Two takeaway coffee cups and a pair of glasses

Reflections from Amsterdam: The Global Scrum Gathering 2023

Back in October, I attended the 3-day Global Scrum Gathering 2023 Amsterdam. It was truly a global gathering – 484 people attended, of which 178 for the first time. Speakers from 52 countries represented 48 countries.

The three days consisted of keynotes, talks and workshops on a whole range of areas related to agile practices and mind-set. 

Constellations as a Catalyst for Change

I was delighted to be chosen as one of the speakers at the Global Scrum Gathering 2023 Amsterdam. I created my session, entitled Constellations as a Catalyst for Change, with two outcomes in mind.

Constellations (and there are many styles) are a great way for a group of people to visualise their relationships and opinions without even having to speak. The session aimed to introduce one of these styles – informal constellations – to allow participants to experience sharing thoughts in a way that they may not have tried before. It also aimed to encourage the group to explore a topic around the Agile space – whether the world has a shared understanding of Agile – in a safe and inclusive way. 

Constellations as a Catalyst for Change session at the Global Scrum Gathering 2023 Amsterdam
Constellations as a Catalyst for Change session at the Global Scrum Gathering 2023 Amsterdam

The attendees had a range of experience, from never having heard of constellations before to having a reasonable understanding of how they work. By teaching the groups the steps we go through in the tool, and addressing questions about how to handle various scenarios including high emotions emerging, each participant was able to leave with an understanding of how they might use constellations as a tool in their own environment to delve into a deeper awareness of a topic with their teams. The attendee feedback scored the session at 4.7 out of 5, which truly pleased me.

The broad range of sessions 

With my own session completed, I was free to enjoy the remainder of the conference from the perspective of a participant. 

Artur Margonasi (with his ukulele)

One of the sessions I had very much been looking forward to joining was with Artur (plus ukulele). Artur always brings a new and playful perspective to Agile Coaching. There were many titbits of learning there. For example, “Little 4 o’clock”, a time of sharing a small article, cartoon or idea to a group to take a short break and reflect upon. Another idea that really interested me was the way in which Artur tracks the value of meetings with his teams.  He showed us his way of each person charting the value and frequency of a meeting, in order to make adjustments where needed. I love this idea of immediate and frank feedback, using inspect and adapt in such a simple and effective way.

Playfulness with Dana Pylayeva

Another great new idea was shared by Dana in her session on using playfulness. She introduced Triz, one of the Liberating Structures, which brings insights via ‘creative destruction’. By considering the worst outcomes, teams can reflect on what they are doing that is distractive, and how to adjust their behaviours. I really enjoyed the idea of taking a fun negative perspective and gaining learning in a different way.

READ: How a coaching strategy can help realise an organisation’s potential 

Think like a scientist with Elena Maksumova 

One of the most impactful sessions for me personally was Elena’s session on Thinking like a Scientist. She talked about how we are blind to our own blindness and how curiosity helps us to discover where we are wrong. The huge new awareness for me here was how I so often judge others – something I have been working hard to improve recently – and that the beginner’s mind and curiosity is the antidote to that judgement. This realisation created a powerful new perspective, for which I was extremely grateful.

Stay happy at work with Catherine Kraus

The last session I attended was run by Catherine, a fellow ORSC Coach with whom I had connected for the first time that week, having been introduced by a mutual friend. Her session focussed on happiness at work, a topic close to my heart, and reiterated for me the value of purpose, gratitude, mindfulness, interpersonal connections and kindness within our teams. 

Concluding thoughts

On reflection, the Global Scrum Gathering Amsterdam 2023 was a great experience. I came away with a number of ideas for things that I would like to try, or learn more about, including Liberating Structures, reflective coaching practice, business drivers for achieving success, and building curiosity over judgement. 

But one of the things that I enjoyed most about the Gathering was connecting with friends, old and new, and taking time out for personal discovery and learning. Simply having this creative learning space creates possibilities that we don’t always find in our working day. I very much look forward to the next Gathering! 

If you’d like to share your thoughts on the Conference or just want to chat with Christine, please get in touch.

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