Agile Principles : Conversation is Key to Effective Communication

A successful restaurant owner, Andrew, had plans to open a new restaurant, his current restaurant was based in a seaside town and the new restaurant was linked to a local city farm development. His finance manager, Teresa had enthusiastically taken a lead on producing the initial business plan, and there was informal involvement from his existing marketing manager and non-executive directors.

There were a number of different options for the style, market and product that would model the businesses vision. One particular idea from Andrew was for a ‘diner’ style restaurant which in Teresa’s mind conjured up ideas of a Motorway service café.

Equipped with the post it mapping method and post it notes Teresa was armed with a collaboration game to help the team come to a shared vision where an appropriate style, market and product was identified to take forward, or at least differentiate the number of options that had been suggested.

As they began to explore each idea further, Teresa facilitated this using active listening and clarifying questions like ‘can you tell me a little more about this one’, to her relief when the CEO started to talk about a Diner it became very clear that he was imagining a French Bistro following a recent holiday, fine dining and wonderful surroundings.

After a short time the team had a number of solid ideas that would work together that they could explore further, through the conversation queries were raised and actions set to research and develop each idea further.

The simple activity of mapping out the ideas and discussing them provided a visual aid to promote communication and develop a shared language within the team so that everyone had a shared understanding of the definition of the goal.

agile principles - conversation is key to effective communication

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