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Doc List on Facilitation, Behavioral Patterns

02.22.2010
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Steven "Doc" List is the Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks, a global agile consultancy and ALM tool vendor.  In his consulting, List emphasizes the importance of facilitation.  Facilitation is about providing better organization for meetings and giving everyone a chance to voice their opinions.  List explains some of the behavioral patterns and anti-patterns in the group meetings.  Some anti-pattern examples include the 'gladiator', the 'superhero', and the 'benevolent dictator'.  The 'curious george' and the 'Sherlock Holmes' are beneficial patterns.  List says that the 'gladiator' anti-pattern is particularily prevalent in the developer community.

A facilitator is the solution to poorly conducted meetings, List says.  It is the facilitator's duty to ensure open and balanced communication between diverse behavioral patterns.  The facilitator is a neutral leader who makes sure that everyone is respectful of their colleagues.  List says there are different tactics that a facilitator can use in dealing with different kinds of groups.  For example, the 'circle of questions' tactic is especially effective in a group with a lot of dominant personalities.  List says that every member of a group should learn how to facilitate because it is an important skill in any kind of group environment.  
Published at DZone with permission of its author, Lyndsey Clevesy.

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