This spring, while browsing my LinkedIn feed, I found a call for speakers from www.agilenepal.org for Regional Scrum Gathering 2019, an official event of Scrum Alliance. At ableneo, we have a lot to say when it comes to processes, technology and people, but will it be interesting for the peoples in Asia? Only one way to find out.
I drafted the speech, sent the application, got selected and several months later I was boarding the plane to Kathmandu, Nepal.

Conference Hall

I arrived on Friday and the conference was to be on weekend, so I caught up with the jet lag and walked around to absorb the atmosphere. Even though it was my first time in Asia, there was no culture shock. Still, after coming to conference on Saturday, I was surprised how much “at home” I felt among other Agilists, business owners, managers, …
Everybody spoke fluent English, used the same phrases and discussed the same topics.
If there was not for the Asiatic buffet, this could have been Vienna or Prague.
Needless to say, the audience has been incredibly attentive and one could easily feel these people are there to learn and grow.

The conference hosted speakers from 13 countries and kicked off with a keynote that focused on culture.
The rest of the weekend was in two simultaneous tracks — 90 minutes long workshops in one room and 45 minutes long speeches in another. My speech “Systemics: Let the Contexts Speak for Themselves” was scheduled for Sunday, so I had time settle down and get in the flow.
In the end, I have spent the whole weekend at the speeches, as I was after catching as many diversified ideas as possible.
Here I want to highlight several speeches that I found incredibly useful and related to ableneo’s innovation enabling. Even though I pick just a couple, the overall schedule was filled with captivating speakers. Thumbs up to wwww.agilenepal.org for the selection!

  • Scaling Agile like a Fish by Stephen de Villiers Graaff (We shared several points within our speeches and had a good laugh about it later).
    - Enterprise Agility is not a strategy, is it a reality? by Amol Pradhan (Truly seasoned, Amol definitely made my whole stay so much better, his clever humour and vast experience as Lead Agile Coach for IBM have been great)
    - Agile BDD — Work from the outside-in by Mohammed Rowther (Incredibly well described BDD with focus on practility got me thinking about learning more on BDD)
    - Discovering Personal Agility — a framework beyond frameworks by Abhigya Pokharel (I was pleased to see a topic transcending the office topics and focusing on the basic unit of any organization — a human being. Abhigya delivered a sharp session on personal prioritization and setting our own values in life.)
    - Moving beyong Copy-Paste Agile by Cliff Hazell (Cliff had been with Spotify for four years and since the McKinsey developed their “Spotify Model”, talking with someone who has actually worked as Agile coach at Spotify was insightful and comforting.)
The after-party chat

Besides some casual drinks with other speakers, we have visited and dined in famous Kathmandu Garden of Dreams (a true oasis in a very busy city).

Amol and others told me they have a scheduled morning sightseeing flight to Mt. Everest. It should finish comfortably before the second day of conference begins.
I was hyped to go as well, and mostly I wanted to go with them, since it would be more fun than going along.
Well, in the end, there were three flights and my new friends were on two planes, while I was alone on the third one. Talk about Murphy’s law. :)

Before the Mt. Everest sightseeing flight

At the end of the conference, there was a closing ceremony and then Nepali folk music. It was not for listening, it was for moving! I must confess I had never danced on a conference before and joining many attendees in happy, authentic dance was an unforgettable experience.

The Folk Band

The atmosphere was set well for people to mingle and talk. From breaks to the after-party, the people would not stop chit-chating, laughing and sharing stories.
I met inspiring people from whom I could learn, made new friends and ran out of business cards.
On Sunday I was approached by Prakash Shrestha the CEO of Herald College, a private Nepali IT college, who invited me to speak to their students and their staff the day after the conference.

Dinner at the Garden of Dreams

As I noted, I was invited to the college for the next day. It should have been my vacation time already, but how often do you get an invitation to speak in front Nepali students? :)

The session with the college staff was focused on creating actionable Team Charter and Mission Statement for each department to enhance seamless cooperation.
With the senior students I shared our ableneo case study on Agile implementation and running successful self-organizing team as well as some Agile basics.

With Students of Herald College
Herald College Staff Session

Let me share one question a student asked: “How do we show that all is good and on time, when actually we are late and the software does not work?” :))

I have traveled over 8000km for this conference to a country with a very different culture and environment. I have never beef farther from my bed than this.
Still, when I came to the conference, it felt like home.
I can now say that Agile is and umbrella creating one global family of people interested in improving the ways of working and guiding people to meaningful work.

I am thankful I could be there. And I will go again.

EXPERIENCE FROM REGIONAL SCRUM GATHERING 2019: KATHMANDU was originally published in ableneo People on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.