Nov 20 WALTHAM: The 4th Annual GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM Event !

GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM is the uniquely BOSTON Agile event.

Artifacts from Give Thanks for Scrum 2012:

Jeff Sutherland’s presentation: “Scrum: The Future of Work”

Mario Moreira’s presentation: “Getting the Most from the Sprint Review”


No other city in the world can do it. Boston is the BIRTHPLACE of Scrum, because it is the home of Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, the formulators of Scrum.

To get an idea of how significant and unique this event is, you must examine the past events. Click here to see pictures and the goings-on from the 2011 GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM event. Lunch is included in the price of your ticket.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012






09:30-10:00am DOORS OPEN… check in, socialize

10:00-10:30am OPENING REMARKS from Daniel Mezick

10:30-10:45am BREAK & Social Blending (strict 15-min timebox)

10:45-11:30am J E F F   S U T H E R L A N D session

11:30-01:00pm LUNCH, Games & Socializing. LIVE MUSIC with Jamie Gaull

01:00-01:45pm MARIO MOREIRA: Getting the Most from the Sprint Review

01:45-02:00pm BREAK & Social Blending (strict 15-min timebox)

02:00-02:45pm K E N   S C H W A B E R   session

02:45-03:00pm BREAK & Social Blending Behavior (strict 15-min timebox)

03:00-04:15pm KEN & JEFF: Surprising questions and surprising answers on Scrum

04:15-4:45PM– THE CLOSING: Dan Mezick closing remarks. Raffle, then end-of-event socializing and…

04:45-05:00 pm – DONE



Corporate Office Park
200 West Street
Waltham, MA 02451

Note: NOT at Microsoft location on Jones Rd.

The event room is located on the 1st floor. Enter the building. Take the hallway to the left. Walk past the elevators. The door to the event room will be on your right before the restrooms.


POWER OF SCRUM and SOFTWARE IN 30 DAYS Book Signing with Jeff & Ken:

Jeff & Ken will be signing their books at the event. You can bring the one you have, or buy one inexpensively at the event using cash, check or credit card. Jeff and Ken will be signing books at various points in time throughout the day, during lunch and the breaks




But Wait: There’s more: Even MORE Cool Stuff Happening at Lunch

Heang Ly on Beyond IcebreakersAt lunch, we have some LIVE MUSIC from local Jamie Gaull, and we also have some structured group games and interactives that focus on gaining deeper insight and mastery of self-organizing team concepts, team dynamics, social complexity science and more. We have structured interactions expert Heang Ly of TeenEmpowerment of Boston as our Facilitator. Heang will open and hold space for these activities and interactives during some of the 90 minutes we have set aside for the lunch break. We’ll be using experience designs from the MOVING BEYOND ICEBREAKERS book to cook up some group fun via group play. No worries: All lunchtime group activities are optional and opt-in!! Learn more about MOVING BEYOND ICEBREAKERS here.




Live Music:

Agile Boston is pleased to announce that Jamie Gaull of LeapFrog Systems will perform classic rock and acoustic rock and roll tunes during lunch. He’s an Agile guy by day that plays in bars and clubs by night. You can use these links to listen to sample tunes, check out pictures, and visit the Plan B web site. We welcome Jamie Gaull.


THIS EVENT PROMISES TO BE A GREAT ONE. Seating is limited to just 120!!




The Thanksgiving Tradition in Boston: Give Thanks for Scrum, Q&A on Scrum with Jeff & Ken

Time to honor the tribal elders of Scrum, Boston natives both, Jeff Sutherland (Somerville, MA) and Ken Schwaber (Lexington, MA). We can thank Ken and Jeff for formulating Scrum right under our noses here in Boston. That formulation went on to be adopted throughout the world, changing the working lives of many people for the better. And so, each year here in Boston, we GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM.




There’s only a few places in the world you can capture a picture like this one:

Tribal Elders, passing the buck

Boston is one of these places. Where else can you get a picture of Jeff and Ken doing Q&A like this?

This year, you can  expect great sessions, great food, some live music, and a great day of socializing and learning about Scrum here in Boston. Seating is limited this year, to keep the quality of the experience high. Tickets go up in price as they are purchased, when about 150 tickets are sold, that’s it. No more seats. If you want to attend, hop on now. Don’t worry, we have a fantastic program planned.

You get THREE HOURS of Jeff and Ken at this event !

The Sessions:

Ken Schwaber: Transparency and Opacity

Give thanks for Scrum. Give thanks for all the people who are working to make software development a better profession that creates better products, has more satisfied customers, and is a place in which we look forward to working. It has been a continuous effort, year by year. We are doing better and we are moving toward our goals.

Jeff Sutherland: Scrum: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Scrum has been around for almost two decades, and has evolved, changed, and grown in those years, but its core insights and ideas have remained the same. We will take a look back at the origins of Scrum, explore how those early ideas continue to drive Scrum, expand on the current game changing moment, and look at future promise.

Mario Moreira: Getting the most from the Sprint Review (i.e., Customer Validation)

One of the key aspects of the inspect-and-adapt model in Scrum is gaining the valuable customer feedback in the form of the Sprint Review and other validation activities. Teams often struggle with how to build validation that gains optimal feedback to ensure that by the time they release, they are actually building something the customer wants.   Questions arise as teams implement this practice: how do we know which customers to invite; do we treat potential customers the same as existing customers; do we conduct one sprint review for all customers (or more than one); what do we do when we have no customers yet; what do we do when we have hundreds (or thousands) or customers; what other validation activities should we consider. The answers to these questions and more will be discussed so you can craft an approach that will help you can gain the most from your validation activities.

Dan Mezick: News and Views (AM and PM)

Daniel MezickDan facilitates the GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM event, covering recent significant events, the current state of Agile practice, and the likely future of Scrum during the brief opening an closing remarks in the morning and afternoon.



Agile Inherits CultureHack

Ok, let’s define culturehacking: here is a definition offered by Jim McCarthy, which is listed in the List of CultureGaming Lingo:
Culture hacking is cultural design that does one or more of the following in notable, admirable ways:




  1. Respects/promotes/extends personal freedoms
  2. Increases personal/group democratic power
  3. Protects personal, psychological, and/or creative safety
  4. Improves the world and/or sets it on a course of continuous improvement
  5. Subverts illegitimate authority
  6. Is especially admirable for one or more of its elegance, cleverness, beauty, efficacy, humor, and other design values of its implementation.

We can see that all of Agile complies with this definition for the most part. Agile is simply a specific kind of culture hack focused on software teams.

The Agile class inherits the CultureHacking class

OK, here is a description of the relationship between Culture Hacking and Agile, in the language of computer programming.  If you are a programmer, I am going to talk to dirty to you now. (Disclosure: To really get aroused by what I am about to say, you have to be an object-oriented programmer…)

If CultureHacking is an inheritable Class in the programming sense, the Agile Class directly inherits from it. That means Agile has all the functionality of the CultureHacking class, and more. And, if permissible, it may override some of the standard behaviors of the CultureHacking class with “custom code”.

Agile is a Culture Hack. And that is all it is. Agile inherits CultureHacking. The CultureHacking class is actually an inherit-only, non-instance-able, abstract class.

Practices Change, Principles Don’t

“Practices change, principles don’t.” This is a saying I picked up from Traci Fenton of WorldBLU when I interviewing her by phone last year. Since that time I have come to internalize this saying and use it for guidance when coaching executives and teams.

The Agile community isn’t calling this out and really leveraging the idea. The Agile Manifesto has 12 principles. They appear as an additional page, after the values. You have to click through to see them. I’m not sure how many people know about these 12 principles.

Here is an enlightened blog post from Joshua Kerievsky which makes good sense to me. In this post he advocates dropping the use of story points and velocity in Agile work. For mature teams, this is probably OK. Now, what’s interesting about these two practices is that they really do not directly support much of the Manifesto principles at all. See it? In addition, Josh calls out how making his adjustment does support one of the Manifesto 12:

“…Using the new process, we shipped (on average) 1-2 times per week. Our agility had increased by removing once-sacred pieces from our process. We were now even better at delivering on the promise of the Agile Manifesto’s first principle:”

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

These 12 principles supply enough guidance to build a team that can learn and adapt. In my book The Culture Game, I explain this. These 12 principles are so good and complete, you can use almost any practice that does not violate these 12 ideas, and be OK. If you map Scrum to the Agile Manifesto, it is clear that Scrum is not violating any of these principles.

Likewise, you can institute ANY practice and so long as you are in alignment with these 12 principles from the Agile Manifesto, you are going to be OK. People learning to learn a a group need something like Scrum to start. After experiencing Scrum and internalizing some of the 12 Manifesto principles, teams can try all kinds of things. They may find Scrum ws better than they thought, or they may develop a higher level of group functioning that includes “Examining What’s Normal”, something I devote a complete chapter to in The Culture Game book.

The point here is simple: it’s not whether Scrum or Kanban is better. Or whether iterations or continuous flow is better.

What matters is that you tie your practices BACK to the 12 Manifesto principles, because alignment with them makes your team much smarter. You can use any practice at any time and be OK if you do this. So, when evaluating your practices, or discussing them, be specific about how they do (or do not) align with the 12 Principles of the Agile Manifesto.

“Practices change, principles don’t.” – Traci Fenton,