Paraphrase the conflict

Another lesson of “if you want to be heard, listen” is that when you’re mediating a conflict between two people/groups, first paraphrase the conflict, then state the shared goal.

Something like this:

“Ok, so Dan, it sounds like you are frustrated that the QA team doesn’t have enough time to do a good job on release verification. And Suzy, it sounds like you’re worried that giving the QA team more time means making the engineering team’s sprint even shorter than it already is. And what we all want is to ship high quality work on time without stressing anybody out, right? Is that all fair?”

Wherever the conversation goes from there, it’ll be based on shared understanding and feeling heard. And hopefully, Suzy and Dan feel a little bit more like they’re working together against the problem, rather than against each other.

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