Scrum Australia 2013 report

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A little bit of time has passed since my trip to Sydney to present at, and to participate in the inaugural Scrum Australia conference on 10-11 April. This article is  a quick run down on what happened. I’ve also detailed the session that I spoke at, in this article.

General Impressions and presenters

The overall impression was that the organisers outdid themselves, creating an efficient, stimulating, collegiate atmosphere. At first sight, I thought that the NSW Teacher’s Federation conference centre might feel a little cramped, especially in the common areas where people would congregate for breaks. This turned out to be OK, though.

I didn’t take very many photos, but I’ve put a few in the slideshow that you can see at the top of this article.

The quality of the presenters was high. Kenny Rubin, over from Colorado, was the star overseas striker. His stimulating opening keynote, was titled “Economically sensible Scrum”. He also did another well considered and delivered talk, “Portfolio Management with Scrum”.

Here is Lynn Cazaly’s sketch notes of Kenny’s keynote:


It was gratifying to see many faces from the Melbourne agile community speaking across the 2 days. In no particular order, I spotted Herry Wiputra, Francisco Trindade, Anton Rossouw, Craig Brown, Bernd Schiffer, and Adrian Fittolani. You’ll spot some of these faces at Melbourne meetups, and other events like LAST Conference, and Agile Australia, indicating the strength of the community here.

Open Space

A valuable addition to the program was the morning of Open Space, on day two. For space reasons this was divided into beginner level groups, and experienced practitioners in separate rooms. It would have been nice to have had enough space for all of the conference delegates to create one, large Open Space morning. However, having said that, the format really led to a wider level of participation than is possible with just sticking to speakers standing at a lectern.

My session

The session I ran was with Risto Pearce, who is the Development Manager at Toll Global Logistics. I coached his department through an agile transition; helping Certified Scrum Trainer Rowan Bunning, with the a couple of the training courses they attended, and then going on to work with the Toll team through the first few months of switching to putting into practice what they had learned.

We did this in a fireside chat/talk show format. With me being the interviewer and Risto answering questions, and both of us giving insights. Here’s more detail on what happened, including the Prezi presentation and the notes for the session.

I’m a glutton…for meetups

Despite being somewhat drained from 2 days of talking to people, I headed straight from the conference to a meeting of the Sydney Business Analysts group. Craig, Renee Troughton and I led a session asking, “What is an Agile Business Analyst?”. The format we chose was a mix of Lean Coffee and Fishbowl, so I called it a CoffeeBowl. Topics were suggested by participants Lean Coffee style, and we used a Fishbowl to discuss it. This worked pretty well, and I’m happy to say that the event has a 5 star rating on its Meetup page 🙂

Thanks to the organisers for having me at Scrum Australia. It was well worthwhile.

Getting Good – Melbourne Geek Night, 18 March 2013.

Here’s a talk I did last night at Melbourne Geek Night, that I call “Getting Good”. It’s an extension of the pseudo Subterranean Homesick Blues style lightning talk that I did once at the Melbourne Scrum and Agile meetup. I thought I would try Prezi out, and it turned out OK, I think. It is a look at how we learn skills, how we progress, and how we get good at them. I dipped into Malcolm Gladwell’s so-called “10,000 hour rule”, linked The Karate Kid with Alistair Cockburn’s Shu-Ha-Ri progression, and then equated this to how I learnt how to Telemark ski. At the end I made mention of how I used to go to Oxford Geek Night, the inspiration for Melbourne Geek Night. The links for further reading can be found on Pinboard. It was also great hearing about and, from Ned and Matt. I hope that my more general talk was a good counterpoint to their accounts of life at their startups. Cheers to Ben, Ben, and Andrew at Thirst Studios for organising the night. I enjoyed it.