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A Retrospective of the 2017 Scrum CSP Retreat – Agile Coaching Exchange
SGCAL CSP Open Space Theme

A Retrospective of the 2017 Scrum CSP Retreat

SGCAL CSP Open Space Group Shot

We recently concluded the 2017 Global ScrumGathering in San Diego, which by all measures was a huge success. If you did not attend or wish to review, download the presentations here. Thank you to co-chairs Kim Brainard and Vic Bonacci, and all the volunteers like Alicia McLain and Adam Brooks from ACE:SoCal and Dr. Gail Ferreira

SGCAL Volunteers

SGCAL Volunteers

On Sunday April 9th, ScrumAlliance also sponsored the inaugural retreat for Certified Scrum Professionals (CSP). Our ScrumGathering San Diego co-chairs Kim and Vic opened the session with a few quick announcements, and introduced our facilitator Brett Palmer.

Brett Palmer facilitated our CSP Retreat Open Space

Brett Palmer facilitated our CSP Retreat Open Space

Brett did a masterful job facilitating the opening, and our theme was, Taking a Deeper Dive into Learning and Growing Together.

SGCAL CSP Open Space Theme

For those who are not familiar, you can find more information about Open Space Technology on this website:

This was my first Open Space that organized around Agilists working in a particular discipline — in this case, Scrum — and also with a minimum competency in that discipline. While people in the room had a variety of backgrounds and experience with Agile and Scrum, from my perspective the lack of pure newbies (do people still say n00bs?) and experts — the Certified Scrum Trainers and Coaches had their own retreat downstairs. There was a vibrant exchange of perspectives and knowledge, but this collaboration alongside professionals with similar/minimum experience was more: it went so much deeper and generated so many more possible actions than the half-dozen regional Open Spaces events and ScrumGathering Open Spaces I’ve previously attended — by the way if you have never seen 2000 people build a marketplace at a Global ScrumGathering, you are missing out!

ScrumGathering Orlando 2016 Open Space

ScrumGathering Orlando 2016 Open Space

ScrumGathering Orlando 2016 Open Space Marketplace

ScrumGathering Orlando 2016 Open Space Marketplace


Another thing that went well: frequently in my opinion the open session and building the marketplace can be and a drawn-out process, and the long setup can drain some of the emergent energy in the room. This group of CSPs built our marketspace and completed 30 minutes ahead of schedule, which allowed for one of the richest networking discussion I’ve had at an event like this: we arrived exciting and created out topics, and had 30 minutes over coffee to get to know a large number of people before dropping into really deep questions and topics about Learning and Growing Together. My experience was that this allowed many members of the group to drop into further stages of group development in a very quick time, and as the day went on further discussions built more trust and discourse.

CSP Retreat Marketplace

In block one, Alicia and I convened a session on Coaching Communities of Practice, and discussed the Agile Coaching Exchange, whose mission is to exchange ideas, inspiration, and tools to build skill and support the leadership development of those in the discipline of Agile Coaching. Our monthly topics align to one or more areas of The Agile Coach Competency Framework.

During the second block, Alicia led a session on Psychology Safety (a topic Alicia has written on several times here and here):

Psychological Safety

After two blocks of sessions, it was time for lunch. The food ScrumAlliance provided for the CSP retreat was excellent, especially for a conference in a hotel.

Lunch BuffetDessert Selection

During lunch, Dave Gardner convened an impromptu session on graphic facilitation and sketchnoting using the iPad Pro. Dave’s masterful demo of how one can use the iPad to visualize and facilitate conversations over time was so convincing that Tamsen Mitchell asked her husband by text to buy her an iPad Pro, and before the session concluded he had! Dave will be sharing this wisdom at our inaugural Agile Coaching Exchange: Online meeting.

After lunch, we convened three blocks of sessions:

Group Photo During Sessions

In the last block, I co-convened a standing-room session with Braz Brant — our out-of-town guests skipped an afternoon Padres baseball game to participate in a very rich discussion on Professional Coaching competencies (e.g. International Coach Federation) by Agile Coaches.

After the fifth and final session, Brett convened a closing circle where we reported our impressions and learning from the day. The overwhelming feedback was how valuable this first CSP retreat was, and we look forward to move in the future.

Reese Schmit graciously volunteered to post our convenings to Google Drive. It was great to see old friends and meet new Scrum CSPs at this retreat. Forward we go, learning and growing together!


John Eisenschmidt is an Agile Coach and Atlassian Tools Consultant based in Southern California. He is a co-organizer for the Agile Coaching Exchanges in SoCal and Online.

John is speaking on An Appreciate Agile Mindset at Agile 2017.

John Eisenschmidt

Agile Coach and Atlassian Technical Coach - JIRA, Confluence, Stash, Bitbucket, and HipChat | Entrepreneur | Consultant | PMP, CSM, CSP, ICP-ACC, ICF ACC, SISC | Certified LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Facilitator

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