Reflections on the Large Scale Scrum Conference

Reflections from a team manager after visiting the “Large Scale Scrum Conference 2016”

So… LeSS… !?!!

Well, I had read about it over last year or so - on the web and in the book scaling lean & agile development. In my role as agile and lean team manager I wanted more of LeSS after these appetizers - so I signed up for the first LeSS conference.

What was I geared up for? Pretty much just a positive anticipation but from the webpage I had this in mind:

What is Large Scale Scrum Conference 2016?

In this conference there are:
Experiments and Experience
Teams and Communities
Less Booths - More Practitioners
Join us for two days of sharing and learning about Scrum at scale

So what was my experience of the conference then? Well… very interesting.

On a concrete level -

I was at times a bit disappointed yet at other times really delighted with what was going on. Experience ranged from slightly chaotic and confusing to really really great.

Low: A team experiment that initially felt confusing and some not so interesting talks that brought little new that value to me.

High: Talks and discussions packed with deep insight. E.g. Craigs talk on the topic of owning vs renting. To me in some sense about the right to have a meaningful work – presented in a transparent and professional way. Or as in Bas’ talk when he lit a camp fire and took us from the concrete picture of scrum into something more deep and meaningful.

On a meta level –

On a meta level, even lesser experiences have grown upon me. Some experiences have changed into being valuable as I reflect upon the deeper meaning and learnings from them.

What you see and understand is not always the only thing you get – it might mean more as you reflect over time, fill in the blanks and associate it with other stuff that you’ve heard or thought…

So for instance: the above mentioned team experiment had on a concrete level its fair share of miss-communication, people ignoring the role of the facilitator, conflicts and poor team dynamics. On another level it had very interesting and valuable learnings on as I started to observe was really going on. Tuckmans stages of team dynamics for instance. The real experience of self-organizating teams as another example.

I feel it is completely impossible to describe everything that happened on this conference in a short post - but I do feel that I learned a lot, at the same time realize that my organization also could contribute to the agile communities outside my company… and most of all:

I really really appreciated the professional experimental culture with learnings that emerged even during the conference – and impacting the way it was conducted!

Some of the principles – build bottom up, fill in the blanks, experiment and inspect and adapt, self-organize was something that I did not only hear about – I actually was allowed to experience and be part of experiments with said principles.

Do I want more of LeSS after this conference?

O yes.

As a manager that really wants agile I feel liberated from some of the stuff I learned.

Thanks to all that made this a great event from Magnus – ever learning agilst and team manager

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