Hosting Open Space sessions at Scrum Gathering

All of us at Responsive attended the Scrum Gathering 2007 in London. As usual it is most interesting, pleaseant and informative to attend these international conferences. Although the organisers was very explicit in making the Gathering more of a social even, it was still very much of a conference, at least for the two first days (not counting the course days). They where so filled with tutorials and other interesting presentations that it was almost possible to choose, let alone make time to talk to people in the short breaks. I would really like the next conference I attend to actually force people to talk to each other during the conference.

Fortunately the third day (Friday) was totally devoted to Open Space, a form that I enjoy very much. This time I hosted two sessions, “How to find Product Owners” and “Enterprise Scrum and Large-Scale Systems Development”. The latter I co-hosted with Henrik Kniberg, who was confused about what Ken Schwaber actually ment in his new book (“Scrum and the Enterprise”).

My take was really not a response or defence to Ken’s Enterprise thoughts, but rather a presentation of some thoughts that I have carried for a long time on how to scale Agile, Iterative and Incremental development to the large scale systems of systems domain. It turned out that these two topics was not exactly compatible so a part of the session broke out to create a concrete example, while the other part continued with more theoretical discussions and comparisons.

My biggest insight from that session was, again, that there are more flavours to development than any single person can really have concrete experience with. Many agile people I meet at conferences seem to have extensive experience with lightweight web or application development, but those with the most questions are usually from the “harder” part of the spectrum, like military, safety, financial or security development. So, I will have to remember to present the concrete problem that “my model” is trying to solve, before engaging in a discussion.

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