Why Does Facilitation Work?

As remarkable as people are, we find it difficult to sustain a high level of attention on two things at once. If we are intently focused on a challenge, to also act as an observer of group process and productivity, and offer effective guidance is nearly impossible. A facilitator will make important contribution to a positive experience for all members, and help with constructive resolution to group and individual dynamics. A good facilitator helps a group be more effective, without leaving any trace of their work.

Facilitation supports group effectiveness through process and structure. Project management offers a unique contribution by facilitating information transmission across boundaries. This work of integration, knitting together differentiated functions and people, in an environment of uncertainty and change, is at the heart of the value of a project manager for your organization.

Facilitation is Important to Project Management in Many Ways:

  • Projects only succeed when the work that occurs in groups is successful (PM responsibility):
  • Essential to working with stakeholders, sponsors, partners, suppliers, subject matter experts, and team members to develop charters, requirements, scope, solutions, ideas, solve problems, build shared understanding, and coordinate complex work.
    • Building a team begins by successfully facilitating the early formation of structure with a group of individuals
    • Facilitating group dynamic transitions that occur naturally throughout a project lifecycle is essential to sustain team performance.
    • Facilitating conflict resolution quickly and effectively is an important aspect of keeping a project on track.
  • Key principle of facilitation is to sustain a set of core values and principles for a group to work together; to create the conditions that improve the ability of the group to accomplish their goals.
  • Groups are used to plan, organize, and accomplish change-all change happens through projects.

A facilitated meeting can be a remarkable time when individual multitasking is minimized because of a high level of engagement by everyone. It is difficult to check your phone while writing, posting notes on the wall, and talking with colleagues.


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Signal: Importance of project to the team and organization.

Best Practices: Apply facilitation skills and leverage good industry practices from PMBOK, BABOK, Agile, Lean Startup, etc.

Momentum: Give the team a sense of achievability, build and sustain momentum.

Clarity: Roles and responsibilities are clear and visible.

Efficiency: Well planned and facilitated meetings with documentation to make good use of staff time.

Strategy: Comprehensive Project Design followed by structured project execution and monitoring.

Shared Understanding: Build a shared understanding of the project early in the project life-cycle.

Cadence: Ongoing focus and visibility on work required to meet schedule and milestone objectives.

Framework: For expectation management and a well thought out stakeholder communication plan.

Build: Organizational experience with project management and design thinking.