Monday, December 27, 2004

The need for good facilitation

A month or so ago, a contributor to a popular usability mailing list asked others for pointers to materials on facilitation. As I recall, all of the responses referenced materials on how to facilitate usability tests.

Given the nature of the mailing list, the focus of the responses on usability test facilitation was not surprising. However, facilitation of usability tests is only a small subset of the types of facilitation which are critical to improving the role "user experience" plays in business.

Too little attention is paid to other types of facilitation, and too few people are well-prepared to provide them.

Hence, collaboration gets condemned as "design by committee," as it was by a panelist at an event held earlier this month in the SF Bay Area, even though the event was partly about the importance of increasing collaboration.

Numerous collaborative methodologies and techniques exist that work wonders, but only when they are well-facilitated.

Focus on developing the capability of your organization to be effectively collaborative via attending to the critical role of good facilitation. Bring in people who understand and who can effectively facilitate the full range of collaborative methodologies your business should employ, and who can leave your organization better equipped to be effectively collaborative on its own.