An untrained Facilitator
A consultant had heard about Proactive Reviews and was inspired to try out the method on a project that had experienced a number of difficulties but nevertheless has ended up successfully. She read about Proactive Reviews on the intranet of her company, found the seven questions fairly straightforward and invited a group of her colleagues to a Proactive Review.
All the invited Delegated showed up, and she started from the beginning by asking, “What is the purpose of this Proactive Review?” She was meet with silence. She explained the purpose was to learn from experience and proceeded, “ What was our goal?”. A participant presented the goal and was interrupted by another participant with a different perception. This started a loud debate, and the untrained Facilitator started to worry about the negative atmosphere. She let the debate go on for a while, but no agreement was reached.
She moved on to the next question, “What happened and why?” and the Delegates came up with a lot of events and circumstances that had taken place in the course of the project. The level of detail was very different, and when they started to analyse why something had happened, it was difficult (i.e. impossible) to establish a common understanding. Blame was shifted from one person to another, and the untrained Facilitator tried to stop the discussion and move on to the next topic, “What should we do next time?” In vain, the Delegates insisted on discussing what has happened and why. The Facilitator gave up and closed the meeting; she was very frustrated and so were all the Delegates. The project had been difficult sometimes and now the Delegates could agree that management had been poor. Maybe this was the case, and maybe the Delegates just were lucky enough to find a scapegoat.
The untrained Facilitator was confused and disappointed: she had followed the method, but the result was far from being a good learning process.
Do not facilitate Proactive Reviews on your own cases, as you cannot be neutral.
Do not facilitate if you are not trained, as you need certain competences to handle the dialogue in a group.