And do you really meet for breakfast?
The story of the Scrum Breakfast is the story of Scrum in Switzerland. I started the Scrum Breakfast to create community around Scrum. Community is the opportunity for conversation. And what is business but the continuation of a conversation? How did the Scrum Breakfast get started? How did the name come about? And how is the original Scrum Breakfast related to today’s Scrum Breakfast Club?
Origins of the Scrum Breakfast
Back in the summer of 2007, two things were becoming clear to me: 1) I really wanted to do Scrum. 2) My current employer and I were unlikely to have a long relationship.
So I googled for Scrum in Switzerland, and discovered that of the top 10 posts, 8 of them were either by me, for me or about me. “Cool!” I thought, “I have the market.” Then I thought, “OMG, there is no market!” I could not simply go out and find a job as a Scrum Master.
I also realized quickly that I could not sell Scrum. I had no marketing budget, and I would die of hunger before I convinced a large company to adopt Scrum. I had to create an environment in which people wanted to buy Scrum. How could I do this?
I did have experience with community. Back in 2000, I was on the board of the Swiss Open System user group “/ch/open”. Inspired by the energy of the Linux User Group in Zurich, I created the Open Business Lunch to help revitalize the Swiss Open System User Group. Regular meetings. Passionate people. Interesting Topics. This seemed like a good pattern to apply.
Another inspiration was Reto Hartinger’s Internet Briefing. He would invite an interesting speaker to his monthly meetup. The speaker got an hour, including a maximum of one minute to about himself and his company, then Reto led a discussion among the participants, to which the speaker was not allowed to participate! Another good pattern!
When to hold the meetup? Between the Internet Briefing and other “First Monday” and Chamber of Commerce type-events, there was no obvious free slot in the evening.
“Plan B” was a breakfast meeting. The first Wednesday of the of the month became the time slot.
Yes it really was a breakfast meeting! Namics, my employer, agreed to host the event. It was a short, 1 hour meeting. We served coffee and Gipfeli (croissants), sponsored by namics. The event was a success — it looks like we had about 8 participants — so we continued, and the attendance grew.
Oddly enough, there is conflicting documentation on whether the first event was held on October 3, 2007 or November 7, 2007. My recollection is October and xing agrees with me, but my original slide deck does not. I hope some early participant can help clarify the mystery!
I also liked the name. Very shortly after the first meetup, I started my blog, which I also called Scrum Breakfast. My goal was for the Scrum Breakfast to be “a focal point of Scrum in Switzerland” and my blog should be that as well.
The Scrum Breakfast became exactly that!
By the summer of 2008, we had 15 to 20 attendees every month. Jan Fülscher suggested that I should anchor this community in the established IT community, and he suggested the swissICT was the right home for it. Together with Reto Maduz and François Bachmann, I took the Scrum Breakfast community into the swissICT and this became the “Lean Agile Scrum” Group.
Scrum Breakfast, Agile Breakfast, and the swissICT
Perhaps I’ll tell the full story of the Scrum Breakfast and the swissICT another day. Here is the short version.
Fredi Schmidli recognized the value of these monthly meetups and encouraged the organization of Scrum Breakfast meetings throughout Switzerland. First in Bern, then Basel, and now in most major cities, the LAS group hosts a monthly Scrum Breakfast with a local organizing team. Today, thanks to the swissICT and the LAS group, Switzerland has an extremely vibrant Lean-Agile-Scrum community!
About three years ago, the LAS group started reflecting on the name the name of their monthly events. They felt Scrum was a brand of Agile, and the name Scrum Breakfast was closely associated with me. As the swissICT is safe space for all brands, they felt they should be independent of anybody’s brand. Since April, 2013 the Scrum Breakfast has been rebranded “Agile Breakfast.”1
That’s right: today’s swissICT “Agile Breakfast” started life as the Scrum Breakfast.
Last year, when I recognized the need for a new type of meetup, Scrum Breakfast seemed like logical name. The name was free. I still had the domain scrum-breakfast-club.com from 2008 or so. And I still like the name.
My hope and my goal is that the Scrum Breakfast should continue to be the focal point for Scrum for its members!
1Thanks Patrick Baumgartner for confirming the rebranding date.