Reflecting Back on the First Dojo Consortium Event

First ever Dojo Consortium Attendees

Last week, we were proud to be a small part of the Dojo Consortium Event. From the humble, insightful speakers, the engaging question and thoughts shared by attendees, to the general energy at the conference, the event felt like something special.

Our Top Takeaways:

The Dojo is a Thing

We had a hunch this was the case, but let’s make it official - dojos are a thing. When there are over 30 (large) organizations working on dojos, a sold out conference a month ahead of time, and even industry thought leaders getting excited about the dojo approach to learning - there is something there. Our challenge as a community is how do we stay true to our first principles around learning and not lose sight of that. One excellent open space topic even brought this forward.

The Dojo Community is Vibrant and Open

Attendees were challenged right from the get go - get uncomfortable; share not only your successes but your challenges; explore your learnings and known unknowns. And the attendees were up to the challenge. We had 18 diverse lightning talks from the community - ranging in topics from measuring your dojo impact, to new ideas for dojos, to coaching skills. And that does not even address the open space topics. Our favorite open space topics (in no particular order):

  • Project to Product discussion - great to see this becoming more real

  • Frameworks discussion - the realization that dojo coaches are succeeding through engagement, not through frameworks

  • Community discussion on what is next - It was great to see the community come together to define what is next for the consortium

Common Dojo Challenges Aren’t Necessarily Dojo Specific

We heard a few common themes around challenges for dojos - and challenges that perhaps aren’t just dojo challenges.

Remote teams are challenging for many organizations, especially those trying to start dojos. While we personally have not seen fully-distributed teams work well in the dojo, there were discussions around what might work. We are interested in experimenting with these ideas as long as we continue to follow the core principles of what a dojo is.

Finding coaches is a challenge. Similar to working with remote teams, finding good coaches is not just a dojo problem. However, strong coaches are essential for running a successful dojo. Without good coaches, you run the risk of teams having bad experiences that will result in a lack of learning and any significant change.

Coaches Never Stop Growing

We had many wonderful speakers. Thematically we heard the same thing - great coaches never stop learning. One particular great comment came from the man Kent Beck himself when he said “The best thing I can do as a coach for a team is be the best me I can be that day.” Beautiful and simple.

We have many more fond memories that we will cherish. But… we’re already on to thinking about the next event! We are honored to have been asked to coordinate the next event. While we and the community set a pretty high bar with the first event, we promise the next event will continue to challenge us and push us all forward.

If you joined us last week, what were your takeaways? What is next for you? If you weren’t able to attend, what would you like to see in the next event?