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Ken Schwaber recently chided the Scrum Alliance for having a trademark on the term “Scrum User Group.” Man! There is something about the way divorced couples can fight forever through their kids. I’d like to ignore the couple for a moment, and talk about the children: What is the state of user groups in the Scrum and Agile community?
After a period of working too hard, I have been able to attend a few user group meetings this year. A couple of patterns have stood out for me. Patterns that don’t feel right, but maybe I am exaggerating? Do you recognise any of these?
- The user group is associated with an agile consultancy.
- The user group event starts with some promotion of said consultancy.
- The user group doesn’t have a website or even a meet-up page.
- The user group website is mostly promoting high-value courses.
- Membership is free (just sign up for our mailing list).
- The user group event is mostly attended by beginners
- The only really experienced Agilist present is the group’s host.
- The user group events are mostly talks by managers, coaches or trainers (in other words, they are a form of self-promotion).
Is a user group more than a marketing arm of a consultancy? Or am I being too harsh? What is your experience with Scrum user groups? What do you think a good user group should be?