Sunday, November 2, 2008

Stockholm Scrum Gathering 2008

I got back from Scrum Gathering in Stockholm a couple weeks ago. This was my first time in Sweden. It was colder than I expected. I went there over the weekend before the conference so that I can see some places around. Unfortunately, my luggage did not arrive with me. That kind of restricted my movement in that cold weather. Also, I realized that my session was the first one on the first day of the conference. I needed to prepare for my presentation...:-)

Overview of the Gathering. The conference was sold out. It was good to see a growing popularity of Scrum among the European companies. People came from many countries. I met people from UK (Conchango guys), Netherlands (Xebia), Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Germany (Siemens). The gathering was graced with the presence of Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. As always, the participants made the the conference come live through great interactions at the keynote speeches, and breakout sessions, as well as by self-organizing at the Open Space. The highlights of the conference from my perspective were the two great case studies presented by Xebia (Distributed Scrum) and Salesforce.com (Enterprise rollout of Scrum at Salesforce.com), the discussion on Agile Contracting at the Open Space, and Q/A session by Ken and Jeff to end the conference. Here are three pictures from the gathering,



1.
Serge from Xebia on Agile contracting at an Open Space
2. Jeff and Serge on the role of product owner
3.
People are mingling during a break

High Level Theme.It seems contracting is getting a lot of attention these days as more companies are adopting Scrum. The traditional contracting is based on waterfall model and it does not work for Agile projects. We expect to see some templates on Agile contracts to emerge over next year or so. Another overarching issue that everybody is grappling with is "Scrum" verses "Scrum Butt." Both Jeff and Ken talked about how to move from "Scrum Butt" to "Scrum." Jeff talked about the Nokia Test for teams to determine where they stand on Scrum maturity. Scrum adoption is a continuum and teams move along that continuum over time. All team starts at ScrumButt. Teams gradually move from "Scrum Butt" to "Pretty Good Scrum" to "Good Scrum" to finally "Great Scrum." In Jeff's word, hyperproductivity is achieved by "Great Scrum" teams. I am not sure about hyper productivity is sustainable in the long term though. Agile/Scrum development process is intense as it is. The goal is to find a sustainable pace that helps the team to maintain a sane lifestyle.

My Session on Agile QA. I will be honest that I was a bit nervous about how many would show up at my session. To my surprise, there was a great turnout at the session. A lot of good conversations happened during the presentation. I'll write a separate blog on the topic. Everything went well except that I was caught off guard when someone commented that we were doing "waterfall" when I was sharing how we were doing QA at a large government project as a case study on Agile QA. The "waterfall" sounds like a curse word specially at an Agile conference...:-) However, my key take away from my session was that I need to put more thoughts on how Agile QA would scale. In fact, scaling Scrum is not specifically an issue with just QA activities, it is an overarching challenge for all large projects. It is just that QA makes it more difficult. I plan to write about scaling Scrum in the future.

What's Next. Xebia case study showed how distributed Scrum and offshoring can produce great results. Agile/Scrum is increasingly becoming a critical element for making offshoring work. I look forward to seeing more case studies on the use of Agile/Scrum to make offshoring work at the next Scrum Gathering in Spring 2009. As for myself, I hope to have a session on Agile architecture and scaling Scrum.

Overall, I enjoyed the conference. The opportunity to visit beautiful Stockholm in itself was worth the trip. I would love to go back again. It is always difficult to visit a place alone. However, I enjoyed my walk-around the old city. I wish I had more time to visit the islands. Next time...:-) Here are four more pictures of Stockholm,




1. Bustling evening in the alley of old city of Stockholm
2. The Royal Guards at the Swedish Palace
3. The sun setting in the alley



Finally, this picture is for people in Bangladesh, do you recognize the logo in the picture?

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