Play blockers on the Atlassian Team Playbook come in many forms. A blocker can be a person, a logistical challenge, or an entrenched team dynamic. The good news is that blockers can be neutralized and managed once you learn to identify them.
One of the most common blockers is also the easiest to solve: insufficient planning and preparation. Using a preparation checklist and familiarizing yourself with the Play instructions ahead of time will help you stay on track during your sessions. Additionally, preparation will help you maintain focus during the workshop, making it easier to spot potential blockers before they disrupt your team. Think of planning and preparation as preventative medicine.
If you want to go the extra mile before your workshop, consider practicing your Play alone or with a friendly audience. There are two ways to practice Plays: talk-throughs and dry runs.
A talk-through is a simple way to become familiar with the Play instructions and any specialized materials you have prepared for the Play. By rehearsing your transitions—the small but critical moments that help your team close out one section of the Play and move on to the next activity— you’ll get a feel for the rhythms of your Play.
A dry run is more structured, it is a complete practice run of your facilitation from beginning to end. Treat dry runs like the real Play, using a timer and testing all of your physical and digital materials.
Here are a few more examples of common challenges, their impact, and how to handle them:
To learn even more about common blockers, watch this video featuring Lujan Cima from the Atlassian Craft Practices and Learning team.
Distributed and virtual teams may face additional blockers during Plays, included limited participation, technological hiccups, and distractions in home office settings. For example, a dog barking in the background or a child bursting into the room can distract a participant and disrupt the flow of a Play.
The best way to combat virtual blockers is to establish ground rules early on. Ground rules give the group a shared set of expectations, and they level the playing field for participants with different levels of experience or seniority. Make ground rules easy to follow and easy to understand. Assure your participants that your team can overcome any hurdle so long as you all stay focused for the duration of the Play.
Preparation, practice, and ground rules are all effective ways to prevent or overcome almost any challenge. Learn from your mistakes by rehearsing your role, and be ready to respond to unexpected challenges with good humor and empathy. If you lead by example and maintain a positive attitude, you will be able to lead any team through a successful Play!
Find more training resources for Atlassian Team Playbook on Atlassian Community: