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2008 Chicago Scrum Gathering

  • Event

    Click here to download session slides.

    The Scrum Gathering is an opportunity for Scrum users of all experience levels to gather together to learn about and share experiences with Scrum. Topics for all levels of expertise are offered. The Gathering includes Open Space sessions where you can discuss timely topics with experts and peers in a small group setting. Join the Scrum community in a learning environment! 

    Detailed information about the program is available here.

    The following organizations are sponsoring the Chicago Scrum Gathering. Contact us for sponsorship information.

  • Details

    Date: 14-16 April, 2008
    Location: Chicago, IL, United States

    The Allerton Hotel
    701 N. Michigan Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60611 United States
    Get Directions

    Regular Price:

    Scrum Gathering Registration: SOLD OUT

  • Program

    Onsite registration opens: 10 a.m., Monday, April 14th

    General Sessions: Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning

    Banquet & Keynote Address: Monday evening

    Keynote Addresses: State Farm and Tuesday and Wednesday 

    Open Space: Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, session reports Wednesday afternoon

    Pre-Gathering Sessions: Monday morning - Scrum & Agile Basic Sessions for the Scrum novice

    Detailed information about the program is available here

    Program Overview

    The Chicago Scrum Gathering was held April 14-16, 2008.

    General Sessions were Monday, April 14 and Tuesday, April 15.

    An Open Space event was held April 15-16, 2008. 

    Conference materials are tagged in our resources section. They are also hyperlinked from the program below.

    Monday, April 14, 2008

    8 - 9 a.m.
    Registration for "Scrum and Agile Basics" morning sessions
    9 - 10 a.m.
    Scrum and Agile Basics Track 1
    Scrum and Agile Basics Track 2
    "Agile 101 - A Gentle Intro" presented by Chris Sims, Technical Management Instititute  "Visibility - The Name of the Game" presented by Danny Kovatch, CSP, Sela 
    10:15 - 11:15 a.m.  " A Scrum Coaching Case Study" presented by Peter Hundermark, CSP, CSC, SPRiNT-iT Africa "Writing User Stories for Your Product Backlog" presented by Mike Cohn, CST, Mountain Goat Software
    11 a.m.  General registration opens 
    11:30 - 1 p.m. 

    Opening Community Lunch

    "State of the Alliance" address presented by Jim Cundiff, Scrum Alliance Managing Director 

     General Sessions

      Scaling Scrum

      Scrum Leadership

     Scrum Skills

      Ingredients for Success

     Scrum Experiences

    1:30 - 3 p.m.

    "Scaling Scrum" presented by Mark Woyna, CSM, Chicago Board Options Exchange 

    "ScrumMaster - Org Change Agent - Mapping the Change Battlefield" presented by George Schlitz, CSP, BigVisible Solutions, Inc. and Giora Morein, CSP. 

      "Architecture in an Agile Organization" presented by Chris Sterling, CST, Solutions IQ

    "What Makes Agile Projects Succeed (or Fail)?"
    presented by Chris Sims, Technical Management Institute

    "Inspect & Adapt: Lessons Learned from an Enterprise Roll-out of Scrum" presented by Cheryl Neeser, CSM; Lonnie Weaver Johnson, CSM; Rod Hunter, CSM, Fidelity National Information Services

    3 - 3:30 p.m. Break
    3:30 - 5 p.m.

    "Lessons From the Battle Front" presented by Nimesh Soni, CSP; Jared Rakes, CSP, Liquidhub 

     "The Road from Project Manager to Agile Coach" presented by Lyssa Adkins, CSP

    "Drifting Toward Invisibility: The Transition to the Electronic Task Board" presented by Tom Perry, CSP, 

    "Using Ritual and Ceremony to Sustain Agility and Stave Off Process Fatique" presented by Michael Tardiff, CSM, Solutions IQ 


    7 - 9 p.m.


    Panel Discussion with Mike Cohn, Harvey Wheaton, Dan Rawsthorne, Ph.D.Tobias Mayer, and Tom Mellor

    (One ticket included in conference fee. Cost for additional Banquet ticket: $50.) Dress is business casual.

    Return to Event

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    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    8 - 9 a.m. Breakfast
     General Sessions

    Scaling Scrum

      Scrum Leadership

     Scrum Skills

      Ingredients for Success

     Scrum Experiences

    8:30 - 10:00 a.m.


    "The Scrum High Wire Act: Leadership for Scrum Teams" presented by Tom Perry, CSP, 

    "Complex Backlogs" presented by Dan Rawsthorne, Ph.D, CST, Danube Technologies, Inc. 

    "Applying Scrum for an In-House Software Project" presented by Pradyumn Sharma, CSM, Pragati Software Pvt Ltd

    "Applying Scrum on a Government Project in a Waterfall Organization" presented by Syed Rayhan, CSP, Nimat Haque, CSM, Code71; Christopher Linde, Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles  

    10:00 - 10:30 a.m. Morning break
    10:30 - 12:00 p.m.

    "Ambassador Model for Effectively Distributed Scrum Programs" presented by Giora Morein, CSP, George Schlitz, CSP, BigVisible Solutions 

    "Prioritizing Your Product Backlog" presented by Mike Cohn, CST, Mountain Goat Software 

    "User Experience and Scrum" presented by Matt Roadnight, CSM, Conchango 

    "Working Myself Out of a Job - The Effective ScrumMaster's Plight" presented by Chris Sterling, CST, Bryan Stallings, CST, Solutions IQ 

    "Scrum in Video Game Development" presented by Harvey Wheaton, CSM, Criterion Games, Electronic Arts

    12:00 - 1:30 p.m.


    Keynote presentation: "Navigating State Farm Through Its Agile Journey" by Tom Mellor, CSP, Scott Klein, CSM, Paul Zilmer, CSM, Stan Geison, State Farm Insurance

    2 - 6 p.m. Open Space event facilitated by Michael Herman
    5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

    Cocktail Reception for Gathering attendees hosted by the DRW Trading Group

    Buckingham Ballroom of The Allerton Hotel

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    Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    7 - 8:30 a.m. Breakfast
    8:30 - Noon.

    Open Space event facilitated by Michael Herman 

    12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch with "Scrum Updates" by Ken Schwaber, CST, Advanced Development Methods, Inc.
    1:30 - 3 p.m.  Open Space reports 
    3:30 - 5 p.m. 

    "The Year of Living Dangerously: Extraordinary Results for an Enterprise Agile Revolution

    by Steve Greene, CSM, and Chris Fry, CSM, 

    Return to Event

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    General Sessions are divided into five areas of interest or tracks, during Monday, April 14 and Tuesday, April 15 of the Gathering.

    The five Program tracks are:

    For those who are relatively new to Scrum and agile, pre-Gathering sessions are offered Monday morning, April 14. These sessions - Scrum & Agile Basics - provide a foundation of basic agile knowledge and vocabulary, preparing participants to get more value and understanding out of the rest of the conference.

    Return to Chicago Scrum Gathering page 

    Scaling Scrum track

    Monday, April 14, 1:30-3 p.m.
    “Scaling Scrum”
    Presenter: Mark Woyna, CSM, The Chicago Board Options Exchange

    The Chicago Board Options Exchange has been utilizing agile software development methods for over 8 years. From a single team utilizing Scrum, the organization has expanded its use to over 20 teams, and 150 developers. Working on a single core platform, CBOEdirect, the CBOE's state-of-the-art hybrid trading system, the organization typically deploys more than a dozen major releases every year.

    This presentation will cover the basics of CBOE's agile software develop methodology, including project initiation, planning, tracking, team structure, inter-team coordination, reporting, engineering practices, impediments, and lessons learned.

    Monday, April 14, 3:30-5 p.m.
    “Lessons from the Battle Front”
    Presenters: Nimesh Soni, CSP, and Jared Rakes, CSP, LiquidHub

    Both the presenters have been involved in Agile and Scrum implementation for software development at various organizations, including some of the largest mutual fund companies in the world. In this presentation, we would like to reflect on our collective experiences about Agile and Scrum implementations, discuss what are the challenges, and what opportunities we encountered. We will discuss various challenges such as getting buy-in from support organization/divisons (database group, environment groups,etc.), getting buy-in from senior management, matrixes requested versus needed, top-down approach versus bottom-up approach to widespread adoption of Agile and Scrum in an Enterprise.

    Tuesday, April 15, 9-10:30 a.m.
    “Scrum – Out of the Box, Unleashed Empowerment”
    Presenter: Michael Zwicker, CSP, Lockheed Martin, Florida

    What is Scrum? Let’s examine the question that many individuals ask. Scrum is… One of the Agile methodologies. An Agile process that can be used to manage and control (empirical control) complex software and product development using iterative, incremental practices. A useful framework to get started down an Agile path of producing products. From an Agile Product Development Architect’s perspective, Scrum is nothing more than an Agile Management Practice; a practice that can be laid over top of any set of product development practices.

    What makes what you’re about to hear worth listening to? It’s about how Scrum forced change (but good change) in the product development practices within a large company. Three ongoing product lines (of different sizes), multiple teams (some distributed), and different customers have shown us what inspect and adapt really means. It’s all about applying the Agile Principles; the common sense guidelines used in day-to-day decision making. Come get a real eye-opening view of a Scrum implementation. Shhh, don’t tell anyone, it’s our secret!

    Tuesday, April 15, 11-12:30 p.m.
    “Ambassador Model for Effectively Distributed Scrum Programs”
    Presenters: Giora Morein, CSP and George Schlitz, CSP, BigVisible Solutions

    A large east-coast financial services company was a year into a $30+ million Scrum program.  In an effort to explore the feasibility of scaling and distributing Scrum projects, the company contracted a “near-shore” team in Halifax Canada, and an “off-shore” team in Bangalore India. Both organizations were new to Scrum. Three months after establishing the global teams, the firm conducted a comprehensive assessment to determine the effectiveness of the teams. The results outline a remarkable success story. Participants reported high levels of quality and productivity as well as maintaining high levels of communication. Eighty-one percent (81%) of respondents reported that their overall experience on the Scrum project was either “Better” or “Much Better” than their experiences with off-shore projects in the past. Additionally, the findings indicate that individuals with greater experience with offshore projects, are more likely to rate Scrum offshore projects higher. The firm was successful in demonstrating that Agile off-shore teams yielded better results than its traditional teams.
    Today, off-shoring and distributing project teams are a business driver in most organizations.  As the world becomes increasingly "flat," organizations are seeking out operational and cost efficiencies by leveraging distributed teams. These distributed teams are a common constraint on most technology projects today.

    • Scrum projects must find a way to thrive in this environment.
    • There still exist persistent myths about Scrum and agile not being well-suited for distributed teams.
    • The Ambassador Model is a proven, effective approach to building distributed and off-shore Scrum teams.
    • Successfully implemented on a large-scale program with teams in Boston, Salt Lake City, India, and Canada.
    • Assessment conducted after 3-months showed 81% of participants described their experience on the off-shore/near-shore scrum project as "Better" or "Much Better" than their experience with traditional projects in the past.

    The team was able to demonstrate that not only can Scrum be used in distributed team environment, it in fact yielded better results than distributed project leveraging traditional plan-driven approaches.

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    Scrum Leadership track

    Monday, April 14, 1:30-3 p.m.
    “ScrumMaster – Org Change Agent – Mapping the Change Battlefield”
    Presenter: George Schlitz, CSP, BigVisible Solutions

    An often-overlooked aspect of a Scrum Master's responsibilities in organizations that are reasonably new to Agile is sustaining the change effort.  Scrum Masters are de facto change agents, and will have to deal with any number of barriers to change, such as:

    • Subversive middle managers
    • Change-averse team members
    • Role Identity crisis (traditional roles trying to find their fit in the new world order)
    • Desire to revert to comfortable old practices in the face of fear Old rules that must be reassessed and changed

    Since the majority of Scrum training does not cover change management, it is beneficial to Scrum Masters to have available some simple tools that can help them with this complex aspect of their role.  This presentation will propose 1 such tool, demonstrate real examples of its use, and propose a future direction to improve this capability.

    Every Scrum Introduction is an organizational change as much as it is a change in process.  Cultures of most organizations have evolved to deal with limitations that Agile negates, and as a result these cultures themselves must change to identify new rules to address new limitations.  Middle managers who have built careers on traditional processes will be threatened, and won't see a future for themselves.  Subversives will play politics while teams are busy executing.  What is the noble scrum master to do, as sole protector of the effort? 

    We will begin to explore one aspect of the change effort and introduce a basic tool to the Scrum Master's arsenal in hopes that it will aid her/him to head off these threats before it is too late.

    Monday, April 14, 3:30-5 p.m.
    “The Road from Project Manager to Agile Coach”
    Presenter: Lyssa Adkins, CSP

    So many things that contributed to my success as a Project Manager are exactly the same things that spell doom for an Agile team. Driving the team to outcomes. Coordinating the work of the team members. Using consensus as a hammer. Giving metrics to management that turned out to damage the team. If these sound remotely familiar to you, join me as I reveal my journey away from these "norms" and talk about the radical thoughts I had to get used to in order to build high-performing Agile teams.
    As I coach aspiring coaches, I see my PM-to-Coach struggle reflected in them again and again.  The role of Agile coach is so different - even counter - to the methods and mindsets many of us learned as PMI-project management professionals. What I want for the participants is that they are able to constructively reflect on their actions and thoughts as the Agile Coach. They then consider which of these contribute to building high-performing Agile teams and which do not.  Then, I plan to challenge them to visualize what would be different if they changed.

    The opening to the experience report may be a “shake up” to get people thinking in a different way about the role of Agile Coach. See an early version of some of this in my video on You Tube (only 4 minutes long):

    Tuesday, April 15, 9-10:30 a.m.
    “The Scrum High Wire Act: Leadership for Scrum Teams”
    Presenter: Tom Perry, CSP,

    Servant leadership can be one of the most challenging aspects of Scrum to adopt. All too often we find ourselves becoming either too "hands-off", too "in-control", or perhaps worst of all bouncing between the two. What can an aspiring servant leader do to bring confident leadership and clear vision without falling into the trap of trying to "Drive" the team?

    In this presentation, we will discuss just these issues, using examples and role playing to help illustrate strategies that help to establish leadership without compromising the team’s ability to self-organize.
    Attendees will gain a better understanding of how to lead Scrum teams without micromanaging them. They will come away with concrete examples of common situations that require tough leadership decisions within scrum teams and the leadership strategies that can be used to best manage them.

    Tuesday, April 15, 11-12:30 p.m.
    “Prioritizing Your Product Backlog”
    Presenter: Mike Cohn, CST, Mountain Goat Software

    The biggest risk to most projects is building the wrong product. Regardless of how fast your agile team becomes, how brilliant your technical solutions are, or how many automated tests run continuously, nothing matters if you’re building the wrong product. In this session we will look at both non-financial and financial ways of both prioritizing product backlog items and choosing among competing project ideas. Included are relative weighting, theme screening, theme scoring, Kano analysis, as well as financial measures such as return on investment (ROI), net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), and discounted cash flow. The techniques are easy, the concepts are powerful. You will return home with practical knowledge about how to apply these straight-forward techniques to prioritizing your product backlog.

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    Scrum Skills track

    Monday, April 14, 1:30-3 p.m.
    “Architecture in an Agile Organization”
    Presenter: Chris Sterling, CST, Solutions IQ

    As teams and organizations learn about, try out, and adopt Scrum they have concerns about how good software architecture will be developed with self-organizing teams.  Software architecture may also be a term which is not well understood by people involved in software development yet they are aware of the importance software architecture plays in creating maintainable systems.  This presentation will explain what architecture is, why it is important, how it is supported on good teams, and discuss management of enterprise architecture planning.
    Software architecture tends not to be well understood in software organizations, Agile and non-Agile alike.  Teams have difficulty discussing non-functional requirements with Product Owners.  Priority of potentially risky architecture components are lessened until it comes time to or after the release.  Attendees will learn about specific business goals for architecture, how to configure teams for support of architecture concerns, and ways to describe non-functional requirements value to Product Owners.

    Monday, April 14, 3:30-5 p.m.
    “Drifting Toward Invisibility: The Transition to the Electronic Task Board”
    Presenters: Tom Perry, CSP,

    The task board, that seemingly innocuous artifact of the standup meeting, is perhaps one of the most important physical tools that the team has at its disposal. When teams make the transition to electronic tools, often many of these physical information radiators go away. This can cause unintended problems for teams. They are not insurmountable, but teams should be aware of the potential issues. For example:

    1. Team stand up meetings - often when the team switches to electronic tools, they no longer have the stories and tasks on a board in front of them during the meeting. As a result, they tend to lose focus during the meeting.
    2. A physical task board is a very useful information radiator - often that information is no longer displayed prominently when the team switches to electronics. The casual passer by loses their visibility into the team’s status.

    These are just some of the examples of teams losing transparency when they switch tools. In this experience report, the intent is to share the awareness of the problems teams can encounter with transparency if they do not manage the transition to electronic tools well. The implications for Agile development teams are discussed along with the strengths and weaknesses of the tools used.

    Tuesday, April 15, 9-10:30 a.m.
    “Complex Backlogs”
    Presenter: Dan Rawsthorne, Ph.D, CST, Danube Technologies

    A team’s backlog is normally thought of as a simple list of stories. For larger teams, like Organizations or Programs, it’s not that simple.

    These "large" team’s backlogs consist of all the backlogs of all their sub- teams, and they need the backlog to tell a story. They need to know what their money is being spent on, who’s spending it, how to categorize their spending, how efficiently it’s being spent, and so on. This means there must be some sort of structure to these big teams’ backlogs.

    In this talk we introduce a simple solution to this problem, called "groups", which are collections of stories (and sub-groups) that belong to different teams. This concept is illustrated with simple examples, and the participant leaves with a better understanding of the complexities of large backlogs, and another tool in their toolbox to manage them.

    Tuesday, April 15, 11-12:30 p.m.
    “User Experience and Scrum”
    Presenters: Matt Roadnight, CSM, Conchango Ltd.

    The nature of User Experience means that a holistic approach needs to be taken in order to consider overall User Experience, Digital Experience Design and the definition of Information Architectures.

    User Interface design and branding has traditionally been a process that is conducted between the Marketing / eCommerce and a Design Agency who may have little or no technical expertise.  Once that process has been completed these designs are then “handed” to a development team to implement.

    Decisions made during that process or after the “hand off” can have a significant impact on the effort required to develop a solution or in some cases may not be technically possible, those decisions may have a significant impact on realizing business benefit, positive or negative.

    Bringing these areas together using Scrum has it challenges.  As an organization we are recognized by Forrester as a world leader in both User Experience Design and Agile development, as such we have tried a number of approaches to solving contentions and bringing harmony to user experience design and technical implementation through a number of Agile projects.

    This session will outline how we approach user experience and explore the issues, highlight problem areas and provide approaches that we have found address the common issues when used on Agile projects. 


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    Ingredients for Success track

    Monday, April 14, 1:30-3 p.m.
    “What Makes Agile Projects Succeed (or Fail)?”
    Presenter: Chris Sims, Technical Management Institute

    "Our project succeeded because we..." "Our project failed because we didn't..."

    Have you been involved in an agile project? Was it a success or a failure? Why? Come share your experience and tap into the collective wisdom that will be present. We are going to compile a list of the most important ingredients for success.

    We will use the Nominal Group Technique (NGT) to gather up the group's experiences and ideas. NGT works faster than traditional brainstorming, yet generates more complete and higher quality results. Next we will identify the factors that have had the biggest impact using DOTS, a technique that efficiently harnesses the collective wisdom of the group, while avoiding groupthink.

    You will walk out with a better understanding of what makes agile projects succeed, as well as how to use NGT and DOTS to tap into the wisdom and knowledge of a group. This session is 100% real-world practical experience, no theory and no presenter bias.  Participants will discover the most important factors for making their agile projects succeed, based on the collective experience of all present.

    Monday, April 14, 3:30-5 p.m.
    “Using Ritual and Ceremony to Sustain Agility and Stave Off Process Fatigue”
    Presenters: Michael Tardiff, CSM, Solutions IQ

    Agile methods like Scrum involve repetitive meetings and actions that can, over time, become routine and lose some of the freshness, challenge and novelty that they offer a team that's just starting out. How do we put "heart" into agile processes? How can team leaders and members inject variety or even whimsy into what they do every day? What are effective ways to "punctuate" agile routines and practices? And for heaven's sake, what exactly is "Haiku-Driven Development (HDD)?

    In this presentation, we'll explore how agile teams can avoid having these essential routines become, well, routine. We'll draw on actual experiences with teams practicing XP, Scrum, and combinations thereof, and provide examples of how teams avoided having agile processes become more albatross than aid. And most importantly, we'll talk about how your teams have met these challenges -- or suggest ways you can help them start discovering their own solutions.

    Tuesday, April 15, 9-10:30 a.m.
    “Applying Scrum for an In-House Software Project”
    Presenter: Pradyumn Sharma, CSM, Pragati Software Pvt Ltd

    We applied Scrum and XP for a large, in-house software project in my organization, Pragati Software Pvt Ltd ( The application was a mini-ERP, consisting of many modules, including CRM, training operations tracking, workflow management, financial accounting. We faced many initial difficulties, including resistance from various people, but eventually managed to apply the practices of Scrum (as well as XP) to a fairly good extent, and reaped significant benefits in productivity, quality, team morale, customer value, etc.

    Some really noteworthy achievements:

    • Incremental evolution of architecture, no up-front architecture
    • Real deployment at the end of each sprint
    • Very high sense of responsibility and accountability exhibited by the development team
    • On-going education of the user community within the organization about Scrum practices (for example, why no changes would be accepted in the middle of a Sprint)
    • Steady improvement in quality of software, productivity, accuracy of estimations, etc.
    • Influence on overall organizational way of working, including strategic and operational decision-making outside the purview of the software project

    A lot of real experience gained by us by adopting and adapting Scrum and XP would be valuable to other organizations as well. This being an in-house software development project, there were unique opportunities and advantages on one hand, but there were also unique challenges in terms of the end-user expectations, temptations to change the scope in the middle of a Sprint, impact on organizational culture, etc.

    Gradually, as the challenges and obstacles were overcome, the whole organization, not just the software team, got a lot of benefits, new ways of thinking, new ways of time management, new ways of managing the goals, etc. It has been a very enriching experience for us as an organization, and we believe that Scrum, when viewed as a set of management practices, not just as a set of software development practices, can yield great results for an organization.

    Tuesday, April 15, 11-12:30 p.m.
    “Working Myself Out of a Job – The Effective ScrumMaster’s Plight”
    Presenters: Chris Sterling, CST, and Bryan Stallings, CST, Solutions IQ

    Once the meetings are done and the artifacts are updated, many ScrumMasters believe that they have fulfilled the expectations of their role. These individuals may not understand the degree to which a Scrum team can develop beyond those basics.

    This session will discuss techniques for servant leadership and continuous improvement that a ScrumMaster can leverage in their support of a team. Some topics that will be covered:

    • Driving increases in velocity through the removal of impediments
    • Enhancing the morale and engagement of team members
    • Strengthening trust with Product Owner through increased transparency
    • Identifying and removing waste and inefficiency
    • Enabling a team to be self-organizing, autonomous, cross-fertilizing, and self-transcendent.

    Leveraging these areas of focus, a ScrumMaster should be able to create a “Personal Backlog” of items to enhance a team’s agility. A ScrumMaster can then commit and deliver on this backlog in an effort to “work themselves out of a job” by enabling the self-organizing team.

    Process/Mechanics of this session: The workshop will begin with scenarios incorporating the personas of Barbara, the Agile Coach, and Ken, the eager ScrumMaster. Throughout the workshop, the participants will be engaged in brief exercises and small group discussions related to the circumstances in the unfolding scenario.

    For example, session participants will be asked to consider: - How can we help teams increase velocity significantly?

    • How do we set up an environment in which teams feel empowered to succeed?
    • What are some ways in which a team can arrive at a greater sense of ownership?
    • What items should be put into Ken’s Personal Backlog?


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    Scrum Experiences track

    Monday, April 14, 1:30-3 p.m.
    “Inspect and Adapt: Lessons Learned from an Enterprise Roll-out of Scrum”
    Presenters: Cheryl Neeser, CSM; Lonnie Weaver Johnson, CSM; Rod Hunter, CSM, Fidelity National Information Services

    Many would agree that strong executive support along with training, coaching and communication are essential components of any Scrum implementation. What other pieces of the puzzle shouldn’t be forgotten to help pave the way to a successful Organizational Change Management program?  

    Two years and $1M later, what critical lessons were learned and what tactics and strategies were applied during Tailspin’senterprise roll-out of Scrum. This presentation covers the structure and milestones of one enterprise’s Scrum implementation.  

    Highlights include:

    • Strategies and goals-based activities
    • Major components and sub-projects
    • What worked well and what didn’t
    • The obstacles overcome and the boulders that still lay in the pathway  
    • Advice that we have to offer to those attempting a similar broad agenda 
    • What would we do differently if we could do it over again

    Monday, April 14, 3:30-5 p.m.
    “The Scrum Journey: A Story of Cultural and Organizational Change”
    Presenters: Chris Spagnuolo, CSM; UG Vishwaneth, CSM; Trey Fragala, Data Transfer Solutions

    This presentation will examine an organization’s Scrum journey from several different points of view.  It will start with the acquisition of an agile development team that was well versed in Scrum.  We will then explore the educational process of informing the organization of the benefits and advantages of Scrum.
    We will move on to discuss the organization’s commitment to make the cultural and organizational changes necessary to promote Scrum on an enterprise level. From here we will review the changes to the developer’s toolkit and work environment which helped make our implementation successful. We will conclude with a general discussion of the progress the organization has made to date in their adoption of Scrum.

    The presentation will be delivered from several points of view by various members of the organization including either the CEO or COO, a senior project manager, a lead software architect and a software developer.  This should provide a rounded view of the Scrum adoption experience across the organization.
    We often hear agile and Scrum adoption stories from a single point of view.  They are often detached and clinical in their description of the adoption process.  We believe that providing a real world story of an organizations Scrum adoption in personal terms will be both informative and inspiring to new Scrum teams as well as experienced Scrum teams.  We think that having multiple presenters from different levels within the organization will provide a complete picture of what a Scrum adoption at an enterprise scale really looks like.  Attendees should gain a deeper understanding of what it really takes to implement enterprise Scrum and the cultural, organizational and technical changes that are necessary to promote agile practices.

    Tuesday, April 15, 9-10:30 a.m.
    “Applying Scrum on a Government Project in a Waterfall Organization”
    Presenters: Syed Rayhan, CSP and Nimat Haque, CSM, Code71; Christopher Linde, Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles

    TREDS project is following Scrum methodology in an environment attuned to slow waterfall development.

    Among the many challenges associated with the development of TREDS are managing dependencies on external projects, adopting new technology, and coordinating work across multiple organizations. The primary performing agency is DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles of Virginia). The IT culture at the DMV is deeply rooted in the traditional waterfall without any defined processes. The Team is green in terms of working in an iterative incremental software development life cycle. However progress is accelerating as the team adjusts and performs in this structure.  

    We will share our progress in applying Scrum on TREDS project. We will present how we transitioned to using Scrum, and how we are continuing to bridge the two worlds-- Scrum and waterfall. We will have a candid look at what is working, what is not working, and how we have adjusted to succeed moving forward.

    Tuesday, April 15, 11-12:30 p.m.
    “Scrum in Video Game Development”
    Presenters: Harvey Wheaton, CSM, Criterion Games, Electronic Arts

    The quality of audio and visual presentation demanded in many different software projects is rising significantly. As this bar raises, teams will have to deal with some of the issues seen in video games today.

    Details of the specific problems encountered in rolling out Scrum to a heavily mixed discipline team with a very intangible or subject definition of what “done” is or what is fun. How we have evolved our thinking and approach in dealing with these problems, and an outline of the approaches tried.

    We don’t have perfect solutions; getting attendee feedback and ideas as part of a discussion or brainstorm about possible solutions for these outstanding issues is part of the plan for the presentation.


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    Scrum & Agile Basics sessions

    These pre-Gathering morning sessions, held Monday, April 14, are perfect for those new to agile and Scrum. These sessions builds a foundation of basic agile knowledge and vocabulary, preparing participants to get more value and understanding out of the rest of the conference.

    Monday, April 14, 2008, 9-10 a.m.
    “Agile 101 – A Gentle Introduction”
    Presenter: Chris Sims, Technical Management Institute, California

    Business wants valuable software delivered to market quickly. Developers want to craft quality code that they can be proud of. Everyone wants more gain and less pain. Agile methods promise to deliver all of this. Is it possible? Or is 'Agile' just another fake silver bullet?

    This workshop examines agile methods, uncovering how, why, and when they work. We will avoid the preachy and focus on the practical, sharing stories and lessons from real projects. You will hear what worked and what didn't.

    Participants will walk out of this class with an understanding of what agile methods are and will be prepared to evaluate how agile principles and practices might fit into their existing environment in order to:

    • Decrease time to market
    • Increase quality
    • Increase responsiveness to changing business needs
    • Decrease risk
    • Improve morale and retention

    Monday, April 14, 2008, 10:15-11:15 a.m.
    “ A Scrum Coaching Case Study”
    Presenter: Peter Hundermark, CSP, CSC, SPRiNT-iT Africa

    This is a case study on my recent coaching experiences with "new media" company in Cape Town, South Africa. Neil Schwartzman, Program Manager at, and I have collaborated on transitioning his organization from waterfall to Scrum. Over an eight-week period we have launched 3 teams, run 6 sprints and the first new product releases are live. Neil has learned to run internal Scrum training, making largely self-sufficient. Several people will attend CSM and other training to round off this high intensity intervention.

    We documented our progress and took some photos along the way. We'll present some interviews with role payers and stakeholders as part of the live presentation.

    I love to learn from case studies and the experience of others. For example the Prima Vera white paper was a source of inspiration to me in my first months of trying to get to grips with practicing Scrum. I believe that other Scrum practitioners share this view and there is a general hunger to hear other people's war stories. This is reinforced by the wide readership of Henrik Kniberg's "Scrum and XP from the Trenches". The paper may also offer a re-usable pattern for implementing Scrum in (at least some) organizations - if such a notion can be considered compatible with agile philosophy.

    Monday, April 14, 2008, 9-10 a.m.
    “Visibility – The Name of the Game”
    Presenter: Danny Kovatch, CSP, Sela

    Visibility is one of the core values of Scrum and visibility charts are the way of creating this visibility to all. Nevertheless, there are a lot of ways to show the status of a Scrum team. Attending this session, the attendees will learn about the visibility charts that create overall visibility, we will go over each visibility chart and present who should fill it and its relevant target audience thus the attendees will be able to implement what was presented immediately after this session.

    This presentation will be focusing on the importance and power of being transparent to everyone thus creating full visibility to all. I will present the classic burn down chart and its permutations, the task board, advanced capacity charts, visual chart, challenge chart and product burn down chart.  The presentation will include sample of real visibility charts used in Europe and Israel accompanied by the advantages of each chart. In addition, I will demonstrate the ability of the audience (after a quick training) to understand complex charts in a snap and we will do a drill in order to emphasize it.

    Monday, April 14, 2008, 10:15-11:15 a.m.
    “Writing User Stories for Your Product Backlog”
    Presenter: Mike Cohn, CST, Mountain Goat Software

    The technique of expressing requirements as user stories is one of the most broadly applicable techniques introduced by the agile processes. User stories are an effective approach on all time constrained projects and are a great way to begin introducing a bit of agility to your projects. In this session, we will look at how to identify and write good user stories. The class will describe the six attributes that good stories should exhibit and present thirteen guidelines for writing better stories. We will explore how user role modeling can help when gathering a project’s initial stories.


    Keynote Presentations

    Monday, April 14, 2008, 7-9 p.m.
    “Scrum Update"
    Presenter: Ken Schwaber, CST, Advanced Development Methods

    Ken will offer tips for CSMs on how to keep Scrum Scrum, and prevent the iterative, incremental death march from happening to you and your organization.


    Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
    “Navigating State Farm Through Its Agile Journey”
    Presenters: Tom Mellor, CSP, and Scott Klein, CSM, Paul Zilmer, CSM, Stan Geison, State Farm Insurance

    Organizations in highly regulated industries, such as banking and insurance, can effectively realize efficiencies and other benefits of agile development processes. The challenge for these businesses, especially large ones, is figuring out how to fit agile processes within the highly prescriptive process, administration and accountability stystems that typically characterize companies subject to rigorous regulation. Other impediments also confront these businesses including conventionally stoic organizational cultures, matrix reporting and people allocation structures, highly specialized people roles oriented toward traditional development, and processes orginally built and maintained to support serial development. ScrumMaster Scott Klein and Scrum Practitioner Tom Mellor will share and discuss experiences and lessons learned in applying Scrum in a Fortune 50 enterprise over the last four years, and with substantial success! They will also explore their organization's strategies for the present and future to more broadly embrace and adopt agile practices and techniques based primarily upon Scrum. 


    Wednesday, April 14, 2008, 3:30-5 p.m.
    “The Year of Living Dangerously”
    Presenters: Steve Greene, CSM, and Chris Fry, Ph.D, CSM, 


    Many software organizations today ask “How do we make an agile transformation and what benefit will we get?”  Should you transition your organization to agile all at once or proceed more iteratively, team by team?  This talk describes's year of living dangerously where we moved our entire R&D organization to an agile model. The key difference in our approach was to throw the switch on 30 teams all at once. Most agile experts thought this was a crazy approach, however, in the end our transition became one of the fastest and largest agile transitions. In just 3 short months we moved our entire team from a waterfall-based approach to an iterative, Scrum based methodology we’ve named ADM (Adaptive Development Methodology). Over the course of the year we have refined and measured our progress and learned many lessons. This approach was a great risk for the organization that has ultimately delivered dramatic results and extraordinary business value.

    Our methodology combines both Scrum based project management and XP style continuous integration practices. Our Technology team uses this methodology to regularly deliver 3 to 4 major releases a year to over 41,000 customers via more than 140 million transactions per day.  We will present our approach to the agile transition, the business value that we have achieved and the results of our team-wide survey sampled every quarter.  If you are still in the midst of or are starting a large, multi-year agile transition, you may want to consider going "all in" after this talk.

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  • Sponsors

    The following organizations are sponsoring the Chicago Scrum Gathering:

    Version One 

    Version One is an Atlanta-based provider of enterprise project and lifecycle management solutions for agile development. VersionOne helps companies simplify the process of delivering software. By offering powerful, easy-to-use planning and management tools, VersionOne enables:

    • Faster delivery cycles,
    • Greater business adaptability,
    • Reduced project risk, and
    • Enhanced project visibility and predictability.

    Rapid return on investment drives today's business decisions, leaving traditional methodologies scrambling to address current business dynamics. VersionOne's agile project management tool offers flexibility and integrated support for next-generation software development methodologies which helps deliver the competitive advantage leading-edge technology organizations need to survive in today's markets.


    DRW Trading 

    The DRW Trading Group is a global proprietary trading organization based in Chicago, Illinois. We create proprietary trading systems for use by our traders in the world’s fastest electronic markets.

    As the financial markets move to electronic platforms, algorithmic trading becomes more competitive and challenging. With rapidly shifting opportunities, it is vital that we maintain and expand a software development team that manages complexity and embraces change while delivering an uncompromising level of quality.

    DRW is hiring for roles in software development and project management. We offer an agile environment where excellence is the norm. Look for our current opportunities at


    oobeya group 

    oobeya group helps organizations understand and put to practice advanced management and development techniques ranging from TQM to Agile to Lean. We are passionate about improvement and have experienced the range of approaches to organizational transition, including up front methods such as ISO and CMM and adaptive methods that we now call Agile. Transcending these approaches and the spectrum in between is the necessity to view organizations, teams, individuals, markets, projects and processes as ongoing flows, not static things or events. Our services have been developed to assist organizations make the transition to successful use of these principles and practices.


    CIBER, Inc.

    With roots in providing application development services to clients since 1974, CIBER, (NYSE: CBR) is a proud sponsor of the Scrum Spring Gathering, and an avid supporter of the Agile movement. Now a $1 billion company with 8,000 employees in 92 offices worldwide (including 60 U.S. offices), CIBER continues to collaborate with clients to design, build, integrate, and support IT solutions that drive results and provide enduring value.
    Our services support the entire IT lifecycle and include:

    • Custom Application Development
    • ERP Implementation
    • Project Management
    • Systems Integration
    • Application Outsourcing

    Learn more at or 800-242-3799.


    3Back, LLC 

    Based in Chicago, 3Back believes in human-powered methodologies for developing complex products and solutions.  Our focus is helping teams apply their effort more effectively and efficiently.  We use practices from the development pathways (Scrum, Lean, Agile etc.), emphasis is on the importance of engaging the human side of the equation – The Team.

    Our service delivery model is distinguished by a very sophisticated (Adaptive and Applied), Fly Wheel Strategy that leverages multiple touch points to spin up energy and stimulate results-driven behaviors that optimize how the team thinks, and how successes materialize:  Starting/Transitioning at Scale, and On Demand Coaching & Mentoring.



    Contact us to obtain more information about sponsoring the 2008 Scrum Gathering.  

  • Venue

    The Chicago Scrum Gathering was held at the historic Allerton Hotel. Click here for more information about the Allerton, and for travel information.

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