Friday, February 13, 2009

Swiss Lean Agile Scrum Event: Call for Participation

Mark your calendars: Zurich, June 4. 2009. Under the motto of 'Beyond the Hype, Agile in Practice', the SwissICT Lean Agile Scrum Group is organizing its first agile project management conference in Zürich.

In the morning we plan to hold introductory workshops  'Scrum 101', 'Lean 101' and 'XP 101'. In the afternoon, the conference will have two tracks dedicated to reports from people - managers, project leaders, developers, coaches, etc. - with actual experience will Lean or Agile Software projects. Experience, good or bad, positive or negative, management or technical, success or ... whatever,  with all flavors of Lean and Agile software methodologies are welcome: XP, Scrum, Scrum-ban, Crystal... if it's lean or agile, it's welcome, but we're looking for honest reports on real projects.

The event is basically a full day event. Our target is 100 participants, but how many will come? Well, that depends on how good you talks are ;-)

How to submit a proposal for a talk

Please follow the guidelines from Call for Participation: Talks for the Scrum Breakfast. Each talk is 45 minutes. The preferred language is German, but English is also acceptable. Please submit your proposal in the language you plan to hold the talk. All speakers get free admission to the conference.

If you would like to lead a '101' workshop

Please send us a proposal with course outline. The total duration is 90 minutes (excluding breaks). We do plan a somewhat more than symbolic compensation (but don't expect to earn a living on it ;-) ).

Please send your proposal to beyondhype-submission (at) sierra-charlie (dot) com. Deadline for submission is March 15, 2009.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Scrum Breakfast in Zürich, March

Under the heading of Agile development meets not so agile operations.We are once again privileged to have a distinguished speaker from abroad:

Agile Methods in Crisis Management in IT Operations
Dana Stoll, ehmalige IT-Leiterin WEB.DE

In crisis situations as in rapidly changing markets, there is a conflict between the need to innovate and the need to standardize. This often produces permanent conflict between IT operations and development. As IT Manager, you success depends on the smooth integration of new products into your existing production environment. For sustainable success as well as effective responses to crisis situations, this conflict needs to be transformed into an effective cooperation. How do you create a balance between an agile and process driven approach?

The last Scrum Breakfast filled up quickly! Register online (also for the Webinar) at

The Scrum Breakfast will be held as always the first Wednesday in the month, with the friendly support of namics zürich & swissITbridge.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Scrum Breakfast: Team Building and the Daily Scrum

Todays Scrum Breakfast set a new record for attendance both on site and on the webinar: 28 registered on site, 19 registered for the webinar and unfortunately some people who wanted to come had to consoled with the webinar, because there just wasn't enough room.

Was it because of the speaker, the interesting topic, or being anchored into the largest IT assocation in Switzerland? Surely a combination of all of the above!

Hans-Peter Korn led us through an interesting discussion about how teams form - under the right circumstances, they do it themselves, but you can't make them do it!

Most provocative was his proposal to modify the 3 questions of the daily Scrum:
  1. What did I finish since yesterday's meeting?
  2. What was particularly helpful?
  3. What will I finish by the next meeting?
  4. What do I need in addition or differently to accomplish that goal?
  5. When was that help available previously?
Question 2 reminds me of an appreciative retrospective and I can see how some daily stroking of the other team members could be a good thing. Question 4 is a much more open and positive formulation of the of the tradtional 'what's is getting the way' (impediment) question. I actually think this might get better answers. If I had to pick just one to try, that would be it.

Thank you Hans-Peter, for an interesting and provocative discussion.


A short version of the presentation is available for download. More information is available from Pictures are available on flickr (Thank you Marcello for finding a camera and taking the pics!)

Next Event - Mark you calendars!

Dana Stoll, former IT Manager at will talk about Agile Methods and  Crisis Management in IT. Wednesday, March 4, 8.00 to 10.00 (with Lean Agile Scrum meeting from 10.30 to 12.00). Mark your calendars - as soon as the event is online at SwissICT, I will publish the announcement.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thought for the day: Interactive Documentation, Otherwise Known as a Play

Last week, I was at the OOP in Munich and attended Linda Rising's Workshop on Fearless Change. While we learned many interesting things about patterns for effecting change in an organization, one story really stood out:
"We developed an application using patterns and we thought that would help us hand over the application to the maintenance group.

"So we sent them the code. They didn't understand. Hmm. OK, Let's try writing some documentation. So we write some documentation. They still didn't understand. OK, let's try giving them some training. So we trained them. Better, but they still didn't get it. Hmm. What now?

"Despair, desperation.

"Someone in my group came up with the idea of doing a play, to explain the roles. So we all put on silly hats and acted out the architecture. 'I am the dispatcher and forward requests to interested parties.' 'I am a user agent, I submit requests on behalf of a user' etc. Lacking a better idea, we tried it!"
How did it work?

The other team reported, "We didn't like it -- we felt silly wearing the hats. And why you needed to put on a play to explain something so simple as your server architecture, I do not understand".

Kind of new twist on learning by doing... and we all know that is terrific way to learn. Could be a new application for youtube...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Call for Participation: Talks for the Scrum Breakfast

What is the Scrum Breakfast?

The Scrum Breakfast is a monthly exchange of information around Scrum. The breakfast offers discussion, information and hands-on experience to CIO's, executive and operational project managers. The program starts with a short presentation on an interesting topic around Scrum. Then follows a moderated discussion among the participants to encourage an exchange of know-how and experiences.

For 2010, I would like to re-emphasize the experiential & discussion aspects and limit formal presentations to about 30 minutes.

The Scrum Breakfast always needs speakers! Do you have an interesting topic related to Scrum (or Lean or Agile)? If so, please send me a proposal!

Getting People to Come

The secret to a a good turn out  -- a room filled with the right people -- is formulating the announcement so that it grabs peoples attention.

Put yourself in the head of your potential listeners and answer the following questions with complete sentences as your listeners would like to hear it:
  1. What is the Title of the Talk?
  2. Name of the Speaker:
    (Please include a picture to publish with the announcement.)

  3. Who am "I" (your audience), i.e who should come?
  4. What problems or challenges do "I" face?
  5. What do I want to achieve in solving this problem?
  6. How do "I" get from problem to solution? (call to action - this might be phrased as a question or an invitation to come to the event and find out about the solution you are presenting)
  7. What does the speaker do professionally?
If you answer these questions well (in about 100 words, total), the participants will beat a path to our door!

Your talk can be in English or German. Unless the talk is going to be in English, I would rather receive the proposal in German and English. I can polish the English quickly, but actual translation is work ;-)

You should plan the talk for about 30 minutes but expect it to morf into a discussion with the participants before you reach the end.


The Scrum Breakfast takes place the first Wednesday of each month. The doors open at 8am and the talk starts at 8.35 (so people coming by train can arrive at 8.30 and still catch the start of the talk). The presentations & discussion are usually in German.

I founded the event in October, 2008 and since December 2008, it is a monthly event of the Lean Agile Scrum Working Group of the SwissICT. Thanks to the integration into the SwissICT, the interest in the Scrum Breakfast in Zürich has exploded. We accept 30 registrations. There are also Breakfasts now in Bern and Basel.

Want to give a talk? Please drop me a line!