Scrum is more than CSM – Scrum Gathering Dublin

Instead of Halloween, for me it was “Gather-ween” this year. Monday through Wednesday, 30.10. – 01.11.2017, I attended this year’s European Scrum Gathering, organized by the Scrum Alliance. After Munich in 2016, this year it was Dublin’s turn. The conference motto “Individuals and Interactions” created the umbrella for three intensive days with lots of different offers, ranging from classical talk sessions to “clinics” for coaches and trainers to new experiments like the Games Track or a Late Night Coaching Session. There were about 650 attendees, for about half of them it was their first gathering, resulting in a colorful mix of newbies, practitioners and seasoned experts from all over the world.

Emphasis on Leadship and Values

It was my fifth Gathering and probably the most intensive one. From my perspective, the dominating topic was “Agile Leadership”. In his key note, Michael Sahota used several live polls to ask the attendees if the implementation of Agile in their context remained below its potential (80%: YES!), and then asked for the reasons (“Incompatible culture, “Management doesn’t understand Agile”, …). This set the stage for much of the conference.

Several session adressed the topic “Agile for Managers” from different perspectives. Apparently seemingly soft factors like personal growth, values (what’s really important to me), and intents (what do I want to do today to put these values into reality), were of crucial importance. When somebody asked why Agile sounds more and more like a religion, Michael protested: “This is no fluffy bunny stuff. This is about the core of how to be successful in business!“

CSP Certifications will become much more difficult in 2018

For many participants, the CSP Area was of imporance. Here, the Scrum Alliance presented the evolution of the path to the Certified Scrum Professional (CSP). After the CSM or CSPO, which remain the entry level certificates, you can now take an advanced Certified Scrum Master Course (A-CSM) or the corresponding A-CSPO). After another year, you may now get certified as a Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster (CSP-SM) or Certified Scrum Professional Product Owner (CSP-PO).

This is the attempt of the Scrum Alliance to support the mostly role-oriented agile journey of their CSMs and CSPOs with an improved structure of accompanying courses and certificates. It is also a reaction to the critics that say that a 2-day course can only be an introduction and in no way makes one a “master”. This new program is more challenging than the previous CSP program. So, if you are currently preparing your CSP certification, hurry up and turn it in before 31.12.2017.

For details, please refer to

Coaching Clinic and Trainers Clinic offer practical advice

In addition to the traditional Coaching Clinic, where everyone can talk to an experienced coach about their current challenges, this year, there was a new area called “Trainers Clinic”. Here CST (Certified Scrum Trainer) candidates could talk to members of the TAC (the Trainer Approval Committee) and to other  CSTs, to those with years of experience and to some of the 13 CSTs approved right before the gathering – very exciting for me. Some practical question concerning training methods or the trainer approval process could be cleared up right away. Hopefully, in the future, not only CSTs but also ordinary Scrum Masters get better support when they want to get Scrum concepts across to their teams.

Insightful conversations and personal exchange are essential

Even more valuable than the talks and clinics was the opportunity to get into contact with so many leaders of the Agile community. For example, during the ride to the Monday Mingle (an evening event), I got to sit next to some Mike. I soon found out that it was actually Mike Beedle, one of the 17 co-authors of the Agile Manifesto. It was really interesting what he had to say about this historical weekend in 2001. At the event location, Jeff Patton, whose book “User Story Mapping” I value a lot, joined us for a relaxed and humorous conversation. The next day, during a Large Scale Scrum LEGO workshop, I got to talk to Alexey Krivitsky, the Scrum trainer that originally created the idea to use LEGO to get Scrum concepts across. And of course, I was able to deepen my connections to German Scrum trainers and coaches – a very helpful and friendly community.

Why don’t you join in the next time?

The next Scrum Gathering takes place in April (16.-18.4.2018) in Minneapolis. The next European Gathering is in London in October (8.-10.10.2018). See you there …

Back from the Global Scrum Gathering in Prague

Happy and somewhat exhausted I am sinking into the chair of my long-distance coach that will take me back to Munich. My head is still buzzing from all the exciting ideas, new approaches, new concepts, new acquaintances , light bulb moments, little tricks that have been swarming around my during the last days.

We are passing the Moldau River, and I let my gaze wander across the sea of orange-yellowish lights of the historic city center one last time. Mondays evening event comes to my mind, the “Monday Mingle” – great conversations, tasty Czech Beer and later-on an energetic one-man band (and more beer) in the Irish pub “George and Dragon”. An all around successful conference!

By now, the coach is purring along smoothly on the nightly Autobahn, and I have the opportunity sort my thoughts.

2015.Pascal_with_SGPRG_LogoSo, first things first: I spent the last three days from Monday, Nov 16, until Wednesday, Nov 18 at the Global Scrum Gathering at Prague, the last one of three in 2015. These Gatherings, organized by the Scrum Alliance, enable Scrum trainers, coaches, practitioners and novices to learn from each other, get in contact, and exchange thoughts and new ideas or techniques.

This time, there were talks on basics like “User Story Refactoring” as well as Avant Garde topics like Agile remuneration models. In addition, many 90 min workshops enable the participants to dig in deeper into their subjects of interest. Check out the twitter hashtag #SGPRG to get a glimpse of the wide range of topics touched.  A personal highlight was the big open space on Wednesday with more than 600 participants. I used the opportunity and offered a workshop that showed how Paper Prototyping fits in with the latest Lean Startup concepts.

The overall frame was set by two superb keynotes. The opening keynote by Nils Pfläging, titled “Organize for Complexity”, was an interesting, at times provoking and humorous plea to turn the back on traditional hierarchy for the organization of the modern enterprise. The closing keynote by Brian Robertson „Holacracy: A Radical New Approach to Management” complemented it nicely, presenting a possible concrete way of realizing the high-level concepts presented by Nils Pfläging.

Now I am using the quiet of the nightly bus ride review my thoughts and impressions of the last days. 2015.Pascal_with_LegoWould holacrazy work in my company? Engaging people from the moment they enter the room: Great! Lego is a very effective way to communicate ideas – and it is fun! Should I learn more about NLP? First imitate – then innovate! …. I am sure I’ll follow up on some of them and share them with you.

Many thanks to Simon Roberts for encouraging me to go!

Oh, and I almost forgot: the next European Scrum Gathering will be in … MUNICH!