A Retrospective of Sorts: an Evening with Jeff Sutherland and Jens Ostergar

Last night I was at a Wellington APN event with Jeff Sutherland and Jens Ostergar.  It should have been a good networking opportunity for me, but I was tired and hot and I ended up standing were ever I could find a bit of a draught and away from others. :(

Back to the event, it wasn’t as interesting as I hoped it would be.  This could be my state of mind at the time or I might have had unrealistic expectations.  I also ended up leaving early as the latest trains and busses I had to catch to get me home meant I had to leave about 30 minutes before the official end of the event.  So based on that you can take what I say here with a pinch of salt.

The event was really well organised.  Yolanda van Dorrestein and Anthony Boobier did an amazing job to get 60+ people to the event, at a great venue.  Jens pointed out that they had had their biggest CSM training class yesterday ever, and that the percentage of people working in government was the greatest ever that they have seen in a class.  Shows that Wellington and New Zealand seems to be well ahead of other countries in this regard. 

Jeff and Jens were interesting and the event was very interactive, there were no Powerpoint presentations.  This was all great, but I felt that although they are passionate about Scrum the talk was very superficial and high level.  I didn’t take anything from the meeting that I had not heard before.  Granted I did not interact at all, so I can blame myself partly for this I guess.  Jeff told a few stories about the start of Scrum that was interesting and funny, but again, I’ve heard most of these before.  I also found that some of his stories were like sales pitches, paraphrasing Jeff here: ‘I went to so and so and showed them Scrum and within 3 sprints they had improved production 10 fold’ or ‘I took a project plan that was going to take 17 months then talked to some of the product owners and then a small team and I delivered a working solution after 3 months’.  It could be that he misread the people in the crowd who I thought was mostly believers in Scrum/Agile who wanted to meat the co-creator of Scrum and get some inside on how to either get scrum into their organisation or improve their Scrum processes, not be sold the ‘amazing’ capability of Scrum to magically make all projects come in well ahead of schedule and way under budget.  I’m sure others have found the evening really interesting and engaging, and I am not complaining about the event at all, just informing those who know me how I experienced the event.


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