It's true: On November 26, 2012 I will be delivering a short, one hour workshop at Agile Tour Toronto 2012 on how to improve the outcomes of group meetings called "Making Sense of Wicked Problems with Dialogue Mapping" "Teaching Smart People to Learn with Dialogue Mapping". Based on two blog posts from earlier this year, Making Sense of Wicked Problems with Issue Mapping and Scrum and Teaching Smart People to Learn with Dialogue Mapping, the session will introduce attendees to this novel, yet powerful technique to help facilitate productive group meetings where participants may be quite divided or "fragmented" in opinion, alliances, beliefs and understanding. Lessons learned here can be applied almost immediately in-the-field, and will hopefully inspire attendees to learn more about Dialogue Mapping and how they can use it in their projects.
From the workshop abstract:
While the Agile Manifesto tells us to value "individuals and interactions" and "face-to-face conversation" as the most effective ways to convey information and solve problems, agile frameworks themselves haven't provided much guidance in the way that we can effectively conduct the meetings that can occur between and to software teams and their customers. Often, we find ourselves frustrated by situations that arise where we thought others understood our positions during a meeting and then discover that they hold an entirely different impression. We've failed to build a shared understanding of our problem domain.
Welcome to the world of complex, wicked problem-solving! By attending this workshop you will learn a deceptively simple technique for building a shared understanding of wicked problems with groups known as Dialogue Mapping. Dialogue Maps are themselves a form of shared "group memory" that you will learn to construct to provide a visual road-map to help your participants explore and resolve their problems while more thoroughly understanding one another.
The workshop will be delivered in an interactive/Socratic style, with the first half dedicated to learning about the fundamentals of Dialogue Mapping and how it can be applied to improve the common dysfunctions of the venerable and dreaded "meeting", and the second half a series of practical demonstrations where I will facilitate a "controversial" topic with participants.
I'm really looking forward to presenting and engaging with attendees on this topic - if you're going to Agile Tour Toronto 2012, I encourage you to join my session and have some fun with me untangling wicked problems. See you there!