reflecting back on the hackathon

#CAREhacktCORONA Hackathon

Five weeks into the Corona forced home office routine, I received a call from one of the coordinators of the hackathon, Tim Weinert (, asking me to join. It was refreshing and inspiring to hear about the #CAREhacktCORONA initiative. It did not take long to decide and jump into the challenge of “coaching the coaches” as Tim had described the role. What it would exactly involve still needed to evolve, and not having an exact plan of what would happen made it all the more exciting.

That was on Thursday evening, just over a week before the event was due to take place. On the weekend that followed there was time to research more about the event and the people involved. Over breakfast I came upon a podcast from Hendrik Epe with the title „Warum brauchen wir einen eigenen Hackathon für die Sozialwirtschaft, Ursel Wolfgramm?“ After listening closely to this, and picking out all the aspects which inspired me (which were then promptly #hashtagged and tweeted), it was clear that the  hackathon was going to be a very worthwhile and meaningful event.

A screenshot of a cell phone

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I was ready and keen to get started!

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restart and adapt

Restart with a readiness for adaptation

Significant negotiation is taking place right now on which restart buttons we should be pressing. Restart buttons that will determine how we safely re-engage in our local and global societies following the Corona lock-down. This is a challenge for everyone, as we all deal with the question “what is the right thing to do?”.

My “right things to do” are driven by a forward looking positive stance, and to facilitate this the paper Zukunftsinstitut White Paper: “The Corona Effect – Four Future Scenarios” (1) has attracted my attention. This paper, along with other thought provoking future thinking (2), are helping me shape my own thinking on desired future social communities and environments – both locally and globally.

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to hackathon and beyond

The #CAREhacktCORONA weekend hackathon culminated in an optimistic and energetic close, however the initiative itself is still very much in progress.

Problem solver teams with support from their coaches have finalized practical, real-life social impact solutions and submitted them to the jury. Jury members are busy evaluating these solutions in time for this weekend’s award ceremony.

Looking back over the last weekend gives good reason to view the future positively. This positivity is corroborated by observations on how all participants compassionately and collaboratively engaged with one another throughout the event.

The hackathon showed that …..

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new times, new teams

The fifth week of remote working, immediately after Easter 2020 is positive and exciting. It provides an opportunity to engage with many new people while still #staying@home. In a remote working environment at the end of the week we will be jointly participating in the #CAREhacktCORONA initiative. A 24-hour hackathon in which teams of similar minded people come together wanting to make the world a better place than it was the day before.

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the mindset makes it

One of the most riveting Agile reads I have been engrossed in recently is

“The Agile Mindset” by Gil Broza.

Wanting to make the most of my time invested (with a great return by the way) and to increase the chance of making it stick, I decided to tweet something from each chapter as an impulse for my own future thinking and behaviour.

Included in this blog post are some of my favourites and by reviewing my twitter feed and including them here provides another opportunity to increase the return on time invested!

establishing the Agile mindset

What I see as the biggest challenge to a successful transformation to an Agile way of working is shift from a “do Agile” to “be Agile” thinking. So often I hear comments like “sure, we have started using agile methods” without any sign that people have changed their way of actually thinking about their work.

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discovering agile


Sharing our experiences nurtures our learning

Having benefited greatly from exchanges with other Agilists since my first steps into the agile community in 2013 gives me the incentive for this blog article. That incentive is simply to give something back.

I hope through sharing some of my own experiences, gathered during the early stages of truly “discovering Agile”, and in particular Scrum, that others may also benefit. There is certainly a win-win in here too though. It is pretty much guaranteed that this opportunity for reflection will be an invaluable personal retrospective. One which provides insights and ideas to support the next stage of the journey.

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time for reflection


Reflections of the ferry in the harbour water at Lindau. The boat is recognisable but looks different from every angle and is constantly changing with the rippling surface. Context was also unusual – the day was very warm despite the November month, the blue sky reflected clearly in the water while the coloured highlights on the boat brighten the upper and lower decks.

Stopping to take in the view, considering how to frame the photograph, working the digital photo editing and finally deciding how to publish the image all required reflection time. This time, if not taken, would not have resulted in the existence of something new, something different, may I say something worthwhile.

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progress – the story so far


An infographic capturing the progress to date of my own product – this “photographic image inspired agile story telling blog”.

The tag cloud app on the iPad scans the page and creates an image of words.

Another infographic in a few months will show as a snapshot in time what progress has been made with this personal product of mine.

Similarly, in any Sprint operating within a Scrum development framework, it is vital to understand the progress being made with the product development against the goal for the iteration. Progress is assessed on a daily basis, against the Sprint Goal which is agreed between the Product Owner and Development Team during Sprint Planning at the start of each iteration.

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new ways to cluster


Shot in the local woods in autumn – a warm and wet period perfect for mushrooms to grow in fascinating new clusters everywhere. The photo was then run through topaz adjust for a lomo effect – see more on Flickr

In business it is also essential to enable an environment to allow teams to form and develop.

Look for new ways to organise, that promote communication.

Move away from rigid hierarchies, seek out new ways to cluster teams making sure all the skills necessary for the current and future tasks are available.

Look at the organisational hierarchy from different angles – this will open up new synergies between individuals and provide new ways of composing your teams.

help agility grow


Playing around with a new f1.4 lens in corn fields somewhere near Heidelberg led to this shot.

The depth of field that the lens achieves is amazing with a very fine line of focused ears of corn and a sea of unfocused harvest in the background reaching as far as the horizon.

The fields were actually still quite young and a pale green shade.

Then, thanks to a touch of editing on an iPhone, the fields quickly grew to a mature golden yellow and the image became the new reality of the farmland scene.

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