BCS SPA Software in Practice

2nd – 4th July 2018

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‘What would YOU Call This Workshop?’ And Other Powerful Questions

​Bad questions lead to bad answers, like “42”. Break this cycle, learn to ask the right questions!

Exercise, Practice, Discussion


Do you know how to ask questions? We all do, right? All kids go through a “why” phase. Can you remember yours? Or your kid’s? If you were a kid right now, how exactly would you ask one more question, to an adult that had one too many already, in order to get a real answer? And did you realize we used 4 different types of questions in this first paragraph? Each had a different purpose...

Whether in a mob, pair programming, or just in a team working with other human beings, good questions are paramount. Asking a misguided or inaccurate question can lead you down the wrong rabbit hole... or destroy the energy of your group altogether. In other words, if you can’t communicate clearly, you’re toast.

So start thinking about the questions you ask. Experience the “Question Formulation Technique” exercise. Experiment with different question forms and become an interrogation expert. That's the plan of this workshop.

Audience background

A previous experience with pair- and mob-programming would be a bonus, but by no mean necessary.

Benefits of participating

Participants will experience the “Question Formulation Technique” through which they will recognize the effects of open and closed questions. They will also come to realize that going from one to the other requires training.

They will then learn about different Question Types: rhetorical, leading, Probing and the occasional advantage of a Clean Language approach.

They will finally get to use the acquired knowledge in pair/mob role play scenarios and discover how they can use those questions in their daily life.

Materials provided

Slides with definitions and examples.
Guidelines for the exercises.


The session is split in roughly three equal parts:
- Theory & Discussion
- Exercise: Question Formulation Technique
- Exercise: Role plays

Detailed timetable

Minutes 0-5: Introduction of the topic
Minutes 5-30: Praxis, Question Formulation Technique (QFT)
Minutes 30-40: QFT Feedback (on open/closed questions)
Minutes 40-45: Question Types Theory (ex: rhetorical, leading, Probing, “Clean Language” questions...)
Minutes 45-60: Mini Pair/Mob-Programming role-plays where in each group, a participant explains design decisions to another while a third listens and takes notes (Troika Consulting with the client as an observer).
Minutes 60-70: Closing & Discussion


Poster with a summary of the theory & feedback from the participants.
Slides with retro findings included.
Blog post with summary and slides.




  1. Tim Bourguignon
    MATHEMA Software GmbH
  2. Amitai Schleier
    Latent Agility