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Feedback on Coaching Circles

In October we held an event to talk about how to grow agile coaches in South Africa. One of the outcomes of that session was a coaching circle that started with 8 enthusiastic agilists keen to grow their skills. From the retrospective we held it seems that learning and fun was had by all, and so I am delighted to let you know that we will be continuing and growing the circle in 2011.

Our plan is a classic scrum scaling pattern, we will add more people and split into 2 circles ūüôā

So if you missed joining the first coaching circle this year, make sure to save the date of 10 Jan 2011 for the start of the next circles. To find out more details about coaching circles and the ones kicking off next year you will need to join the following google group: agile-coaching-za

Cape Town: Theatre of Perplexing Predicaments

Join us for some fun and learning to end off 2010. Bring your most perplexing agile predicaments. We’ll act them out and all try our hand at facilitating your problems away, or at least giving you a few ideas to try for yourself.

Practise facilitation techniques
Get ideas for dealing with different situations
Have fun

for more info please click here

Sign up:

Please assist us with catering by signing up for the event

Event Report: How to stay sane as a Product Owner

A new voice in our local community, Rian van der Merwe spoke¬†eloquently¬†(and with good humour) from his perspective about the role of the Product Owner. Illustrated with lots of stories about the practical challenges in his role at Yola, what came through strongly was although they may not do Scrum “by the book” the spirit of Scrum and Agile was what really mattered.

You can find slides here and Rian has also just published a blog post which details his thinking.
[flickr-gallery mode=”search” tags=”sugsacptnov10″]

January 2011 Events

SUGSA Johannesburg

When: 25 January 2011, 5:45PM

Venue: Discovery Health, 155 West Street, Sandton, Ground Floor 155 West Auditorium, Johannesburg

Topic: To be announced

This event is the second chapter of SUGSA JHB event. We have collected input from all who attended the launch on 2 November 2010 and we are planning to select 1-2 of the most popular interests and knock out some detail on these items during the session.

Come and share time with other like minded individuals.

Watch this space for more detail.

Please help us to cater for this event by signing up

This event sponsored by Discovery


Event Report: SUGSA launch in Johannesburg

The 1st official SUGSA Johannesburg scrum gathering was held last night at Discovery Health in Sandton.

Marius gave an excellent talk on agile and the various flavours available, such as kanban and scrum. The talk focused on the tools at your disposal in the various agile approaches and stressed not getting tangled in wondering which one is the best. Depending on where you and your organisation are in the agile transition process, you need to choose the tools that is best suited to your maturity level of agile adoption. Then as a group we interacted with each other and discussed what we expect to get out of the scrum group in future meetings.

The free gifts where much appreciated.

It was excellent chatting to like minded people.

It was a huge success!!!

Looking forward to Jan! ūüôā

The next event will be on 25 January 2011.

From an attendee in the meeting:

“I would define last nights SUGSA JHB initialize meeting as a success. While the audience¬†initially¬†seemed reserved as a whole, maybe not knowing what to expect,¬†the energy quickly mounted once we broke into the small murmur groups. Every person I spoke to in the group session and after the event formalities during networking said that they would¬†definitely¬†attend the next meeting. The venue, food, presentation topic and SCRUMM Alliance gift packs presented a very high and¬†professional¬†level of presentation, which I think impressed all who attended. Personally I’m very excited about this group and already have learned a lot just from the presentation and talking to people I met at the group!

I think that people are hungry to hear success case studies and would love to see this as a small part of every gathering.”

See the presentation slides: Navigating the Agile Flame Wars

Photos of the event:

Why sponsor SUGSA?

Alacrity is proud to sponsor our November event in Cape Town. Alacrity have said their reason for sponsoring is: “We are passionate about the information technology sector in South Africa, one of our brand values is knowledge building and sharing. Our sponsorship involvement with the knowledge communities is driven by this value. Through participation and sponsorship we hope to make a difference in the broader sphere of knowledge and skills development of our sector.”

SUGSA have several sponsorship opportunities available for both the Cape Town and Johannesburg chapter. If, like Alacrity, your company wants to make a difference, contact the committe on sugsa-com [at] googlegroups [dot] com to find out more about sponsorship.

November events

We have two exciting events for the month of November. First up is the (re)launch of the Johannesburg Scrum User Group on 2nd November in Sandton with the topic of “Navigating the Agile flamewars” with speaker Marius de Beer.

Our monthly Cape Town meeting takes place on 4th November with Rian van der Merwe talking about “How to stay sane as a Product Owner”.

When: 2 November 2010, 5:45PM

Venue: Discovery Health, 155 West Street, Sandton, Ground Floor 155 West Auditorium, Johannesburg

Topic: Navigating the Agile flame wars

This event is the launch of the SUGSA JHB event. Come join us to setup the user group and listen to a renowned agile advocate, Marius de Beer.

“We must remember that Scrum is a vehicle to deliver business value, reliably and at a sustainably fast pace. Implementing Scrum, just for saying you are, is a failure. So is becoming religious about Scrum and engaging in “mine is better than yours” flame wars with Kanban, Lean, and the other frameworks. In this talk we will focus on finding common ground in Agile, and understanding paths to maturity in Agile.”

For more info visit the events page

Please help us to cater for this event by signing up

This event sponsored by Discovery


When: 4 November 2010, 6PM

Venue: The Bandwidth Barn, 5th Floor, Buitengracht Centre, 125 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town

Topic: How to stay sane as a Product Owner

Product Ownership can be fun, but it can also drive you to insanity. This talk will cover experiences, tools and tips to be an effective Product Owner when working with a variety of teams and personalities, with some specific focus on distributed teams.
For more info visit the events page

Please help us with catering by signing up

This event sponsored by Alacrity

Event Report: Growing Agile Coaches

We milled around trying to find our tribe.
We laughed and shouted uncontrollably.
We gathered round a topic with serious intent to do good.
We made sense; we came to brilliant conclusions!

During the course of the evening the attendees at the October 2010 SUGSA event identified ways forward to growing agile coaches and establishing coaching circles.
It was invigorating to have so many enthusiastic participants.
They even stayed after half-time eats and drinks! Incredible!

Some of the useful actions going forward are to:

  • Create and join a Google group called Agile Coaching ZA
  • Add substance to the notion of a Coaching Academy by using said Google group
  • Reach out to people in other companies than our own and share our experiences
  • Lower atmospheric emissions to below 350…(oops, wrong event!)

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If you cannot view the flickr gallery here, try this URL for pics.

Pat Busch Mountain Resort, just outside Robertson was the perfect bush retreat venue for our first ever Coaching Retreat. Twenty-five of the Cape Town and Johannesburg Scrum community attended.  Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Managers and Team Members.

I arrived on Friday late afternoon. I couldn’t believe the warm welcome I received with just about everyone around my car. Later I realised it was because I was bringing the beer from Cape Town, I was running a bit late, and the delegates were thirsty! Still, the usual welcoming and¬†accommodating¬†nature of our community is something I can never get tired of.

Friday evening was about socialising! It did feel quite different to the usual monthly events – everyone in shorts and slip-slops, interacting and getting to know each other on a whole new level.

Saturday morning. Trial running. We self-organised into groups depending on 1) level of fitness, 2) wake-up time and 3) previous-night factor. Nonetheless, it was an ideal way to welcome the weekend, taking in the fresh air and beautiful settings at the heart of the world’s longest wine route.

After breakfast, we rounded up the troops for a few ice-breakers, after which Sam and Cara began the open-space marketplace. Just about everyone advertised a topic, all keen to either share some idea’s, seek help or offer experiences. Within only a few minutes, the day’s agenda was planned and were all ready to roll.

In total, over twenty sessions, all of Open Space format, were facilitated throughout the course of the day. The weather in Robertson was awesome the entire weekend so many took place outside. Here are some of topics:

* Supporting new Product Owners

* Taking teams to the self-managing realm

* Getting developers agile

* Scrum Master War Stories (the good, the bad, the ugly!)

* Agile Games

* Neuroscience of change

* And many more…

Later in the evening, the fires were lit, the braai started and the open space environment of sharing agile experience certainly didn’t end! Great food, great company, the perfect bush setting.

Early Sunday morning a group of intrepid hikers¬†congregated¬†at the main hall, ready for their 6am jaunt up the nearby hill. What followed¬†definitely¬†deserves it’s own blog post (watch-this-space!). If I have to summarise, the highlights (and¬†perhaps also¬†low-lights) would have to include:

A fairly energetic brisk walk up to the highest point

  • The¬†obligatory¬†photo’s of the views. FaceBook profile quality stuff
  • Getting quite lost while trying to follow a waterfall – oh the irony;-)
  • Being attacked by a swarm of angry bee’s. Three of us sustained stings. Not a pleasant experience…
  • Some hardcore¬†path finding¬†that would make any scout earn his badge
  • A well deserved splash in the dam once we were back
  • An even more deserving champaign breakfast thereafter

After breakfast, Sam and Karen “closed the circle” with some fun¬†exercises¬†and interactive feedback from the attendee’s on their weekend

All in all, we found it productive, yet relaxing, taking our community into new area’s. We hope this is the first of many such events.

Did you attend? Share your experiences and thoughts below. canada online casino

Please welcome the new Cape Town committee for 2013. It’s a great mix of experienced committee members and some new faces. I am looking forward to some fantastic events next year.

Austin Fagan


Cara Turner


Pieter Norman


Alicia Klassen

Claude Botes


Justin Kotze


Pavel Dabrytski

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