An Open Space endorsement of Scrum

This post is simply a reproduction of an email the Scrum Alliance staff received from Suzanne Daigle, who worked with Harrison Owen to make the Open Space at the Scrum Gathering in Orlando as successful as it was.  Suzanne had never heard of Scrum or the Scrum Alliance before the event.  This is how she felt immediately afterward.

[…] I am still in a bit of a daze from the past few days. I was really expecting to just come hang out with my friend Harrison for a few days, help a bit if I could and go back home.  From the moment I arrived, I felt myself transported into your wonderful world.  From the first smiles of “Scrum Welcome” that greeted me in the conference area, to the synchronicity of meeting exactly the right people within the first hour of me arriving, well I should have known something special was going on.

I know I will need a bit of time to absorb all that I saw that is so very special about Scrum Alliance and what they do. Certainly, I want to know more about your organization, your history and future.  I also want to help in any way I can, if only to brag about who and what you do to everyone I know in the course of my travels and work.  I’ll probably be posting something on our International Open Space community board and will send you a copy of what I write.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I feel that the personal and collective leadership I saw here goes so far beyond the scope of systems application, systems implementation and project management work typical of many who work in your field.  What I saw here were people modeling “the new leadership” – people with passion in their gut who understand in a very “holistic” way that human dynamics are an integral part of what creates success.  I saw lots of caring, real depth of insight and awareness, huge intellect and a maturity of knowing that systems change, systems improvement and just plain work is so much more than making a plan, working the plan and getting stuff done.  To see so many from all around the world, who did not personally know each other, connect as they did so quickly having what I call “Big Talk” as opposed to “small talk” was also extraordinary.

Anyway […] I just had to give you my own first impressions which leave me with the conviction that the Scrum Alliance is a trail blazing organization with a huge potential to leverage and contribute their philosophy of being and doing to this leadership shift that is happening globally in organizations and everywhere.  Many system breakdowns with huge opportunities, systems breakdowns that go beyond the definition of computer and information systems and the like. Wishing you all the success you deserve in influencing and contributing to this shift. And yes […] it’s all about contributing to a greater purpose one that extends to society and meaningful purpose.

[Scrum Alliance people] thank you again for making me part of your world!  I leave with many snap shot memories of my time here, for example, smiling as I remember all the food ended up on my newsroom table that I really didn’t get a chance to eat but that made me grin at the simple act of kindness of it. And of course, I’ll always remember the army of volunteers the night before creating posters, setting up the rooms, etc. In the end, that truly is the magic that moves mountains.

Warmest regards,

7 responses to “An Open Space endorsement of Scrum

  1. sheesh. That gave me goose bumps reading it. Reminds me just how special those 3 days were.

    Thanks to Harrison and Suzanne for the gift of Open Space

  2. Heitor Roriz Filho

    nice post. It is really good to hear things like
    *** What I saw here were people modeling “the new leadership” ***
    I believe Agile Leadership is becoming more and more mature. I am happy to know SA is playing an important role.


  3. At the reception Monday night, I remember standing in the middle of the open area. I was happy that I seem to have landed in a group I feel comfortable in. I feel “home” more than I have for quite a while. Of course, any group that thinks at all like I do must be exceptional 🙂 Everyone was quite serious about contributing and learning, This stuff matters. Coaching skills? That’s your capability to give value back for the good fortune to simply exist.

    I have always been a terrible employee. In spite of what you tell me, I’m going to do what I do. So we’d better be aligned somewhat or I’m going to cause a big explosion. I assume I can do anything I see as good. This has caused trouble. I tend to ignore rules in favor of doing what seems best. So now that’s a rule? Nourishing others to feel comfortable and productive. Work becomes another event on your schedule. Maybe it’s the most fun you regularly have? Well, no. It’s still work. But it doesn’t smother you. You get to be as good as you can be.

    So thanks, I felt good being at the event too. “Gathering” sounded pretentious at first. Then I realized it simply described what happened. My attitude toward life shifted a little. I tend to be pessimistic. It’s pretty hard to see how we move past some of the worse trend-lines. But I feel a little better now. I see people actually living like they can make stuff happen better and faster. And this has a big payoff economically. Half and order of magnitude is really a competitive advantage. Wow, the inefficient just die off, like the “Eastern Bloc.” I’m still a little pessimistic long term. But people have been pessimistic since dirt. Pessimism just makes you evaluate the potential future a little bit more carefully. I think I’ll hang with all of you.

  4. In my view OpenSpace is a chance to talk about the things you wanted to say but you believe you should not. These unfulfilled self-expression when met can enrich the experience of both the speaker and attendee.

  5. Thanks for posting that excellent email from Suzanne Daigle. As a CSM, scrum practitioner, software developer, and an open space facilitator – dang – I wish I could have been there and very glad to be in the software industry.

  6. Elaine Hansen

    I have come to this page via the Open Space listserv. Harrison shared a link to your work. Suzanne shared with us her story of being with you.

    It excites me to know the work you are doing and that you have joined us in this quest to change and transform the way we gather to create conversations that matter.

    My first experiences with these Communication Technologies (Open Space, World Cafe’, A Small Group, Appreciative Inquiry, Art of Hosting, and more) were much the same as David Sheriff posted: “I was happy that I seem to have landed in a group I feel comfortable in. I feel “home” more than I have for quite a while.”

    The world is more ready than we realize for these ways of gathering.

    It is time.

  7. I had written this from the heart in the early morning following my participation at the Scrum event in Orlando. I still have the lingering memory and the burning passion to see the new realities and possibilities of where Scrum can go. I had not seen the comments here til now and I feel so touched at the connections I feel.
    As a follow-up I wanted to say that I did talk to everyone I know bragging about the Scrum community. In doing so, I met many who are members or friends, here at home and in other countries. Stay tuned cause this story will not end here. You/we will be the change we want to see!

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