool and inherent rationale that supports grouping or “chunks”)

  • Comment:  Neophytes create categories when they probably should dive into the details. Most change occurs with HOW people perform activities, not WHAT they must do. But when categorization is required, building process terms for example, common nouns are symptomatic or indicative of common purpose, the primary reason for categorization.


(ie, the importance of ongoing feedback to ensure continuous improvement)

  • Comment:  Through hours of practice and recorded sessions, MG RUSH five-day professional students receive six pages of individualized, written feedback directed at what they can do different to be more effective.


(ie, interdependent reciprocities—contextual explanation of how it all fits together)

  • Comment:  Commonly referred to as the ‘Butterfly Effect’ (mathematically called inter-dependent reciprocities), every action has an impact (positive or negative) on each project or initiative.


Life Cycle: Plan Acquire Operate Control
 (ie, great tool and inherent rationale behind all life cycle methodologies)

  • Comment:  While the technology perspective is called CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete), here is what the business community does with information. Every process requires four activities, at minimum. Subject matter experts often forget about Planning and Control activities that may be performed less frequently, sometimes only monthly or quarterly.


Numeric SW-OT leads to consensual actions [ie, WHAT]
 (ie, Easily the best way to prioritize hundreds of items and build consensus around “WHAT” needs to be done to support the purpose)

  • Comment: Capable of prioritizing the most complex issues, with dozens of criteria and options, MG RUSH’s proprietary tool and decision-making logic is used in most portfolio and program management offices.


Right-to-left thinking or, focus on deliverable first
 (ie, starting with the end in mind—forcing the abstract into the concrete)

  • Comment:  Even a lousy facilitator can succeed when they know where they are going and what the group needs to answer and address to get DONE.


“The Purpose is to . . . So That . . . “ (ie, amazing tool to extract the “strategy” behind something too small for a “strategic plan”)

  • Comment:  Easily the favorite new tool for many students and best echoed by an IBM’er with 35 years. “This is the tool I’ve been missing my entire career.”


(ie, the natural force behind the structure of movement and progress)

  • Comment:  Thoughts, words, and deeds. Thinking precedes speaking precedes actions. In grade school we find the trivium taught as WHY, WHAT, and HOW. Plato called it logic, rhetoric, and grammar.


Website resources (Because ”Alumni get to ride all the rides, as many times as they want.”)

  • Comment:  Because our resources are continuously improved and made more robust, a community of resources made available exclusively to MG RUSH alumni is likely more robust than any one person’s individual effort.


Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)

Want a free 10-minute break timer? Signup for our once-monthly newsletter HERE and receive a timer along with four other of our favorite facilitation tools, free.



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 Facilitation Best Practices 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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