Back from the Global Scrum Gathering in Prague

Happy and somewhat exhausted I am sinking into the chair of my long-distance coach that will take me back to Munich. My head is still buzzing from all the exciting ideas, new approaches, new concepts, new acquaintances , light bulb moments, little tricks that have been swarming around my during the last days.

We are passing the Moldau River, and I let my gaze wander across the sea of orange-yellowish lights of the historic city center one last time. Mondays evening event comes to my mind, the “Monday Mingle” – great conversations, tasty Czech Beer and later-on an energetic one-man band (and more beer) in the Irish pub “George and Dragon”. An all around successful conference!

By now, the coach is purring along smoothly on the nightly Autobahn, and I have the opportunity sort my thoughts.

2015.Pascal_with_SGPRG_LogoSo, first things first: I spent the last three days from Monday, Nov 16, until Wednesday, Nov 18 at the Global Scrum Gathering at Prague, the last one of three in 2015. These Gatherings, organized by the Scrum Alliance, enable Scrum trainers, coaches, practitioners and novices to learn from each other, get in contact, and exchange thoughts and new ideas or techniques.

This time, there were talks on basics like “User Story Refactoring” as well as Avant Garde topics like Agile remuneration models. In addition, many 90 min workshops enable the participants to dig in deeper into their subjects of interest. Check out the twitter hashtag #SGPRG to get a glimpse of the wide range of topics touched.  A personal highlight was the big open space on Wednesday with more than 600 participants. I used the opportunity and offered a workshop that showed how Paper Prototyping fits in with the latest Lean Startup concepts.

The overall frame was set by two superb keynotes. The opening keynote by Nils Pfläging, titled “Organize for Complexity”, was an interesting, at times provoking and humorous plea to turn the back on traditional hierarchy for the organization of the modern enterprise. The closing keynote by Brian Robertson „Holacracy: A Radical New Approach to Management” complemented it nicely, presenting a possible concrete way of realizing the high-level concepts presented by Nils Pfläging.

Now I am using the quiet of the nightly bus ride review my thoughts and impressions of the last days. 2015.Pascal_with_LegoWould holacrazy work in my company? Engaging people from the moment they enter the room: Great! Lego is a very effective way to communicate ideas – and it is fun! Should I learn more about NLP? First imitate – then innovate! …. I am sure I’ll follow up on some of them and share them with you.

Many thanks to Simon Roberts for encouraging me to go!

Oh, and I almost forgot: the next European Scrum Gathering will be in … MUNICH!

A tale about customer feedback

Probably you have also heard the constantly repeated mantra of many agile gurus: “Get real customer feedback. Get it early. Learn from it.”
And probably you also know these “agilized” projects with lots of of sprints and reviews and a go-live at the very end of the project. And unfortunately no time to talk to customers.

Let me tell you about a different experience from my last project.

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The Waterfall Accident

“For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong.” (H. L. Mencken)

Probably since the mid-70s, the waterfall model has been the prevalent approach when it comes to software engineering. The basic idea is easy to communicate and appeals to common sense. First you find out what is needed, then you decide how you are going to do it, then you do it, after that you check if you really did it right, and finally you use it.

So it is quite surprising that the omnipresence of the waterfall process seems not much more than a quirk of history, some call it even a historical accident.

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