Async Activities

Facilitating activities when not present
Written by Martin West
Updated 2 years ago

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Most interplays have both sync and async activities for participants. In this article we talk to the benefits of async activities and explore related privacy and safety issues. 

Benefits of async activities

  • Save time in meetings - you can find time before a meeting to prepare your thoughts and provide input
  • Power of the time to think - Like there is a place for generating ideas in a meeting under pressure, there is also a place for that quiet time to reflect and be inspired by your thoughts.
  • "Brain writing" - Steven Ropelberg in his book "The surprising science of meeting" talks about the power of writing it down. Most people benefit from exploring ideas by documenting them. It is like we tap into our deeper understanding as we explore and share our ideas in writing.   

Anonymity in aysnc activities

One way to provide safety is to make the input anonymous. This may reduce the resistance from social exposure participants may feel. Anonymity for a specific card is a facilitator decision communicated in the card instructions. 

Privacy (not shared)

In the retrospective interplay, in first step, each participant receives a card with a set of private (not shared) questions. The answers to these questions will not be shared. They also receive another set of questions whose answers will be shared. Why duplicate the work?

We have found benefit in performing some self-reflection without the pressure of thinking someone else is going to see this thought, input or feedback. The freedom just to write. I find I can document very quickly and dump my thoughts. This becomes a great source of content for my feedback on the sprint, my performance, constraints I have experienced, what actions I want to explore... It is not a duplication, it is a faster more effective way to get the result I want. Using self-reflection is a choice. I hope you will try it.

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