Graduates of our workshops often ask how they can continue their journey of learning about scrum, and earn some Scrum Educational Units (SEUs). Attending conferences is a great way to accomplish these goals. Here is a list of conferences that you might consider attending in 2020. I’m sure we’ve missed some good ones, so point those out to us by leaving a comment.
Graduates of our Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), and Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO) workshops often ask how they can continue their journey of learning about scrum, as well as earn Scrum Educational Units (SEUs) to help them renew their Scrum Alliance certifications. Attending conferences is a great way to accomplish these goals. Here is a list of conferences that you might consider attending in 2019. I’m sure we’ve missed some good ones, so point those out to us by leaving a comment.
Read the full article…
Our very own Laura Powers recently participated in Agile Open Southern California, where she was interviewed by Scott Dunn. Laura talks about the power of games to help executives understand the changes they need to make in order for their organizations to become more agile.
If you are at the 2012 Atlanta Scrum Gathering, you got a copy of The Elements of Scrum by Chris Sims and yours truly in your conference goody bag, as we are proud sponsors of this year’s event. If you’d like Chris to sign your copy, he’ll be doing so at 12:30 pm on Tuesday in the Heritage Room. And I promise: if you bring along three rubber chickens, he will juggle them!
What, you say you don’t yet have a copy of The Elements of Scrum and are consumed with envy? Easily solved! Take one of our CSM or CSPO classes and you’ll get one, or if you just can’t wait, buy yourself a copy here on Amazon. Makes a great Mother’s Day gift! Just kidding. That would be, like, the worst Mother’s Day gift of all time. If you need a Mother’s Day gift, buy her a copy of my mom Ricki Grady’s book, BeBop Garden instead.
Agile Open Northwest kicked off this morning, and the whole Agile Learning Labs crew is here. Chris hosted a session called “An Experiential Intro to Agile” in the first time slot. Sixteen folks new to agile gathered and we quickly discovered a common theme: participants were about to join agile teams, but didn’t know what to expect. Out came the rubber balls and we dove into the Self-Organizing Ball game.
The topics that this surfaced included:
- The value of short iterations to to allow productive “trial and error”
- How effective retrospectives generate continuous improvement
- Time-boxing can push a group towards productive chaos, while protecting it from prolonged unproductive chaos.
- The way a shared goal can unite a team, and focus the energy and self-organization
It was a lot of fun, and a good start to one of my favorite conferences.
If you're like us, you've dialed-back your conference-going in the past couple of years, but one event that's not to be missed is the Agile Roots Conference in Salt Lake City. Both Chris and Steve will be presenting, and we'll be handing out the very first "samplers" from our forthcoming Agile Dictionary project. Why do we love Agile Roots? Because it takes place in Salt Lake City, near the birthplace of the Agile Manifesto, and opens with a keynote address by Jeff Patton titled Nobody Wants Your Stupid Process. See, you want to go now, don't you?
Steve will be presenting one of Agile Learning Labs' greatest hits, a workshop he designed called Flying Through Bottlenecks. Chris will be doing The Great Agile Requirements Showdown, which could just as easily be called Showdown at the Agile Corral. Both workshops are participatory, and a lot of fun.
On the way to Agile Roots, Chris will be making a whistle-stop at the Better Software Conference in Las Vegas, where on Thursday, June 10th he'll do a little number he picked up from Steve, Eliminating Process Bottlenecks: The
Theory of Constraints. I think I like Steve's workshop title a bit better, even though it's less explanatory; who doesn't want to learn to fly?)
Somewhere between the two conferences, Chris is going to manage to stop by Los Angeles to attend my son's high school graduation. What a whirlwind. Good thing he's so Agile….
By Hillary Johnson
Last weekend, Chris and I attended a marvelous event called Dare 2B Digital, aimed at addressing the gender gap in computer science careers, and at which 7th through 10th grade girls got to play at writing code, crafting business plans, and other techie things.
We held a session called "Teamstorming," leading a group of enthusiastic students in a series of the same learning games we use to teach teams of software developers on big, important enterprise projects to work together collaboratively.
We were completely blown away. The girls weren't just good: they were great. This was the most quick-witted, productive, outgoing and naturally cooperative group of individuals we've ever had the pleasure of teaching, by a significant margin. Chris and I have both mentioned to several people now our experience of finding the teenaged girls smarter, stronger, faster and sharper than their elders of any gender, and have heard a few theories about why this might be, the top three being:
They are unspoiled.
They are female.
They are female and unspoiled.
We laughed, too. But each of these notions has some merit. First, there is the unsullied youth theory: It seems patently obvious that many adults have a great deal of wariness, and weariness, to overcome before they are open to participating freely in a game-based exercise. Our teaching style is based entirely around games and simulations, and the younger a student is, the closer she is to the memory of learning almost entirely though play. It is not, however, particularly true that children are born collaborators, as any parent whose pre-school has a biter enrolled can tell you.
As for the gender question: Are females, by nature or nurture, better collaborators and problem solvers than males? To whatever extent our temperaments are deterministic, my hunch is that girls would respond better to the collaborative exercises, and the boys to the competitive ones. There is research-based evidence that there are gender-based differences in learning styles, but the same research indicates that the variation between individuals is greater than the variation between the genders.
So yes, the girls may benefit from being both female and unspoiled, but this doesn't mean they are superior to the male and the spoiled, it just means they're naturally suited to collaboration and have nothing to unlearn as they encounter collaborative situations.
But by adulthood, we are all engaged in activities that may or may not speak to our true natures. Girls don't tend to play with toy cars, but they grow up to drive real cars in the same numbers as men. And if you believe insurance companies' actuarial tables, they grow up to be the better drivers. On the flip side, I think this means that boys can grow up to be fine collaborators, as good as or better than their female counterparts, despite their greater inclination toward competitive styles.
I am not a big fan of determinism. Things do come out in the wash, and in the long run, even unlearning can be a productive process. As Chris will tell you, part of the reason he values Agile so much is that teamwork and collaboration do not always come naturally to him–he was once a boy who played with cars, after all. He has enjoyed being in a traditional leadership role, and can remember exactly what it was like to resist the urge to "help" a team, instead letting them solve their own problems through self-organization. Which is why he is good at teaching Agile techniques, especially to people who have a lot of un-learning of traditional top-down management styles to do.
The clear outcome, to me, is that the gender bias in the field of software development that persists today is entirely bogus. If boys have an edge when it comes to math–hence their delight in code–and girls have an edge when it comes to collaboration, then it seems stupefyingly clear to me that you're most likely to have a high-functioning team if you have both styles well represented, with plenty of room allowed for something even more important: individuality.
This year's Better Software Conference in Las Vegas on June 6-11 is all about Agile, to judge by the program. The conference runs concurrently with the Agile Development Practices West conference (with twofer admission). Better Software is also bookended by certification courses in ScrumMaster and Agile Testing Practices early in the week, and the Agile Alliance's one day Agile Leadership Summit , chaired by Polyanna Pixton, on Friday.
In addition to the usual presentations on release planning, user stories and backlog grooming, the program has a lot of emphasis on what are sometimes termed "soft skills"–i.e., the ability of technophiles to interact with carbon-based life forms, sessions with names like: Selecting Agile Team Members, Verbal Agility and Better Decisions Through Collaboration.
There will also be fun and games. Chris will be leading a session called Eliminating Process Bottlenecks: The Theory of Constraints, which has participants building paper airplanes–and running a paper aerospace company–to explore problems and solutions.
Chris' most recent InfoQ article is a preview of Agile Coach Camp, billed as the Open Space conference "delivering value to those delivering value." The conference, which takes place in Durham, NC next month, is a bit different than most Agile gatherings, in that aspiring participants must "audition" for admission by submitting a position paper, guaranteeing a high level of professional discourse. Check out Chris' article for a preview of some of the topics proposed so far. Last year, Chris facilitated a couple of sessions, including one on What Makes Agile Projects Succeed.
Chris and Jeremy Lightsmith proposed similar sessions, and
so chose to combine them into one. About 15 people showed up for an
exercise-based session on generating requirements using the Story Mapping technique, which Chris first learned about from Jeff Patton. As I’ve done in the past, I served as the putative “client,” in my guise as editor-in-chief of
a newspaper—come on, you remember newspapers, those things the Brits used to wrap fish back in the olden days? (BTW, the New York Times is now a
mere 11 inches wide. I think this is the next step toward ceasing print publication, as it’s now conveniently laid out to be printed on your home printer.)
For the first phase, Jeremy interviewed me to tease out big
picture goals I had for a system to manage my work flow, from story assignment
to layout. “Trackability” was one, with the measurability factor being to lower the moment of “Oh s—t!”
moments per edition of the paper. Then participants broke into two groups and brainstormed for ten minutes to come up with a handful of goals for a fictional
new system for renting videos online, based on Netflix.
In round two, Chris interviewed me to determine the personas
involved. Then the groups reconvened and created personas for the users of the Netflix system.
In the final round, Chris conducted an abbreviated interview
tracing my work flow and breaking it down into rough-hewn user stories: “Assign a story to a writer,” “Assign a story to an issue,” “Submit story to art
department for layout.” After that, the groups worked on their Netflix user stories, and quickly got the hang of
it: “Add to queue,” “Sort by category,” etc.
For being so brief, the workshop operated on two levels:
On one level, the process showed that user stories, however granular they may come, are best woven out of whole cloth, that context is king, and if you get the big picture from the horse's mouth (ugh, mixed metaphor–where's a copy editor when you need one?), your user stories will almost write themselves.
On another level entirely, the exercises introduced them to the concept of the Story Map as a big-picture information radiator that helps developers working on highly granular user
stories keep their sense of connection to the big picture, and especially to
the end user. You could almost call it an empathy radiator.