The group was small (about 15 people), but I didn’t mind because it meant that everyone could get involved, and they all participated actively in our debates.
Agile and Scrum
For the first part of our discussion I used some slides from my popular Zen of Scrum presentation (viewed 19,000 times). We talked intensively about the problems of the Product Owner, how to embrace change when customers want promises, the effects of test-driven development on developer productivity, the position of the tester in distributed teams, and the position of the project manager compared to the various Scrum roles.
The third part of the discussion was about self-organizing teams, for which I used a few slides from The Dolt’s Guide to Self-Organization (viewed 14,000 times). We talked about boundaries and giving direction, the difference between self-organized vs. self-directed, teams that can select themselves, and how to use seven levels of authority to be more specific when you empower other people.
I commend Improve Quality Services for organizing these discussion nights with their employees. Competence development is a responsibility of both employers and employees. Though it is hard to measure the direct effects of a discussion night, I firmly believe that craftsmanship and professionalism start with the sharing of knowledge and ideas.