Today was the final day of the Scrum Gathering.
The morning started off with a wrap-up of the Open Space topics. However, before I could check whether there were any topics I was interested in, I got pulled into another side conversation in the hallway. This one was with with Stacia Broderick and some of the CSTs about what questions we wanted the “guru roundtable” to address.
After proposing some incendiary questions, I went off to setup for my talk: “PMP? ScrumMaster? What’s the Difference?”. Although PMI’s IT&Telecom SIG recorded the session, I’ll give you some of the nuggets that came out of the talk:
- First, I gave a briefing of the growth of the PMI Agile sector. For example, PMI and APLN chapters have been working together in Richmond, DC, Dallas, and Central Illinois over the last year or so. Many of those collaborations are posted in the community’s yahoo group.
- Second, I went through a summary of the insights already discussed in previous presentations.
- Finally, I opened it up to the audience the question “What tools do you need now to go back to your day job as PMP ScrumMasters?”. It took us a while to warm up to what this question was really about, but eventually, some good dynamic exchanges began to happen
- One rephrasing of the question was “What is my job as an Agilist? Execution or Transformation?” . We came to the consensus that this was a false choice; both are intertwined. Small changes in group interaction improve project success, which attracts more Agile adoption, which extends a pattern of success, and so on.
- There was also some discomfort with the term “organizational dysfunction”. Some felt the term was a knee-jerk judgment, which itself could limit change opportunities. Instead of focusing on removing dysfunction, our job as project leaders is to encourage continuous improvement, wherever possible.
- Finally, we discussed how transformation, at any level, can’t be forced. It has to be facilitated over time. The analgy was made to Alcoholics Anonymous’ policy of “attraction rather than promotion”. We have to show people a better way in everyday practice, and then wait for them to respond.
After the talk, we all moved into the large ballroom for a lunch session with an expert panel. The panel consisted of Ron Jeffries (co-founder of eXtreme Programming), Mike Cohn (Scrum guru), Jim Coplien (software guru), Alistair Cockburn (Use case guru and agile co-founder), and Ken Schwaber (Scrum co-founder). There were some excellent quotes that came out the discussion, many of which I posted in real time on the PMI Agile twitter feed. Samples include:
- Schwaber: “the best way to explain the value of Agile is show it being done well, rather than just explaining it”
- Cohn: “my daughter uses Scrum to manage her homework”
- Jeffries: “There is no really good idea that can be measured by the number of people who adopt it.”
- Jeffries: “encourage courage and teach action in the face of danger”
After the panel, I helped PMI’s IT&Telecom SIG perform a couple of interviews in the conference hallway. First, I got to interview Ainsley Nies about her role in making the Open Space a success. Then, Laurentiu Hirsescu interviewed Alistair Cockburn about his role in the Agile movement. The videos should be posted in the next week or so, at which point I’ll send out an update.
All in all, it was a great 4 days. I learned a lot that will make me a better process coach, and met many other Agile-minded PMPs that I can learn from going forward.