It’s been a couple of weeks since I returned from the Global Scrum Gathering in Lisbon – the first in-person conference I have attended post-COVID – so I thought I would diarise the event and share some of my thoughts on the time I spent there over a series of short blog posts. In this post, I will summarise…

Monday 16th October 2023 – Day 1

The gathering begins!! The event was held in the Lisbon Congress Centre, which I believe had been booked pre-pandemic when the numbers in attendance were expected to be much higher. As such, I think this gathering expected about 500 attendees which does sound a lot, but I feel we as attendees struggled to fill this space and the acoustics in certain rooms were a challenge (more on that in a later blog post).

We entered the cinema-style room for the opening of the gathering. the keynote on Day 1 was from Sahar Hashemi MBE who gave a keynote speech on The Entrepreneurial Mindset. Sahar is the founder of a UK based chain of coffee shops called Coffee Republic and she shared her story about how she grew her idea of bringing a coffee shop to the UK  after experiencing a coffee shop for the first time in New York many years ago, before coffee became big business in the UK.

It was an interesting story and talked about the belief to persist with new ideas even when you doubt them. But while the session was interesting as the outset, the story moved onto where she sold the company and it seems to falter. So it left me thinking that her session was more around failure than success as an entrepreneur!

As the keynote completed and the attendees moved into their coffee break, I ran off to the room I would be presenting my first of two sessions at the conference. I was lucky enough to have two sessions accepted as speaker for the gathering, so I used this opportunity to pair with Jona Rens – a Dutch scrum trainer who is looking to start her path to CST. The first of our two sessions was scheduled for 11am, so we both met after the keynote to set up the room for the session. The title of the sessions was “Product Owners: The Primary Storytellers in a Scrum Team” which was aimed to help practitioner Product Owners really engage with the narrative behind their work. As we had two sessions to present, I allowed Jona to lead on this session and it went down a storm!! Jona is a really great presenter and her background in the theatre really added depth and experience to this session. The room was full and we had a lot of fun with storytelling concepts and examples, as well as some really useful connections with the emotions and empathy that great Product Owners have.

Product Owner: The Primary Storyteller in a Scrum Team

The day ended with the traditional Monday Mingle – an offsite networking event where the Scrum Alliance provide some food, drinks and some entertainment. So we boarded the bus to the event in central Lisbon, and we arrived at (a very noisy) Pátio da Galé where I decided to resample some more Port & Tonic drinks! The food was small and sparce unfortunately and as the venue was so loud, networking was troublesome. But as the night continued, the drinks flowed and the dancing began!! All in all a long and busy day, and I knew I would need a slower start to day 2 – which is coming up in my next blog post!!

Paul Goddard - Agile Coach

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