Friday, 17 July 2009

Brighton ScrumFest July 2009 – Quick Review

Well I had a great time at the first ever UK ScrumFest in Brighton.  Thanks to the organisers (Plamen, Ollie and Mike) for making the event happen.

The first part of the event was to create a product backlog of ideas for the Open Space sessions.  Some really interesting sessions where suggested including:

  • Scaling Scrum for an Enterprise
  • Using Scrum for competitive advantage
  • Scrum 101
  • Group Cohesion
  • Managing your family with Scrum.
  • Child birth as a Scrum Project

The group then moved onto a Live Scrum project to create a number of fashion items from old stock of clothes.  In the first sprint my team tried to create a sarong.  With our combined experience (read none) we attempted sewing etc.    We failed to complete the objective of the sprint. :-(  We even had a Scrum trainer on our team, so we shouldn’t have had any excuses!

On the second day we split the day into Open Space and Goldfish bowl sessions. 

  • OpenSpace sessions #1
  • Goldfish Bowl: Life as a Product Owner
  • OpenSpace sessions #2
  • GoldFish Bowl: The Scrum Development Team
  • OpenSpace sessions #3
  • Goldfish Bowl: The Effective Scrum Master
  • OpenSpace sessions #4
  • Retrospective

Nigel Baker did a particularly interesting OpenSpace session on introducing Scrum.   I enjoyed the way in which Nigel explained the principle without the need to explicitly note software project examples.  At the same time keeping the concept closely aligned to development project process.

I also enjoyed the OpenSpace session that Cesar Idrovo did on Group Cohesion where he presented research that has been conducted into the elements that create a highly productive team.  I believe that Cesar will be officially presenting the findings at one of the coming Scrum events.  Keep your eyes open for that one!

The goldfish bowl that created the most interest was the Product Owner session.  This is not surprising as this role is at the very heart of any project.  There was a very health debate about whether a Product Owner should be present at the Retrospective.   The attendees debated for some time between two positions:  1) Absolutely not and 2) it depends, but mostly yes.  I personally feel that the product owner should be part of the meeting.  Without the PO in attendance you are creating a barrier, a them and us situation.  The PO is part of the team and there is not need to hide information from him/her.  If you feel you can not invite the PO then you have a dysfunctional team and this needs to be resolved.

The goldfish bowl sessions have been recorded so keep visiting the ScrumFest website, as they will be published in the near future.

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