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Meetup notes: An introduction to Scrum

Last night I ran a meetup introducing people to Scrum. Lectures are boring so I made it a game. At a rooftop bar.

Meetups in bars are best. Lucky it wasn’t raining.

Agenda on the night

Tools I provided;
  • A printed copy of the Scrum Guide for each table.
  • A copy of my run sheet for the night
  • The picture from Wikipedia of Scrum
I organised people into teams of 3-4. People made this teams of 3-6. People were drifing in for up to an hour from the start time and we joining teams in progress.

The agenda on the night was as follows

1. Form teams, introduce yourselves to each other. Small teams work best. Take a photo of your team and publish it on the meetup site.

2. Focus you conversation tonight by coming up with specific questions your team wants answered.  You must write them down. Post a pic of your questions to celebrate the completion of this milestone.

3. Now, as a team, with the help of the scrum guide, the internet and the people in the teams around you, go answer your questions. When you are done, take a picture of  your answers/and your team celebrating success.

Why this format?

Learning works best when you pull (not push) information. Generating questions and hunting down answers mean the knowledge gained will be more personal, be better retained and be more useful.

Agile teams work best with clear goals and small teams. You practiced working this way.

Ideally you have all the skills you need on your team, but usually you don’t. The activity provided this very problem and now you have experience solving it.

Meetups are about fostering a community of people who share with each other. Far better than having an expert stand out front while everyone sits quietly and listens.

It was fun.

What I observed

Most people didn’t open the Scrum guide unless prompted. Even though a printed copy was on each table. This reinforces my views on oral traditions being the only ones that matter.
The activity surprised me by being a study on scaling work across multiple teams. Good will and respect for other people’s time are all you need to scale. Anyone tells you anything else is selling something.
While most people professed to be absolute novices at the end of the night everyone pretty much said they had their questions answered and their goals for the night satisfied. I think I helped out with two answers and pointing two teams at the Scrum Guide.
So I think it was a successful meetup.

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