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InfoQ Homepage News US Scrum Gathering, An Exciting Day Two

US Scrum Gathering, An Exciting Day Two

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Day two of the 2010 Scrum Gathering, packed full of a whirlwind of topics, talkers, activities, useful nuggets, and again (of course) healthy debates.

According to many, day two's most notable highlight was the lunchtime auditorium talk from special invited guest Harrison Owen - the creator of the highly-regarded agile collaboration "tool" known as Open Space. What may have surprised many is that this is not unique to agile, nor even new; Harrison's first Open Space (the genesis of which he credits to "three martini's" and some intense time constraints) was held to facilitate a diverse group of architects, engineers, and lighting specialists tasked with doing a last minute redesign of big part of the 1985 Olympic grounds. Owens recounted how he was inspired by his time in West India to create the Open Space formula he describes as "sit in a circle, create a bulletin board, start a marketplace - and go to work".

Since then, Owens has facilitated big and small Open Spaces for thousands of diverse industries and groups - last week, at 75, he was in Geneva using Open Space to help a UN High Commission human rights group work out intense problems ranging from torture to sex slavery. Among the many quotable nuggets, maybe most notable are these: "most organizational dysfunction boils down to our futile struggle to organize self-organizing systems", "no one follows their business plan; if they did they'd be out of business", and that success comes if we just "allow ourselves to be what we already are [self-organizing beings]". Some early video footage here.

Among the day's popular sessions, at least in terms attendance count, was Jeff Patton's anticipated "Using Story Mapping" session, which according to the masses delivered as expected. In typical form, Jeff gave an information setup presentation than dove into a live story mapping demonstration, helping Dan Mezick ("the customer") visualize, and map, a hypothetical community planning product (the audience on cue to chime as other "interested stakeholders").

Another session that received a lot attention was by Jurgen Appelo (of the well-known NOOP blog), "The Dolt’s Guide to Self-Organization" in which he presented a provocative array of tangible ways to deconstruct, understand, and effectively implement "self-organization". As is the case with much of the week's content, Jurgen's slides (useful in and of themselves) are already available in cyberspace.

And also among many, many other good sessions generating decent chatter today are "Social Media & Agile Projects" (by Christian Vindinge Rasmussen & Cathrine Lippert) which presented a case for how social media can be used inside and around agile projects for collaboration, user focus, marketing, knowledge sharing and recruitment, Mark Strange's "Scrum-WWDD? (What Would Deming Do?)!", an interesting reprisal of Deming's timeless teachings viewed in an agile context, and Simon Bennett & Mark Summers' real-cash-floating "The Incentive Trap".

Two neat twists to the format included the sprinkling of intermittent "PK" (Pecha Kucha) sessions, lightning fast presentations flashing a quick, but hopefully impacting, point to the audience, as well as the "Scrum Clinic" (in the Breakout Room coordinated by Gerry Kirk and Michael de la Maza) where participants could sign up as real "patients" and/or "doctors" to discuss whatever Scrum ailment might be bothering them.

A highly noteworthy sound-bite generating a lot of debate is the following (from a still yet to be identified speaker): "mature teams don't need a Scrum Master". Interesting, what do you say?

Another tweetable favorite of the day is the Gartner prediction stating "companies that block their employees internet usage will be extinct in 10-15 years".

And, last but not least, honors for the "most recognizable face" during the first two days goes to a deserving Lyssa Adkins, who was at the front of 4 room-filling sessions (including her all-day deep dive yesterday) giving well-useful and refreshing advice on agile coaching, breaking free of your "traditional" project manager shackles, and harnessing the power of positivity to achieve productivity.   

Day 3 kicks off with a full day of real-deal Open Space, Owens style. Again, for more info, visit the official conference website, or follow along at the live blog and with the twitter hashtag #sgus.

Below are the most recent 50 Twitter #sgus comments, for your viewing enjoyment:


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