Moderator's Reflections

As a moderator, my objective was to keep the design process going by intervening when discussions went on too long, requesting that decisions or choices be made even when consensus had not been reached, etc. At the outset of our design session, I was far too timid and let discussions and arguments go on too long. I also found myself wanting to get in on the design itself - and for the most part I was not supposed to do this.

After our first break, I felt so guilty that I had not been more aggressively moderating, that I forced myself in the second round to be a thorn in the side of everyone. As a result I believe that the second round went much better. I found myself saying things like: "Okay, I'm going to be a pain to you all now, but we have to move on." This seemed to work fine. After the first round, everyone was so frustrated with lack of output that the group was very willing to in the second to have me cut things off. As a result of our collective frustration and some increased moderating, I think the second round was far more productive than the first.

I believe that our design group was extremely varied, both in OO background, design philosophies, etc., and in personal styles - some people being more quiet than others. This made things difficult as a moderator, but I would be surprised if other groups did not have the same mix of people. This experience certainly drove home to me the importance of people working together for a while, learning each others' styles and bonding into a more cohesive unit.

Helen Klein, Workflow Team Moderator