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Scrum Gathering Dublin 2017

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The Scrum Alliance Global Gathering takes place every year on different continents and offers practitioners the chance to share their knowledge about scrum and Agile practices.

This year's European event took place in Dublin over three days. One of our Certified Scrum Masters, Tunde Sangobiyi, headed over there to see what it was all about. Here are some of his highlights.

Monday

I woke up early on the first day, went for a quick 5km run, had breakfast and was filled with anticipation for the start of the conference. I wasn't disappointed.

At 9am, the interim CEO of Scrum Alliance, Lisa Hershman, gave an insight into the organisation and touched on the move to increase the use of scrum outside of ICT.

Tobias Mayer
Tobias Mayer

Next up was the keynote speech by Tobias Mayer, which was an interactive exploration of personal values to help attendees stay centred and true to self. It was based on the ethos of "bring your whole self and a willingness to engage", which reminded me of DLG's value of "bringing all of yourself to work".

After a short break, I headed to a talk by Zuzi Sochova, titled 'The Great Scrum Master'. Zuzi is an Agile coach and author of The Great Scrum Master book. I found it fascinating to hear her talk about some of the attributes that a good scrum master needs, such as curiosity, respect and patience. I hope I'm well on my way to grasping those!

Straight after lunch, I looked at the schedule of talks that were taking place and decided to go for ‘Debunking the Product Owner Role' by Roman Pichler.

A member of the audience asked an interesting question about whether it was possible to have more than three product owners for the same product.

Roman gave a precise definition of how a product owner is the person responsible for maximising the value of a product. A product must be something that solves a problem or provides a benefit for a group of people and creates value for the company.

He went on to define the features (product capability that people can interact with, e.g. payment capability) and components (a building block of the product). Therefore there can only be one person, not a committee. In which case, the solution would be to have a feature owner and a component owner who reports to the PO.

"A product owner is the person responsible for maximising the value of a product."

Roman also gave examples of when a product becomes too big, e.g. Facebook. The solution was to break the product into two - so you now have Facebook and Messenger as two distinct products.

After an afternoon panel discussion and some networking, coaches were put on to shuttle attendees to and from the Guinness Storehouse. Here we enjoyed dinner, drinks and a U2 tribute act. A very Irish-themed night indeed.

Tuesday

Tuesday began with Tom Mellor’s ‘Me Agile. You Agile. We're all Agile...Aren't We???’ Tom built on the previous day's keynote speech by examining what it means to be Agile, and why he believes there's no such thing as ‘doing Agile'.

He used some of his experiences in tracking the evolution of agility and the incarnation of various myths and misunderstanding about being Agile. The session was full of interaction, dialogue and feedback.

Wednesday

Michael Sahota
Michael Sahota

Michael Sahota introduced his talk, ‘Wave 2 of Agile: Agile Leadership Redefined’ as a way to understand the high-performance results that come from being Agile as opposed to doing Agile. Agile practices make us "do Agile" while having the Agile mindset is about "being Agile".

Michael pointed out that the biggest challenges with Agile are culture, managers, mindset, trust, and no buy-in.

When we focus on our behaviour, we model Being Agile. We become the leaders and influencers of lasting changes in our organisations. He observed that the leader is the limit. No matter whether it's at managerial or director level, unless that leader is ready to change, the whole organisation can't progress. When a stakeholder comes with issues, take a step back and first analyse how you're contributing to the problem.

If we Agilists value individuals and interactions over processes and tools, why do processes and tools so often run the show? Lyssa Adkins’ closing keynote offered a suggestion that we need to get better at helping people in organisations develop their mental capabilities and not only to change their mindset. That way we'll be able to help organisations do more than just "talk the talk" about valuing individuals and interactions over processes and tools. If we can develop ourselves, we can help others do the same.

Time to return to London

The whole event was a great experience for me. I was reminded of the 12 principles of Agile development, especially support, trust and motivation - also, the need for a scrum master to always be one step ahead. And most importantly, to have a "personal retrospective" where one can be honest with oneself and continually improve.

The next European Scrum Alliance Global Gathering will be held in London in October 2018.