For those of you thinking about attending a Scrum Gathering, even a regional one, trust me, just make it happen. In October, I attended the Global Scrum Gathering Munich and it was the first conference in many years that I did not feel like I was wasting my time. Here are some stats courtesy of Scrum Alliance.
This was my first Agile conference. I have been to many PMI sponsored events, mostly to maintain my certifications, but this was the first “project management conference” I was attending that had more than a single class on Agile. What a difference that simple shift in focus makes.
The attendees were friendly, open, and everyone wanted to share and learn from everyone else. We all preach the self-organizing teams and empowered team members, and this was no different. The attendees were self-organizing and empowered. The conversions being held all over the hotel were as interesting and diverse as the folks having them.
One area I did not take advantage of, but wish I had, was the coaching sessions. I did not have any specific obstacle at the time, due to my recent job change, but I could think of a couple of things it would have been nice to sit down with another coach and work together to find a solution. Next time. Even without these formalized coaching sessions, I still learned ways of approaching issues that I had not thought of before; while sharing and improvising solutions to tasks and problems facing all of us. Not only was the networking very productive, the sessions were informative and full of actionable ideas and take-aways.
I am a Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) and was not seriously thinking of going further with my Scrum based certifications. After attending this conference, and someone in the CSP breakout threw down the gauntlet on this for me, and I am feeling very motivated to start on the path for my CEC as well as the new Certified Agile Leadership (CAL) program that was rolled out in Munich.
Another aspect I found surprising at Scrum Gathering, as compared to the many other conferences I have attended, were the keynotes. They were useful, like actually useful. Not just interesting, but even the keynotes had actionable information that I can apply almost every day. I downloaded the slides from the keynotes and plan on reviewing them and better my approach in several situations based on what I learned from these huge sessions.
A huge thank you goes out to Scrum Alliance for putting this together, IBM for being the platinum sponsor, and all the other sponsors and booths. It was a great Scrum Gathering and completely worth the trip. I am looking forward to Dublin next year.