As I recently mentioned, during the last year I was involved with starting and facilitating a community of practice (CoP) for Scrum Masters in an organization. When the CoP first started, we decided to hold meetups every week until we got sick of each other, and then we would taper back to having meetups once every two weeks. While meeting weekly is great for building relationships, you can quickly grow tired of a standard meetup agenda.
“What is one thing…” is a technique that you can use to break up a standard agenda and accomplish all of the goals of a CoP. This technique is very useful if there is not a focused topic for the meetup or if you do not have much time to prepare for it.
The technique is simple. Start by asking,
What is one thing that you’ve learned about [insert CoP focus here] recently? Or what is one thing that you’ve been improving on your team?
Have everyone in the CoP answer this question. Sometimes CoP members have a quick answer and there are no questions for them. Other times someone wants to dive into something complex that they’ve been researching and there are lot of questions and related comments. This is all good so long as people are sharing. If most attendees don’t have anything to share, there is probably an underlying problem that members of the CoP are not focused enough on consistent learning and improvement.
This simple technique is very effective because it encourages people to continually learn and try new things, share what they’ve learned, and hear what others are doing.