My favourite takeaways from the Scrum Gathering in London (4 of 4)

Global Scrum Gathering London

AUTHOR: Malene Marie Bendixen Jacobsen, Agile Coach

Even though there were a lot of inspiring talks at the gathering and a lot to share, I will attempt to sum up the rest of my favorite takeaways in short phrases below:

‘Why collaboration is messy’ – Tim Harford

Tim did one of the opening keynote addresses on the first day about how collaboration is messy. He shared a lot of key takeaways but two that really stood out for me was the following:

  • Whatever you do in your team, think about whether it will make the boat go faster or not. If not then stop what you are doing, we only want to focus on what will the boat go faster. This is another way of keeping focus.
  • Tim shared with us research that had been conducted on people while networking. We all want to network to make new connections that will help expand our goals. This research involved attaching tracker devices on each participant at multiple networking events. What these results showed was that all people would walk into the room and look around to see if they recognized anyone and as soon as they found a familiar face, they would stick to that person for the remainder of the event. This way your network will only grow with who you already established relations with and who they already know and introduce you to. There are multiple reasons for this which I won’t get deeper into – but, as Tim closed his session, he reminded us to think about this when we were on the Monday Mingle in the evening! So to you, remember that next time you go to a networking event, do you want your network to really grow, or do you want a network that only grows in your already established relations? It’s up to you!

‘Teal, is it time to reinvent organizations?’ – Tobias Mayer, Antoinette Coetze and Simon Powers

If you don’t know what ‘Teal’ is, read more about it here

This session was held as a fishbowl which was more of an interactive session where participants were given the opportunity to ask questions and have conversations. It was a very interesting discussion around reinventing organizations and if we all should strive to be Teal.

I will share some quotes from the session that stood out:

“Just because you can’t imagine it doesn’t mean it’s not possible!”

“It is an internal journey. Your home comes equipped with a mirror. Look in the mirror. When you are showing up as Teal yourself, your organization will become Teal. You act like an attractor.”

“The journey metaphor is a trap. There is no journey. There is now… Drop the metaphor of a journey and adopt the metaphor of a dance.”

The closest we came to a conclusion in the session was maybe the goal is not to be Teal, but to look at yourself and see how you can make the organization you work for as well as the world better.

‘The psychology of creating a high performing culture’ – Damian Hughes

This keynote had a lot of great takeaways. Damian shared with us the five steps to improve team communication:

  • Simple
  • Tripwires
  • Emotion
  • Practical and
  • Storytelling

I loved Damian’s explanation of story-telling and how we as humans remember a story much better than straight statistics.

We will remember the right side easier than the left because it is more of a story.

He shared with us the tool storytelling which I have used often as a model for describing Product Backlog Items instead of user stories. You should try it – it is very powerful:

“If you can’t explain it simply to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it well enough” – Albert Einstein.

‘Scrum at scale origins, implementations, and learnings’ – Avi Schneier, Jessica Larsen, and Jeffrey Sutherland

This talk was an introduction to Scrum@Scale which I wasn’t familiar with before the session. I would suggest tracking down the Scrum@Scale guide because it will be too much for me to sum up here.

I have never really been a big fan of scaling scrum, I believe it is best to keep it simple and small, but when that is said I also know that in some organizations it is not possible. Scrum@Scale sounds very interesting and I am definitely going to invest some time in getting a better understanding of it.

‘A picture paints 1000 words, graphic facilitation for everyone’ – Tamsen Mitchell 

With a lot of talk on heavy subjects, it was a huge pleasure to be part of this graphic facilitation workshop with Tamsen where there was time to have fun and just feel like a kid again. Imagine a room full of +100 people that play Rock/Paper/Scissors as an icebreaker to find the ultimate champion – it was so much fun!

I have observed graphic facilitators on multiple occasions and admired them for what they are capable of. I myself have never dared to dream about becoming one when people can’t even recognize what my stick man is! However, it was still a lot of fun to be part of this workshop, and to get some tips and tricks on how I personally can become better. Focus on the following:

  • It doesn’t have to be fancy to be effective
  • Graphic recording is ONE tool in your toolbox
  • PRACTICE makes BETTER
  • SLOW DOWN

So the result of this workshop is that I have started to practice more, maybe one day I can start dreaming about becoming a graphic facilitator.

‘Scaling Scrum – what’s the question?’ – John McFadyen, Ben Maynard, and Jeffrey Sutherland

This session was held as another Fishbowl session with conversion between John McFadyen representing Enterprise Scrum, Ben Maynard representing LeSS, and the well-known Jeffrey Sutherland representing Scrum@Scale.

My expectation was a bit of a catfight between the different frameworks, but it wasn’t at all how it turned out to be. It was actually a very sober conversation with the audience asking different questions regarding the frameworks and nothing about mine is better than yours.

The big takeaway from my side is that each of you needs to figure out what works for your company, there is not a one solution fits all. And STOP doing the Spotify model, it doesn’t even work for Spotify themselves.

‘LeSS adoption for BMW Group autonomous driving car’ – Konstantin Ribel and Craig Larman

I always find it inspiring to hear about other people’s journeys, but I must admit I mostly went to this talk to meet Graig Larman, to meet the people that write the books you read -that for me is fascinating – but hey surprisingly they are also just humans 😉

The talk was very interesting and what really stood out for me was the first picture on their slide:

Back in the day, the BMW Group worked exclusively on mechanical aspects and everything would be about that, where today, it has become more and more about software. Even though I think we are all aware of it, it is still amazing to be reminded about how the world has changed, how companies change, and how we really need to change our mindset to be able to stay relevant. There is nearly no company today where software is not needed.

One of the big changes in their adaptation of LeSS, to move the driving lab next to the software lab so that the developer can test their code in a real car and get the feedback immediately. This idea does not just apply to LeSS – that is a key thing for all Agile frameworks – to get feedback as fast as possible. The BMW Group realized that simulation is not as good as the real thing and therefore it was necessary to move the labs.

Finishing thoughts

All in all, SGLON18 was a great experience and I think it is important that we keep sharing our stories, experiences, successes as well as the failures. This is after all that we learn from.

It surprises me how after so many years we are still struggling to do it right. For me, Scrum is easy, but as soon as you get people involved it becomes difficult, and it is here we need to have a focus on the people aspect.

For more info and insights from the Gathering, refer to my twitter feed: @MaleneMBJ