Just like that, our world changed. Processes that we were used to and have done over the past years ceased. Likewise, the processes in FC Lean needed modification to adapt to our new remote world. The ways in which educational course were offered and the project facilitation we provided were now obsolete. Through Zoom and its functionality, FC Lean modified the Lean Basics course with only one month lost. As for facilitation, this is and has been a continuous evolution and is the basis of this quarter’s topic.
FC Lean intakes (the initial meeting and venue for deciding how we can best help work areas) and the subsequent meetings that lay the foundation for our assistance, converted the easiest. The use of MS Teams and screen sharing allow us to display forms and complete them in a collaborative way. The benefit of not having to travel to an office or a meeting venue maximizes participation. The task of performing and facilitating real-time process maps had a bit of a learning curve. Using Visio and its many capabilities in-front of an audience was daunting at first, but it may now become a standard practice. Next, came the process of brainstorming root causes and fixes. There have been a couple of variations, but what works best is a shared screen word document with participants either verbalizing ideas or placing them in the chat. This allows the facilitator time to transcribe them on the shared document. With that said, there can be moments of silence and lag in initiating this step. In this situation, toggling back (via the shared screen) to the current state process map and guiding them through the steps triggers the flow of ideas.
The art of facilitating has its pitfalls and some have remained and/or have been exacerbated in the remote environment. Ensuring each participant has the opportunity to contribute, gaining consent after closing out a step or tool, and not allowing any one person to dominate the conversation are a few. Being mindful and considering what voices you have heard and who has participated in the chat are critical. For those who haven’t contributed, tactfully ask them if they have anything to add. For closing out a tool/step, call on each participant to see how they feel about the outcome (this replaces the visual fist-of-five tool we used in face-to-face meetings). For a participant who is dominating, begin to direct questions to those participants who have the same expertise versus asking the questions to all.
Remote facilitation and guiding teams to improve processes is more challenging now than before, but through the use of technology and process adaptations we can still accomplish improvements. If you are a Lean graduate and have stories to share, please send us an email. If you are a Lean graduate that needs assistance in kick starting your remote facilitation, please reach out.