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Lean Coffee

Lean Coffee is another great way to facilitate a productive meeting. I often use Lean Coffee to host conversations with groups of eight or fewer people. This Lean Coffee template includes all the instructions and tools you need to facilitate a great discussion.

How to use this template

1) Add topics: Create cards for questions and conversation topics. What's on your mind? What questions do you want to make sure get asked? What topics do you want to make sure get shared? Write your question or topic on a card, and put your card on the board. (The facilitator will help by setting a timer for a short time box.)

2) Vote: Vote on the cards. Use your vote(s) to indicate which questions or topics are most important to you right now. (The facilitator will help by setting up a voting session in Miro.)

3) Order the cards: Order the cards vertically from most votes (at the top) to least votes (at the bottom). Note that this is a one-dimensional stack-ranked list of cards. If there's a tie, the peoples ordering the cards decide how to break the tie.

4) Create a kanban board: Create three columns: To Discuss, Discussing, and Discussed. Put the ordered cards in the To Discuss column. (Facilitator, you might want to use the column labels I created for you.)

5) Discuss: Discuss the questions and topics. Use short time boxes to keep the conversation flowing from topic to topic. To begin a discussion, move the topmost card from the To Discuss column to the Discussing column. The person who wrote that card is usually the person who begins the conversation. (The facilitator will help by using the timer to manage time boxes. Many facilitators start a new conversation with a 5-minute time box.)

6) Decide whether you're done: You can finish a conversation before the end of a time box. When you're done with a conversation, move its card to the Discussed column. But if you reach the end of the time box, use Roman voting to decide what to do. The facilitator will ask, "Do you want more time on this topic?" Everyone in the group votes simultaneously: thumb-up means, "I want to continue with this topic," and thumb-down indicates, "I want to begin the next topic." If you decide as a group to continue with this topic, the facilitator will set a shorter time box for the continued conversation. (Many facilitators use a time box that is half as long as the previous time box.)

Certified Agile Team Building™
Richard is an author, teacher, speaker, and coach focused on high-performance teams. He wrote High-Performance Teams: The Foundations, and he teaches Agile Software Development at Harvard University.
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