Making Space

In peer facilitation, we often talk about the space we each take up in the room. We fill that space with our physical presence, how we lay out our materials or tools in front of us, how and how often we use our voices.

As a facilitator, it's our job to keep the space balanced. To make sure that that person isn't hiding behind their laptop, that other person isn't lost in their phone, this person over here doesn't keep talking over the other voices in the room.

Most agile teams don't have the luxury of a facilitator who will help balance all these things, and so that responsibility falls upon everyone.

  • How do we help others understand the space they take up in a room?
  • How do we solicit input from the quite ones amongst us?
  • How do we manage disagreement and conflict?

These things are all part of what I like to develop as a Safe Space Agreement.

What makes a space safe?

  • There is an expectation of equality and respect
  • There is no judgement of others, no shaming
  • There is no place for abuse or violence (raised voices are violent, talking over people is violent, shaming others is violent)

When a space is safe, it allows key qualities to emerge in our conversations that espouse our deeply held agile values.

  • Courage
  • Collaboration
  • Kindness
  • Kind Honesty (not brutal honesty, which can be a silencing technique)

Sometimes we do this when introducing retrospectives to a team, but it is something that should be brought to every engagement among team members.