Deep Democracy: A Radical Approach to Hearing from Every Voice
This session is an explanation and demonstration of Deep Democracy, primarily aimed at coaches interested in learning new techniques. Deep Democracy—originated by Arnold Mindell—maintains that a well functioning group is dependent on all the voices, positions and views in the group being heard and valued. We will start with the definition, origins and applications of Deep Democracy, then conduct a Large Group Process in which all can directly experience the power of this approach. In our debrief, we will harvest the wisdom of the group, and explore practical uses in Agile team situations.
Deep Democracy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_democracy) is a well-established conflict resolution process that has been used by Arnold Mindell and his students and colleagues since 1988 (http://www.deep-democracy.net/what.htm). Deep Democracy maintains that a well functioning group is dependent on all the voices, positions and views in a group being heard and valued. In fact it recognises that the unpopular / disavowed opinion or the minority view has a wisdom to it. Without this minority view being owned by the group (even if not agreed to by all), the group will lose energy and vitality.
The Large Group Process work defined by Mindell at the Process Work Institute (http://www.processwork.org/) is designed to embody the wisdom of Deep Democracy while allowing groups to explore potentially conflictual issues. This approach has been used around the world at hundreds of events, many in high-conflict situations like South Africa, the Middle East and Northern Ireland.
I will first give an overview of Deep Democracy, including definition, origins, multiple applications and potential uses with Agile teams (e.g., as a metaskill of the coach). I will then facilitate a Large Group Process, first helping participants choose a controversial topic, such as “Scrum vs. XP”, “Agile vs. CMMI”, or “Agile has become mainstream.” After conducting the Large Group Process, we will debrief the process itself, then reflect on possible specific applications on Agile teams.
Overview of Deep Democracy (15 min.)
Intro to Large Group Process / Topic Selection (20 min.)
Conduct Large Group Process (LGP) (35 min.)
LGP Debrief (10 min.)
Discussion: Deep Democracy with Agile Teams (15 min.)
- To learn the concept of Deep Democracy, as a philosophy for coaching or leading teams and as a sophisticated conflict resolution approach
- Participate in a demonstration of Deep Democracy in-action, using a facilitated Large Group Process
- Debrief the Large Group Process for applications to everyday team coaching
- Discuss Deep Democracy as a desirable metaskill for Agile coaches