CASCON was a lot of fun. Me and one of the other co-authors, Elizabeth, prepared the slide deck as well as some exercises for the participants to do. It was an interesting experience to take the material from the book and twist it this way to get a different results. Personally, what I liked about it was that it actually helped me clear up some things or find some additional pros/cons to add to the chapters during the final edit cycle. There’s nothing like having the material out there staring at you from a Powerpoint slide to get you realize the gaps in what you wrote. I suggested that we stop the editing process and put the entire book in PPT format before going any further… I got vetoed on that idea… Of course, I was just joking around when I made that suggestion.
For the workshop itself, it went very well overall. Matt, the other co-author of the book was just amazing to watch leading the exercises. He was so smooth and comfortable in his delivery and in how he led folks. I had never met him in person prior to this, but from the limited time that I saw, he must be a fun presenter as well when doing slides. Elizabeth and I went through the slides for folks. We had about twenty or so participants which I felt was just right. We ran for a tad over three hours when all was said and done and we got fairly good reviews from the participants. If any of you come by this site and read this, thank you for coming and participating! Your participation is what made the workshop work!
On a personal note, I had never met Elizabeth prior to this either. She’ll surely laugh if and when she reads this… But when we had breakfast together before the conference and were having a conversation, it felt almost surreal to me. I know her voice, I heard it very often in the last ten or eleven months in brainstorming sessions, in different meetings for the Scrum Community Leadership team and it was REALLY odd having here there in front of me. Who knows, maybe she found it a bit freaky as well!
Right after CASCON, I started getting involved in helping in the organization of an IBM internal agile conference and some labs were organizing local events with local speakers. I’m fairly isolated here and the closest location to me was Ottawa where originally nothing was planned… Well lo and behold, someone stepped up in Ottawa and decided to organize a local event, so someone put me in touch with the organizer. Originally, I had offered to drive down and help them facilitate, but when they said they did not have any local speakers, I offered to do a couple of talks based on content from the book. As an alternative, I also offered to do the Agile Planning in Real Life talk I had done in Montreal in May.
The last two weeks, every night was pretty much spent preparing those two talks. They were interested in the Agile Planning in Real Life talk, so I translated that one from French to English, but originally, that talk was only 22 slides from which I could talk about 1.5h on. I learned so much about writing this year, I decided maybe an upgrade of my presentation skills were in order as well, so instead of just translating, I used the french version as a rough draft and rebuilt the entire presentation from scratch. I like it SO MUCH more now than my original, I’m really proud of how it turned out to look, it looks a lot more professional and polished now as I also leveraged the knowledge I gained this year from writing the book to enhance the content. A word to the wise though… It takes a lot of time to prepare these at this level. As I plan to reuse this deck in the future, I probably will not post it on the web site for a while.
For the second talk I gave in Ottawa, I created a new deck on “Collaboration during a sprint”. Considering it took me a bit less than a week to put together, I’m happy with the presentation. But there’s a lot more text to this one right now, I will need to revisit it and make some tweaks to it in the future to make it stronger and focus the content a bit better. In the talk, I discuss a wide range of things from Language and Culture differences, team communication, daily scrums, handling new requests during a sprint and sustainable pace.
To break the suspense… Here are my impressions from the Ottawa talks… First of all, anyone that knows me well will always tell you I am rarely ever late, more often than not, I tend to be early when I need to be somewhere… Well, not today… Luck was not on my side, it was my first time at that site in Ottawa and I got caught in traffic coming in, then I got lost… I made it to the lab about ten minutes late… I was SO embarassed! Thankfully, the organizer had some donuts on site and they all got a good chuckle out of talking me to the site over the phone.
I think that the first of the two talks went really well, starting it was tough because I like to get used to the room before I start, so I’m usually there 15-20 minutes early… Today was more like getting in there, hooking myself up and starting cold… It was rough, but everyone in the room was very nice and I appreciated that they took the time out of their busy schedules to come listen to what I had to say.
The second talk, I have some regrets about. Looking back, I think I tried to pack WAY too much content into a 1h talk and I may have overloaded everyone. For anyone that was there today reading this, know that I was so psyched up about doing this talk, I did not realize how much content I was trying to deliver. And because the first talk lasted for 1.5h and was also chock full of stuff (mind you the pacing was much better), I think that it was a lot to absorb in a morning. I will revisit that talk in the coming weeks and streamline it for future use.
If you came to this site because I gave you the URL during the CASCON or Ottawa talks, I want to thank you very much for attending! It is a lot of work to prepare for these but it’s a lot of fun to have the opportunity to speak in front of people. I feel really honored when people take time out of their busy days to come see me talk, I hope that you got something out of them and I made them worth your while!