Earlier this week, I attended the 2018 Regional Scrum Gathering Canada, and I had a wonderful time. It was my first conference where I attended as a speaker, not just a participant.
When I arrived on Sunday, David Sabine, one of the organizers, ran into me in the hall and made sure that I was all set (new which room I was in, what was available for speakers to prep, etc). He attention to make sure I had what I needed was very appreciated and helpful!
I was scheduled to speak Tuesday morning, and I found that during the sessions on Monday, it was really difficult to focus on the content of the presentations because I was more in-tune to the techniques that the speakers were using and how the audience was responding. I needed to consciously focus on the great information that was being shared!
I found that I was writing more notes on how I could make connections to my presentation and/or improve my presentation with their points vs. listening with the intent to learn their content. Below is my best attempt of recapping the sessions that I attended:
Monday, March 27
- Opening Keynote – Flow with Ryan Lockhard (link to slides). Ryan shared the various updates that have been shared on the Agile Uprising podcasts with the original creators of the Agile Manifesto, and also introduced the concept of flow, which is where everything comes together in software development.
- Value Stream Mapping with Jerilyn Edginton. Jerilyn led a very interactive session where participants created a value stream based on a video she took from a local coffee house. We created a value stream based on the starting point of when a customer got in line and when they finally received their coffee. It was a great example because there were opportunities to identify improvements.
- Heroes are Expensive — Tackling the Firefighting Culture with Sue Johnston (slides here). To get the crowd in a fun state of mind, Sue shared a couple of “hero culture” game boards on each of the tables, where we’d roll a die and play the “hero” game – think “Chutes and Ladders.” It was a fun way to teach how the hero mindset can hold teams back. Sue shared reasons why a hero culture can exist and what we can do about it.
Then it was time for lunch and getting to know more participants at the conference. I really enjoyed meeting such a diverse group of individuals from all parts of the world.
- See the Value with Ardita Karaj & Jeff “Cheesy” Morgan. This was a great session in that it provided a way to easily do story mapping based on the Jeff Patton’s work. The suggestion of pointing the goals, activities, and stories created boundaries and forced rankings to get to priority and highest value. Can’t wait for their slides to be posted because it was a really helpful, tactical session.
- An Agile approach to Change Management with Dave Sharrock (slides here). Dave shared a few techniques of how to assess the agility of one’s organization by looking at 1) People, 2) Delivery Frequency and 3) Focus on Value. The approach was a good way to know where an organization is in its journey and how it can continue to evolve and grow.
- Then the evening wrapped up with Evening News and some prize giveaways.
- After running up to the room for a little quiet time, I joined the group for the Happy Hour and dinner. Really enjoyed meeting new people and hearing their stories and perspectives.
Tuesday, March 28
- This is it – it was finally the day for my presentation (slides here). All the preparation, research, rehearsing, etc was about to come together. I showed up to the room, really, really, really early – like 90 minutes early. The AV folks were great – got me all set up with the mic and after a few adapters got my presentation up on the main screen.
- The room slowly started to fill, and I chatted with folks who arrived to help ease my nerves. Then I started to see familiar faces from the day before entering the room. The volunteers were all wonderful, and I’m so appreciative of them helping me with timing, organizing, and general moral support.
- No technical glitches with the presentation and I don’t think anyone fell asleep. I received great feedback and was happy that the content inspired a lot of thinking and conversation. The teacher in me loved that I was able to provide value and learning.
- After the presentation, participants came up and asked questions, provided their feedback and thoughts, and thankfully the volunteers help make sure we were clearing the room for the next speaker. Afterward, I needed to go find a quiet place to sit, relax and chat with a few others who were also passing on the next session for whatever reason.
- Then it was time for lunch and lightning talks. Chatted with a few other folks and listened to a variety of lightning talks – kudos to those who got up for the first time and spoke to the ballroom of lunch attendees.
- Scrum in K-12 IT: From Silos To High-Performing Cross-Functional Teams with Jim Bennett. Jim shared his story of creating cross-functional teams as the IT manager for a Canadian school district. I enjoyed the story because I spent many years working for the Georgia Department of Education where I would meet individuals in Jim’s role at the local level, and I was curious about how the work that they and their teams did could be done in using an agile approach. During the story, Jim shared how long and the effort it took to advocate for these approaches, and I appreciate his dedication to championing for improvements for the team.
- Rethink Product Development: How Agile is Redefining the Way We Make Things with Owais Zahid. Really enjoyed Owais’s presentation on how agile could be applied to manufacturing and construction, especially since given that agile ways of thinking were born out of manufacturing, it’s interesting how it’s coming full circle. Another thought engaging presentation.
- Six Rules for Change with Esther Derby (slides here). I’m a huge Esther Derby fan (even more so now that I know she also has a French Bulldog), so I was bummed that I needed to leave about 15 minutes early from her presentation for my flight (I had booked it before the agenda was finalized). In her presentation, Esther provides down-to-earth suggestions on how to help create change in one’s organization. Loved the techniques of how to foster change by changing the language that’s used. I believe there will be a video of the opening and closing keynotes posted. Definitely, check them out.
The conference was extremely well-run, organized and always had the participants’ experience in mind. Extremely happy and appreciative for the opportunity to hone my speaking chops and to meet so many interesting people. Thank you!