From beginning to end, every collaboration is a challenge. We each come with our own personalities and perspectives. Whatever we plan, change promises to be a constant. Most of us prefer to be engaged freely rather than managed by someone who thinks they're smarter than all of us. We never have all the resources we think we need to achieve what we desire together. Keeping everyone on the same page takes continuous attention.
Interestingly, when I reflect on the thousands of collaborations I have facilitated all over world in every sector imaginable over the past three decades, I have noticed that in every collaboration, there are five conversations at play every time that makes a positive difference.
When we understand what these five conversations are, collaborations become opportunities for flourishing rather than struggling. They prevent the group from getting bogged down in conversations of assumptions, complaints, stuckness, blame and excuses. They empower and engage people, getting them on the same page and moving them from talk to action.
These are the Questions, Facts, Principles, Stories and Sprints conversations.
In the Questions conversation, we talk about all the things we need to research and decide. This includes everything we don't know and are interested knowing and clarifying.
In the Facts conversation, we talk about everything we have discovered and decided. This includes everything we have data for and have agreement on.
In the Principles conversation, we talk about what matters to us and why. This includes what matters about the impact we desire to make together and how we work together.
In the Stories conversation, we talk about what we think would represent success and progress. This includes events we would love to see possible as far put into the future as we want.
In the Sprints conversation, we talk about what we will do every two weeks to achieve our stories. This includes everything we will research, decide, communicate, design, build, test and launch.
The Agile Canvas is a simple, intuitive and powerful tool for guiding and capturing these five conversations. The Agile Canvas is a dynamic set of 5 conversations that keeps us continuously focused, realistic, aligned, inspired and productive. The Canvas engages everyone's talents, builds relationships and produces measurable impacts. It adapts to any kind of collaboration possible and can include any number of people, locally and virtually.
Because it features the five conversations that happen naturally in every collaboration and that make a positive difference, it's a model that works every time in any kind of collaboration context possible.