SPA Conference session: Getting To 'No'

One-line description:How to say 'no' constructively instead of getting pressured into 'yes' and regretting it
Session format: Workshop (150 mins) [read about the different session types]
Abstract:How often have you found yourself on a project where saying 'no' sooner would have saved a lot of time/money/stress ? Where, at the time, your gut feel was 'no' but for some reason you didn't speak up?

In our experience saying 'no' constructively is at the heart of good projects and good project teams. This session contains a small amount of presentation on the subject of saying 'no' (an iconoclastic view of 'Getting to Yes') and some personal examples but mainly is a structured/guided session to elicit thoughts and information from the attendees.

The objective is to have the attendees create a collaborative analysis of what circumstances produce contexts where 'no' is difficult to say, and techniques for avoiding those circumstances or addressing them constructively when they occur.

(Proposed as a 150min Workshop. could be done as 75min think-tank with shorter,sharper exercises and less presented content)
Audience background:Managers and developers with experience of software projects, especially who have examples of situations where 'no' should have been said and the consequences of not saying it.
Benefits of participating:- Time to think about and analyze contexts that produce 'yes' and 'no' behaviours
- Learn metrics/measures/danger-signs of those circumstances
- Learn techniques for addressing these circumstances
- Learn how to spell, say and use 'no'
Materials provided:Slides
Process:Basic staged presentation and guided group exercises
Detailed timetable:0-5 : Introduction - including examples
5-10: Intro to first exercise, including listening for context data
10-20 :Group Exercise: Stories of when 'yes' was wrong
25-35: Collective Summary then Presentation for next exercise
35-55: Group Exercise: Why is 'No' difficult
55-65: Collective Summary then Presentation for next exercise
65-85: Group Exercise: Stories of saying 'No' - good and bad
85-95: Collective Summary then Presentation for next exercise
95-135: Group Exercise: How to say 'No' - based on gathered info and experience
135-150: Collective Summary and Discussion
Outputs:Poster / conference wiki pages

Summary of major ideas/techniques
History:Not given this presentation, but have worked with groups on 'no' techniques previously and extensive experience of running projects/team where saying no constructively was a significant factor to the success

1. John S. Nolan
2. Paul Dyson
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