Scrum Gathering Orlando Florida – Day 0 – Registration – NOT!?

Let me start by saying that I’m very excited to be in Orlando Florida for the next four and a bit days for the Scrum Gathering and then the Scrum Trainer Gathering to be held immediately following.  I look forward to connecting with friends, acquaintances, collegues, and of course making lots of new connections.  I also look forward to the sessions.

Over the next few days, I’m hoping that I will simply be posting my notes from all the sessions that I attend as well as any Tweets and relevent email exchanges.  Let’s start even before the conference itself starts with the registration process.

The Scrum Alliance is a growing organization and is clearly working hard to be professional.  It has gone from a concept in the mind of Ken Schwaber (at least) and matured to a well-known not-for-profit (or is it non-profit) organization that manages a substantial certification program, website, and conference schedule.  All that work to be professional was undermined for me this evening.  It’s a small thing, really, but I think it is important to mention.

When I checked at the hotel reception (Gaylord Palms), they told me that the Scrum Gathering registration would be open until 11pm.  Since I was hungry, and more importantly, my family were very very hungry, we decided to eat and that I would register after dinner… at about 10pm.  I went to the convention centre part of the resort to the location the person at hotel registration had indicated… and found absolutely nothing.  No signs.  No people lingering.  No little tiny note saying “Sorry… we closed registration early this evening, due to (illness|laziness|no one coming|hotel staff told us to get lost|etc.)”  Not only that, when I went back to hotel reception after wandering about hoping to find someone, they still had no idea that registration had closed.  I wonder how many people wandered up there only to find no one there?

I’m not impressed.  I would have been quite happy if there had been a note or some other attempt at communication to indicate that unfortunately the original commitment to be open until 11pm was not going to be honored.  I would have been even happier if hotel reception could have told me this.  But it’s pretty frustrating to realize that the people who are the first line of representation of Scrum didn’t understand/remember that Scrum is about visibility… clear proactive communication.

If this had been a conference for plumbers, doctors, astrophysicists, homeschoolers, or almost any other professional group, I wouldn’t see this as a big deal at all.  It would in fact be just another minor annoyance to quickly forget.  From the Scrum Alliance I find it less excusable.

Now, given that all the above is pretty much a rant that may be at least in part a reflection of my long day of travel, I have to step back and acknowledge that there might be a good reason that there was no one at the conference registration desk when I went almost an hour before they were to close.  Perhaps there was only one person on duty and he/she got suddenly ill!  Perhaps the person on duty simply took an extended bathroom break and didn’t think that there would be anyone coming at so late an hour.  Perhaps someone else suggested that they close up early and since the person on duty was bored, it was an easy suggestion to act upon.  But the lack of communication still bothers me more than it would normally.

I’m sure the remainder of the conference will be great.  I hope that you all who are reading this find that my impressions are more sunny for the next four days.  After all, I am in the Sunshine State!

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