This is a review on the team facilitation training that was conducted by Agile Practice in December. The post provides general information about this event and tips on facilitation techniques.
Several weeks ago I conducted a test drive of ICAgile "Agile Team Facilitation" training ( Despite the upcoming New Year’s holiday and the corporate party, eight people were able to take part. Over the course of the two-day training we played a few team-building games, found out more about one another through ice-breaker activities, and learned a lot about information-gathering, exploration and evaluation techniques. By the end we were familiar with several new psycho-behavioral concepts and individual development within groups. Facilitation in general and its necessity for Agile teams was also covered, as well as facilitator stance and personal facilitation style.
If you would like to take part in the next training on facilitation, let me know in comments and I will send you the training details.
Below are photos from the event, so that you can get a feel for the atmosphere! :)


In case you can’t make the next facilitation training, I would like to share with you two popular facilitation techniques. The first is called “Constellation” and the other “Yes vs. No.”
Constellation is used to identify to what degree people from a group agree or disagree with certain statements, beliefs, and values. Constellation will give you a clear idea of this in less than a minute’s time. Here’s what you do:

  • Stand in the middle of the room, so that there is plenty of space around you
  • State an opinion that you are sure of, e.g. “We don’t need manual testing on our project due to our well automated quality assurance process."
  • Ask your team members to come and stand around you in the following way: the more they agree with you, the closer they should stand to the center; the less they agree, the further away they should stand
With this simple visual technique your team can explore attitudes to various ideas in a quick and fast and highly visible way.
Yes vs. No is used to shift opinion on some topic or idea. It can be particularly helpful in mitigating conflict between two team members; e.g., when someone is absolutely sure that manual testing is crucial for the project and has strongly disagreed with starting to learn automation testing tools and approaches, while the other person stands still for automation test packs creation and wants to stop manual testing immediately to focus on increasing auto-test coverage. Whenever this topic comes up with the team, they start arguing and neither will budge in the other’s direction. A similar situation can happen when some technical/architectural concept is discussed and there are very clear and strong pros and cons involved. Here is what you can do. Have the team members in conflict play this game:

  • For one minute one of them speaks in support of their opinion, and then for the next minute, the other team member speaks theirs.
  • Then, have the participants switch sides, and defend the opposing side’s viewpoint.
  • Go through 3-4 rounds of the game.
Note: During that one minute, only one person is allowed to speak; the other listens, with no questions or comments allowed.

Despite its simplicity, the technique gets good results when it’s necessary to “shake” someone’s strong opinion in order to spark constructive dialogue.
Svetlana Mukhina
An Agile coach and a trainer at Luxoft Agile Practice. She has over fifteen years of experience in IT as a delivery manager and department head. She is currently working closely with delivery managers, teams and businesses, performing project assessments, providing teams and individuals Agile coaching, creating and conducting trainings and workshops. She enjoys observing how a new concept or approach is internalized and waiting for the “A-ha” moment to arrive. She is passionate about showing innovative and useful tools to teams and individuals, and loves helping make their daily tasks less burdensome and more fun.