One of my directs reluctantly volunteered to moderate a meeting I think is going to be contentious. I'm not sure the direct is ready for this. But now that she volunteered I feel I should coach her quickly on doing this and support her. I will be at the meeting. So...if things go badly...do I step in...and how?
My thought is to coach her on running the meeting and not step in unless they get to the point where they are just repeating arguments. Then I would simply ask if we are making progress and what it would take for each person to change their opinion.
We've just started doing Scrum. The scrum master is going to be away on vacation and there is a second try at a planning meeting happening. I volunteered to run the meeting but one team member felt strongly it should be one of the team members. (I'm the manager and was told that technically I am not a team member because I don't do any tasks and am not the scrum master.) I said that was fine. The team member that expressed this said he wouldn't do it. After a few minutes, another team member said she would. I asked if she was sure and she said yes. The rest of the team said they were fine.
Now, the original planning meeting was 2 hours of arguing between one side asking for a date with a set of features and the other saying that was impossible. I was told I was "a chicken" at this meeting and could not speak. After 2 hours, I finally said that they needed to figure out what each needed to get to an answer because restating the same point over and over was a waste of time. (Note that the Scrum Master was there but isn't really good at handling this situation.) They all agreed to do a few things and come back in a few days.
My direct has never moderated anything. I am going to do a quick coaching on that. She's not a really assertive person. But I do believe learning to moderate is a good skill and this could be a good learning situation. I am also going to tell the rest of the team in their 03's that they are all responsible for reaching an agreement - not just the person moderating.
I will still be "a chicken" at this second meeting. So, technically, I'm not supposed to say anything. However, I do not want to just let her swing in the wind either! But I do want to give her the chance to make mistakes, learn from them, earn respect from the team, etc. But there are some very strong personalities and the last meeting had everyone calling me in frustration afterward to do something.
So....at what point do I step in and how do I do it? I keep being told Scrum is "self managing"...but everyone needs to learn how to do that first! I'm told by the team that I can't talk but then told by all parties to do something about the other parties.