GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM: The Origin Story

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THE GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM ORIGIN STORY:

written by DANIEL MEZICK

The history of the GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM event:

We started Agile Boston, the user group, in 2007. The first meeting featured Dr. Jeff Sutherland. We got 90 people for that first meeting. Later we had Ken Schwaber come and talk as well. Jeff and Ken lived in the Boston area and that’s why Scrum was born in Boston.

In 2008, we introduced Open Space to the Agile community in Boston. People loved that, and our mailing list grew and grew.

I started thinking about how to get Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber in the same room. 

I kept asking Jeff & Ken for dates that could work, but they were always all over the world, teaching #Scrum. Never in Boston and available at the same time. 

So I kept thinking about it.

One day, after pondering this for weeks, I had a breakthrough. I realized they were both probably at home in Boston for the holidays. “The week of the USA Thanksgiving holiday might actually work…”

From there it was a very short thought process to realize that the week of USA Thanksgiving was probably perfect for a conference date. 

I called up Jeff Sutherland; we had a good friendship going from the Agile Boston meetup experiences.

I asked Jeff if he was cool with speaking to about 200 people on the day before Thanksgiving. He said YES. 

Then I took that email and forwarded it to Ken Schwaber and invited him to talk with Jeff, HE ALSO said YES. It was like, BOOM. Instantly huge conference !

We did the first event 12 years ago, in 2008. It was totally amazing. 

We called it GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM because it happened during Thanksgiving week. 

The AM was for sessions from Jeff and Ken; the PM was for a Q&A panel where Jeff & Ken took questions from the crowd. 

In between, we had some breakout sessions in the AM and PM, and also a lunch. 

A year came and went, we did the event again. We invited some additional speakers.

It became a regional CELEBRATION of the fact that Scrum was BORN in Boston

Everyone who came to the event realized we were doing something special as Scrum grew worldwide. We were part of something BIG. You can get an idea by browsing the historical pictures.

One year, we put a “Scrum timeline” on the wall, inviting people to mark when they started with #Scrum. 

On that timeline, some people put, for the year 1957, “A 4-year-old Ken Schwaber refers to his Mother’s rules as “too prescriptive.” People loved that one. 

We kept going, but the event never grew beyond 250 since it was during a USA holiday week. It always stayed at 250 or so. It was a REGIONAL event. We did always get some from NY, CT, NH, VT and Maine.

After a few years, we started selling it out in about 3 weeks. Locals from New England and the Boston region just registered instantly. 

So this went on: every single year: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016….always 230-250 participating. 

Then in 2016 or so, Ken Schwaber started to reduce his public speaking schedule. In his place, Dave West the COO (and later CEO)  of Scrum.org came into the event. 

And we have continued on, year after year, with great speakers on Scrum and a regional celebration of the fact Scrum was BORN IN BOSTON. The last few pre-COVID years, we had musicians play music during the lunch break. Starting in 2013 we had musicians…guitar players, piano players etc. After a while we engaged totally pro musicians from the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Then in 2020 the COVID panic hit and we were like “now what do we do?”

And we decided to just go all the way and go global, online. And that is where the event was until 2023.  For 2023 we went LOCAL AND LIVE once again, convening in Burlington MA (not far from the offices of Scrum.Org.) Each year we do our best to approach the production of the event in an empirical manner!

And so it is that we cordially invite YOU to the GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM conference event !


We promise you an absolutely GREAT event….


 


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