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Agile Stories or Building Communities with Your Competitors

29 Jan 2019

There’s a thin line between this being a generic post on how cordial we are with our direct competitors and a genuine recount of events that left us with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Let’s stick to the latter. We’ve applied to participate in the first official Agile Stories meetup and came back with the following to report:

It was wonderful.

The event was set up by fellow Agile Scrum Masters from A51 and Codecentric - Igor Rajnjak and Marija Gobović, respectively. While certainly not the first of its kind, instead of dry presentations, Agile Stories focuses on bringing the community together for the mutual effort to learn and share knowledge among Agile enthusiasts. After a warm welcome and a short introductory speech and we were left to our own devices.

agile stories scrum workshop

The entire discourse was conducted in a world cafe method - placing up to seven individuals at one of the four desks, each with a topic that we’ve all previously voted on. Each desk had a chosen facilitator who would remain at the desk while everyone switched every 15 minutes and their job was to moderate the fast-paced discussions and compress them into 5-minute presentations at the very end.

agile conference gathering

That seems to be the overall theme of Agile Stories – it’s up to the individuals to contribute and learn from unfamiliar faces, a place where the comfort zone is tossed away in favor of knowledge as an objective currency. Anyone can contribute because the hardships are universal and relatable, while the antidotes are unique recipes (and some are tastier than others).

listening to agile scrum presentation

And oh boy did we contribute – each desk was overflowing with information and Agile methods on various levels: some had merely heard about it and shared their current impediments, while more experienced Agilists offered valuable information on do’s and, most importantly, don’ts based on their own mistakes.

That’s when I’ve had the epiphany. Our desk was occupied by colleagues from both my current and previous work, opposing interest fields, those you could, with some liberty, call our direct competitors, but that didn’t influence a single word uttered during conversations. We were all there for the sole reason of communicating hardships and lessons learned, while also listening and absorbing other experiences.

smiling scrum coach

To some, this may come off as somewhat generic, in fact, I’m sure many of you have probably had entirely pleasant experiences such as this. However, there’s an ulterior reason behind writing this blog post. You see, the industry is pulsating with buzzwords that are destined to die off as passing fads, but there is a system of core values they all revolve around, and it emphasizes learning through collaboration and shared experience.

That’s what drives the Agile community forward.

Sure, it is race, but the goal in sight isn’t a destination but rather a state – a state of an optimized workflow, motivated individuals and a healthy working environment. Therefore, there is no reason not to help or ask for assistance when the road gets excessively bumpy, and Agile Stories showed just that.