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One fine day, during a team meeting, our team of consultants came across the idea of having as many people as possible learn about the various Atlassian plays and how to conduct them, such as retrospectives, pre-mortems, and health monitors.
As a result, the team embarked on a shared journey together, which was to complete the "Team Playbook Facilitator Training" together as a team. It was certainly great to have the entire team working together, helping each other when we hit a snag.
At the very end of the training, I chose the Health Monitor play and run it with the team to see where the points of improvement are for the team itself.
How running this session felt
I'll be honest, I was nervous at first because this was my first experience with Health Monitors, compared with the other plays (such as Retrospective), I've already had multiple experiences with Retrospectives, so I'm coming in with no experience.
However, as the session went along, things eventually started becoming smoother, as if there was a certain rhythm that the entire team had adapted to, including myself.
What went well
I really liked that even when we inevitably had to discuss the points of improvement of the team or what was still lacking for the team, the team still discussed everything in an amicable manner. There was no finger-pointing or dissatisfaction that was thrown around that could've negatively impacted the vibe and flow of the entire play.
Overall, I felt the team as a whole also gained new perspectives on the various topics discussed in the play, where points that some people initially thought were all rosy turned out to still have things to improve on by the more critical people, and conversely the critical people will also gain some optimistic views on current things.
What I might try differently next time
The entire session went on longer that planned. The initial planning was to complete it within 1 hour, and as a result of going overtime, some of the team members had to leave early for other commitments. These are the things I could do to manage the session better:
1. I should look for common themes between the team's members comments and recap it for them, rather than requesting each member to elaborate or share how they feel, creating a lot of redundancies because of repeating points/views.
2. I have made the votes transparent to everyone, meaning each individual can see everyone else's votes even during the voting phase, this could unintentionally form a bias, for example if I were to see 5 people voted positively for a particular point, I might be hesitant to vote negatively. I should have looked into a way for how I can make the votes visible to myself.
3. I should provide a wrap-up of the entire session at the very end because some people had to leave early, therefore it would have been great if they have some points to refer late on and to know what they can follow-up on. A summation would be ideal for this.
Tips for first-time facilitators
Do not fret too much about the process when you're actually conducting it live, i.e. being a perfectionist about "how it should go ideally". Treat each play as a learning experience that is supposed to benefit everyone, including yourself as the host.