Some clients want you to stay to a predefined script/agenda during a JAM Session. Although it’s expected that an agenda will be provided, it is perfectly normal to deviate from the agenda if the team feels value is being added in other areas. Flow, or being in the zone, is a critical element to any JAM Session. Being to restrictive kills this as well as creativity by boxing stakeholders into predefined time frames and agenda items.
It’s perfectly fine to delve into new areas and off topic conversations as long as it’s building a more solid working team. Sometimes this is what it takes to get to the core of what is trying to be solved and to surface new ideas and problems. What you have to watch out for is one or two stakeholders dominating the conversation. Part of the facilitators job is to balance the conversations and bring others into the fold without stifling momentum. This also helps build relationships which is important during a JAM Session since stakeholders are usually together for days on end.
Check out this link for more information on JAM Sessions
About the author: Jason Moccia is the President, COO, and Co-founder of OneSpring. Jason has over 14 years of experience in the software development field. In addition to operating as President and COO, he also runs the company’s Federal side of the business. His philosophy of doing one thing better than any other company emanates throughout OneSpring’s core strategy.