Documentation:Open Case Studies/Sprint/Toolkit Roles

From UBC Wiki

Roles in a sprint vary depending on the context as do the number of participants. In "How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days " the authors suggest that the ideal number of sprint participants is six, in order to come to decisions about content relatively quickly. To run a sprint effectively requires both a number of content creators and a support team that may include: facilitators, technical support, a librarian, student support. Below are some suggested roles for a successful sprint.

Sprint Facilitators

Effective facilitation is essential to running a successful sprint. Before deciding on a facilitator, consider the goals for your sprint, the participants, any anticipated group dynamics, and the intended outcomes for the session. If you can, try to match the facilitator(s) with the needs of the working session/sprint.

Due to the complex role of facilitator and many tasks during the sprint, it is useful to have two facilitators for the duration of the process.The facilitator(s) role in a sprint is to work with the participants to develop common approaches to developing the content, set goals, outline and revise the sprint process and most importantly to keep the flow of the sprint going to allow creators to develop the required outcome (ie. textbook, case study or other resource or product). The demands of a sprint require facilitators to:

  • Manage group dynamics
  • Structure group activities to help the group move toward the goal.
  • Facilitate discussion, discovery and decision making among the group (without making decisions for them)
  • Reinforce collective responsibility for outcomes (encourage cross-collaboration among group members with different skill sets) Serve as a neutral guide to the process (set aside other "roles")
  • Facilitate the building of the required deliverables.
  • The facilitator enables an environment in which the group can collaborate creatively and purposefully. This role varies depending on the sprint context for example, at the UBC Case-Study sprint in 2016, the facilitators also provided hands on technical assistants on the UBC Wiki to assist participants write, edit and revise their case studies.


  • Facilitation Tip Sheet These are general tips for facilitation - provided by Communities for Public Health but context neutral in terms of the advice

Before the Sprint:

At the outset of the sprint the facilitator works with participants to set the ground rules for the sprint, discuss how the sprint space will be used and work with the creators to help develop a common approach to the content they are developing and define the sprint process. The facilitator also maps out the sprint process collaboratively with the creators and discusses checkpoints that will be used throughout.

During the sprint the facilitator helps to maintain the overall flow of the day, revisits the process and sets up and facilitates check points such as lighting rounds, or round tables where participants can share their work, get feedback and begin the revision process. The facilitator also works to unfreeze the participants if they are stuck in the process and works to both reduce external interruptions and maintain a positive and energetic working space.

At the end of the sprint the facilitator develops and facilitates sharing sessions, revisits the goals of the sprint and the overall process and outlines next steps such as meet-ups, future sessions and how the resources created will be shared, revised and built upon.

Facilitator Roles

  • Mediate discussions
  • Enforce the space rules
  • Set ground-rules
  • Deal with disruption from internal/external sources.
  • Unfreeze participants
  • Scribe, Document the process


Before the Sprint the librarian can find and share resources to support the process. These can be subject specific resources, open resources that can be reused to create the textbook, resource on case studies, resources related to licensing, copyright or referencing. Additionally, the librarian can assist in the creation of resources using open sources (e.g. open data) and open tools (e.g. google maps, etc) to support the learning environment.

At the Outset of the Sprint the librarian works with the sprint facilitators to develop the structure of Library related training and supports for the creators of content during the sprint.

During the Sprint the librarian facilitates activities related to the library support, including finding resources, clearance of permissions, facilitating discussions and decisions on licencing of material, guiding processes for sharing of resources developed (e.g. uploading to subject specific repositories), and working with participants on the creation of resources using open sources and tools.

At the End of the Sprint the librarian can review the content used and created for the day to ensure appropriate use and licencing has been assigned, discuss future work on the development of support and ancillary resources for the content created (e.g. research guides, workshop development, etc.), facilitate a discussion about library supports and involvement in deploying the content in a course.

Librarian Roles
  • Provides information about licensing
  • Provides information re copyright, referencing and use
  • Locates resources and shares information about information repositories
  • Co-faciliates as needed
  • Supports content structure as needed
  • Develops resources e.g. In the UBC Case study sprint the librarian created an annotated google map for one of the wiki articles


The creators are the key members of the sprint team. As much of the role of the sprint team is to support there work, their role is mainly to plan, structure and write the course, resource or case. The sprint process supports their work and allows them time to brainstorm, design and develop the resource.

Before the Sprint: Creators can prepare for the sprint by ensuring that they have the time for the sprint blocked off and to consider their overall goals for the completion of the resources.

At the outset of the sprint the creators develop a common approach to the content they are developing works with the facilitator to set goals for the sprint as well as to negotiate checkpoints and help to inform the process that will be used.

During the sprint There are to main roles of creators/writers during the sprint process a) To develop content based on the disciplinary knowledge. This content development is done both through individual focused writing and through collaborative discussion and involves the structuring (organization) of the content and the creation/writing b) To provide feedback and direction for the other creators/writers. The sprint space can be a valuable space to come together and figure out the best way of approaching a developing content.

At the end of the sprint the creator/writers with the facilitator determine continued goal for the resources, establish a schedule for continued work and resource completion and identify areas for more work.

Creator/Writer Roles

  • Content creation
  • Organizing/structuring content
  • Collaborating to create a shared understanding of the disciplinary area and resource

Other Roles

Along with the core sprint roles, sprints may include a variety of individuals to allow the process to be more effective. These roles can range from technical support to help support the creators using a particular tool such as Wikimedia, or Pressbooks to animators, designers or web-developers. An interesting approach used during the case study sprint at the University of British Columbia in 2016 was to involve undergraduate students in the sprint process. In this sprint studen