Agile Meetups and the Local Community

One of the greatest things about Scrum and Agile is the community of which we are all a part of.  Generally speaking, Agile Professionals, Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches are some of the nicest, most helpful people you can meet, and it shows in the community.  There are many blogs, online communities, and local meetups, all provided free of charge, where aspiring Agilists can go to gain knowledge and learn about different view points and techniques from some of the greatest and most prolific practitioners in the industry.  Local meetups embody this ideal, where a novice can attend a lean coffee, ask a question and get answers from peers, and often from very experienced Scrum Masters or Coaches who attend due to the love of Agile.

I’ve been attending Agile Meetups for years now here in the Los Angeles area, mostly with a group called Agile/Scrum LA.  They usually meet once a month, sometimes as an organized presentation event, but more often as an informal gathering known as Lean Coffee.  In Lean Coffee, the attendees each select a topic or question they’d like to speak on, write it on a card, and give a brief overview to the group.  The group then votes on which issues they are most interested to talk about, and the ideas are stack ranked for discussion. Then, a time boxed discussion is held about the topic, where the group can discuss more in depth. At the end of the time box, the team gives a thumbs up/down vote on whether to continue the discussion, or to move on to the next topic.  It’s a great event, using a microcosm of what makes Agile and Scrum work to talk about other things Agile.

I also recently started attending events down in Orange County, including my first Agile Drinkup.  This was an even more informal event, where a group of folks interested in Agile got together, had a few beverages, and just talk about some of our concerns, commonalities and community. It was great fun for me just to get out and pick the brains of people who have great experience being in this space, and the networking I was able to do may possibility help me find my next role as my search continues.

All in all, I heartily encourage anyone who reads this to take some time and join an Agile meetup. It’s one night a month, and the experience gained is far greater than the time cost. Also, the hours are applicable for the Scrum Alliance continued learning for certifications, so that’s a good bonus as well. I will post links to a few of the meetup groups I’m a part of below. Thanks for reading, and if you know of any other meetup groups in this space, please leave a comment below!

Agile/Scrum LA – Co-Hosted by Tyler Feiga & Jhade Barnes – A great group local to the West LA/South Bay area of Los Angeles. Lean coffee and some presentations.

Agile Coffee – a SoCal Lean Coffee Group – Co-Hosted by Vic Bonacci and Brett Palmer – Local to Orange County, I’ve had some great discussions here.

Agile Drink Up – Hosted by Dan Brown – I’ve only been once so far, as a co-hosted event with Agile Coffee, but I definitely plan to continue attending. It was a great time, and great conversations.

Thanks to all of the Agile Meetup Organizers for all that you do!


User Stories

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted!  Let’s rectify that!

I recently had a friend, who is moving into a new role working with a Scrum team, ask me about writing user stories, and if there was any specific training around creating them. After we finished the discussion, I recalled that I had created a presentation regarding user stories a while back. I’d like to share the presentation, and make some comments.

Power Point – User Stories

The presentation is linked above.  During this talk, it was important to emphasize the idea of “Outcomes over Output”, as the recipients of the presentation had historically been very directive and focused on directing output from contributors.  Changing this is a two-way street, as self-organization requires not only commitment from the team to organize themselves, but also commitment from leadership to allow for that organization to happen.  User Stories are one tool in that process, moving away from directive “micro-management” and more towards inclusive co-leadership.

This is just one in a series of presentations I’ve given in a series I’ve called “Ongoing Agile Education”. It was provided to a group who understood the basics of Agile, allowing for greater focus and discussion on a single topic.  If there is interest, I do have other Power Point presentations from this series that I may be able to post.

As always, I appreciate your feedback!