Agile Camp NL: first align, then discuss

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At the beginning of the month I attended the first edition of Agile Camp NL, during which I had the opportunity to play the Farmers challenge game: one of the very first challenges we faced within the group (which, as far as memory goes, took us between 10 and 15 minutes) was getting clarity and alignment on what problem(s) we had to solve and how we’d work together to solve them. Even though we were clearly sitting (standing, actually) together to solve the puzzle together, each of us had different points of view, understanding, and goals that only became clear once we all stopped going our own way and started listening to each other. I recently had a similar experience during a work meeting: we sat down to discuss a topic and jumped right into the discussion before checking if we were all on the same page about the topic and the expectations of the meeting. As a result, we spent 15 gruelsome minutes criticizing each other’s proposals because we all misunderstood the other’s intentions: once we eventually made the environment safer (by letting everybody speak without shutting them down), listened actively, and clarified the original intentions of the meeting, the discussion turned constructive and produced some decisions and follow-up actions.