Collaboration is one of the key aspects of focus for Scrum Masters. We are, and should always be on the lookout for way to improve collaboration in our teams, and across teams and departments. In this episode, we dive into a specific Actionable Agile Tool that aims to boost collaboration: The Internal Unconference. Gene and Jeff share their own experience organizing Internal Unconferences, and why this even may be exactly what you need to improve collaboration in your organization.
Discovering how to improve collaboration across departments
This story starts with the need to increase collaboration between development and DevOps teams, a problem that Gene’s and Jeff’s organization needed to address. While discussing how to address the problem, they applied a principle we’ve discussed here on the podcast often: “Take it to the team”. And they designed an unconference between some of the teams. This Internal Unconference (which Jeff described in this blog post) aimed to bring DevOps and Engineering together to help solve some of the problems that both sides were experiencing. In this segment, Gene and Jeff explain how they came up with the idea, and how they organized the first instance of this event.
Coming together helps us work better when distributed in different offices
A lesson that many Scrum Masters have learned through their experience, is that when teams need to work from different offices, they benefit greatly from coming together regularly to learn about each other’s needs and work together on shared solutions. But there are other benefits from organizing a co-located Internal Unconference. Many of the urgent problems we face in our daily work are solved via what people call “informal networks”. This Internal Unconference helps build and grow those internal networks. But there are many other examples.
From an Internal Unconference to a culture of collaboration
To end this episode, we talk about the larger cultural changes that an Internal Unconference can trigger, and share some of the tips on how to organize a successful Internal Unconference based on Gene’s and Jeff’s experience. We also discussed the change process they followed to get the Internal Unconference established as a practice in their organization.
About Gene Connolly and Jeff Campbell
Gene Connolly is a Principal Software Developer at Meltwater. He has dedicated his career to improving the quality of life of legacy software systems during their golden years and making the most complex problems he can find slightly less complex.
Jeff is an Agile Coach who considers the discovery of Agile and Lean to be one of the most defining moments of his life and considers helping others to improve their working life not to simply be a job, but a social responsibility.
He is the author of actionable agile tools, which you can get on Amazon and directly from the author at bit.ly/aatbook
As an Agile Coach, he has worked with driving Agile transformations in organizations both small and large.
You can also learn more about Jeff Campbell’s work at his company’s website.