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. I have lost track of the number of scrum gatherings I have attended over the years (since 2006 I think) but this one was particularly special after such a long time working remotely through the pandemic.

Sunday 16th October 2023 – Guides Retreat

The day immediately preceding the gathering itself is set up as a “guides retreat” which is set aside for Certified Scrum Trainers (CST) and Certified Scrum Coaches (CEC & CTC) to gather as a group and reconnect with peers, as well as interact with the Scrum Alliance leadership team and staff members. Historically these events have always been turbulent – as a group of hugely passionate and intelligent guides only get to formally meet with Scrum Alliance twice a year, and they usually have several challenging questions for the Scrum Alliance board members in attendance. This event introduced an(other) Scrum Alliance CEO – Tristan Boutros, how has an unenviable task of steering the Scrum Alliance ship forward.

As you can imagine, the questions flew at him from many angles but I respected the honesty of his responses. On first impressions he came across well as an astute operator with an appreciation of the value of our community. There was an open space in the afternoon for a variety of topics chosen by guides, but the majority of the interest was in Scrum Alliance direction and strategy throughout the day.

Personally for me, it was good to start reconnecting with Scrum Alliance staff and other guides at this event – some of which I have known for many years and hadn’t seen for a long, long time. I dished out post-COVID handshakes and hugs for many friends including: Lisa Reeder, Renee Myzk, Angie Stecovich, Erika Massie, Colin Bird, Matt Roadnight, Mark Summers, Jon Spruce, John MacFadyen, Karim Harbott, Richard Cheng, Arne Ahlander, Dot Tudor, Howie Bartip, Zak Mezaine, Jo Perold, Niels Verdonk and of course, everyone’s favourite comedy orc Nigel Baker. There are probably many more I have forgotten so apologies I missed you off! A special mention for a familiar face who popped up – Peter Hundermark – a scrum trainer and coach from South Africa who I have known since we stormed the hotel bar at the scrum gathering in Munich 2008 I believe!! Peter is now retired as a trainer but it was great to catch up with him again.

The day concluded with a drinks reception as gathering attendees started to appear and register for conference itself. The only drawback to getting alcoholic drinks in Portugal is the lack of West Country cider on tap! However… I did discover a nice drink as an alternative… white port and tonic! Very nice!

Stay tuned on my blog for day one of the gathering which will follow soon…

Paul Goddard - Agile Coach

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