Do stay neutral if you are facilitating a sprint
A Google Design sprint gone wrong (and what it taught me)

Thanks for writing this up Skjoldbroder as you’re analysis is spot on, and people can learn a lot from this.

I’m ashamed that I have facilitated some bad sprints, and made some of these mistakes. If it’s disheartening to be on a bad sprint, it’s professionally-soul-crushing to know you were responsible for them. However, I was running them a year before the book came out … so really the blame lies on the GV team for not finishing the book sooner ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But having learnt from them and others there’s a few things I want to add.

You should be a facilitator. If you’ve put this much thought into it and you can clearly see what works and what doesn’t, you’ll make a great facilitator.

Facilitators can take active part in the sprint. However it does depend on the group dynamics (and politics) as well as the facilitators ability to remain unbiased. Again you hint at your ability to do this because you’re conscious of it.

How to deal with people problems. The GV process was designed by people surrounded by the best and brightest but they still had to deal with plenty of people problems. In a brief conversation with Braden once, he did hint that they have dealt with similar problems on sprints. I think the GV team don’t talk about it at length because it focuses too much on negatives and they want to be a positive voice.

So it’s up to us, the ‘Sprint Community’ to discuss and support each other as we deal with these real issues. In my write up of my experience , the best thing I trialled was meeting each sprint participant individually and explaining the process and mindsets. I then linked their existing frustrations with a desire to try something new and get their permission to facilitate them for the week. Getting this agreement, individually, from everyone before the sprint meant it was much easier as a facilitator to get them back on track.

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