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Facilitation technique in Project Management | PMBOK®Guide

Facilitation

Facilitation is the ability to effectively guide a group event to a successful decision, solution, or conclusion. The facilitator ensures that

  • there is effective participation
  • participants achieve a mutual understanding
  • all contributions are considered
  • conclusions or results have full buy-in according to the decision process established for the project and
  • the actions and agreements achieved are appropriately dealt with afterward.

Where applied?

Within the PMBOK® Guide, Facilitation technique is used in the following processes:

PROCESSES

KNOWLEDGE AREA

PROCESS GROUPS

Develop Project Charter

Develop Project Management Plan

Project Integration Management

Collect Requirements

Project Integration Management

Initiating

Define Scope

Project Scope Management

Planning

Identify Risks

Project Scope Management

Planning

Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis

Project Risk Management

Planning

Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis

Project Risk Management

Planning

Plan Risk Responses

Project Risk Management

Planning

Manage Project Knowledge

Project Integration Management

Executing

Develop Project Charter

In develop Project Charter, Facilitation is used to get a common understanding in terms of Project Objectives, high level product and project scope, deliverable etc. in  to effectively guide a group event to a successful decision, solution, or conclusion. The Project Manager should use facilitation technique to bring all key stakeholders to the same page and get a buy-in to the charter elements

Develop Project Management Plan

Facilitation ensures that there is effective participation, that participants arrive at a mutual understanding, that all contributions are considered, and that conclusions or results have full buy-in according to the decision process established for the project before completing the project management plan and create scope, schedule, cost and integrated performance measurement baseline (PMB).

Collect Requirements

Facilitation is used with focused sessions that bring key stakeholders together to define product requirements. Workshops can be used to quickly define cross-functional requirements and reconcile stakeholder differences. Because of the interactive structure, well-facilitated sessions can build trust, foster relationships, and improve communication among the participants, which can lead to increased stakeholder consensus. In addition, issues can be discovered earlier and resolved more quickly than in individual sessions.

Facilitation skills are used in the following situations, but are not limited to:

  • Joint application design/development (JAD). JAD sessions are used in the software development industry. These facilitated sessions focus on bringing business subject matter experts and the development team together to gather requirements and improve the software development process.
  • Quality function deployment (QFD). In the manufacturing industry, QFD is another facilitation technique that helps determine critical characteristics for new product development. QFD starts by collecting customer needs, also known as voice of the customer (VOC). These needs are then objectively sorted out, and prioritized, and goals are set for achieving them.
  • User stories. User stories, which are short, textual descriptions of required functionality, are often developed during a requirements workshop. User stories describe the stakeholder’s role, who benefits from the feature (role), what is to be accomplished by the stakeholder (goal), and the benefit to the stakeholder (motivation).

Define Scope

Facilitation is used in workshops and working sessions with key stakeholders who have a variety of expectations and are from different fields of expertise. The goal is to reach a cross-functional and common understanding of the project deliverable’s and the  project and product boundaries.

Identify Risks

Facilitation improves the effectiveness of many of the techniques used to identify individual project risks and sources of overall project risk. A skilled facilitator can help participants remain focused on the risk identification task, follow the method associated with the technique accurately, ensure clear risk descriptions, identify and overcome sources of bias, and resolve any disagreements that may arise.

Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis

Facilitation improves the effectiveness of the qualitative analysis of individual project risks. A skilled facilitator can help participants remain focused on the risk analysis task, follow the method associated with the technique accurately, reach consensus on assessments of probability and impacts, identify and overcome sources of bias, and resolve any disagreements that may arise.

Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis

A skilled facilitator is useful for gathering input data during a dedicated risk workshop involving project team members and other stakeholders. Facilitated workshops can improve effectiveness by establishing a clear understanding of the purpose of the workshop, building consensus among participants, ensuring continued focus on the task, and using creative approaches to deal with interpersonal conflicts or sources of bias.

Plan Risk Responses

The use of facilitation improves the effectiveness of developing responses to individual project risks and overall project risk. A skilled facilitator can help risk owners understand the risk, identify and compare alternative possible risk response strategies, choose an appropriate response strategy, and identify and overcome sources of bias.

Manage Project Knowledge

Facilitation helps effectively guide a group to a successful decision, solution, or conclusion. Within a project, we get lessons learned from multiple sources and translating them and creating knowledge for the project and organization is a challenging task. Effective facilitation is critical in creating such knowledge components.

References:

PMBOK® GUIDE SIXTH EDITION

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