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Orlando Scrum Gathering 2010

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I’m back home after the Gathering, so it’s probably time to blog about it. Lets start with the bad…

  • The 36 hours in transit from Cape Town to Orlando
  • SAA believing it’s okay to not have personal inflight entertainment on a 12 hour flight
  • It’s over :(

Everything else was positive. It was my first Gathering, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but it exceeded all my expectations.

Tom Mellor summed it up rather well in his closing saying ‘a gathering is not a conference’. I’m not sure I would have understood that statement before, but now it weighs heavily on my mind about how we ensure the upcoming Gathering in Cape Town lives up to that, because I believe it is the essence of what makes a Gathering so special.

For those who were not fortunate enough to attend, let me try to explain what Tom meant. Firstly it’s about connecting. Meeting like minded people who are trying to get this agile stuff right, and mostly they are people who believe it’s the best option we have available to making our work lives better. This means they are engaged, passionate, excited, and introspective. Secondly it’s about acknowledgment. We all know this agile stuff is hard, and by simply listening to others problems, or sharing our own we are acknowledging that it’s okay for this to be hard, and it’s okay for us to get it wrong, as long as we keep trying. Thirdly it’s about learning. Not the ‘watch the power point, fall asleep and take home notes you will never look at again’ kind of conference learning, but involved engaged learning through trying things out, hearing different perspectives, and really listening. And finally, it’s about having fun.

Some of the highlights for me were:

  • Lyssa Adkin’s deep dive on Coaching the coaches. I had some huge insights here, I will blog about this separately since it was such a revelation for me.
  • Jeff’s slide from his keynote on the truths about hyperproductive teams. These were all things I feel my team should do, but they are not really core Scrum and I’ve never really been able to articulate why these are so crucial before.
  • Lots of interactive sessions and games aimed at highlighting certain behaviour. I especially enjoyed Simon Bennett’s Incentive Trap, hope to try it out at work if Simon gives me permission….
  • A good scrum clinic session with Peter Steven’s where I finally figured out that as a coach I need to stop solving people’s problems for them, and rather facilitate the discussion where they solve them for themselves.
  • Open Space facilitated by Harrison Owen, and the inspiring story he told Carlo and I about doing open space in South Africa just after Mandela was released.
  • All the awesome people I met and shared discussions with
  • The Dialogue Room and live twitter wall, nice to see social media really working well
  • Sitting in a hot tub, drinking Mojito’s and discussing Scrum with Serge and Marco from Xebia :)
  • The free hugs at lunch on the last day from Certified Scrum Huggers
  • Meeting with Jodi and Tobias and making some concrete plans for the Gathering in South Africa in September. Let’s see if we can do it again.
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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Rowan Bunning #

    Hi Karen, it was great to meet you at the gathering and commiserations re the long flight with no in-flight entertainment. I’ve actually been forwarding this post on to people in Oz who are unfamiliar with gatherings as I think you have captured perfectly what they are all about. Nice job!

    March 18, 2010
    • Hi Rowan
      Good to meet you too. Good luck with planning the Australia Gathering. Hope we will be able to make it.

      March 25, 2010

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