April 9th at YOUi Labs: “The Lean Project Management” – Oxymoron or Possible?

Over time the Project Management community has strived to build repeatability and
predictability in project delivery for organizations. In doing so many of theses Project Management Offices have created an environment filled with the stench of control, process and inefficiency. So how did a movement with such good intent transition to being a burden in many organizations?

Lean Project Management provides far greater value to an organization, over a focus on strong repeatable processes. Through this time together we will explore the areas of People, Product and Processes to identify how your organization operates. Then we’ll explore what it means to be lean with your project management practices.

As with anything in Agile & Lean there is no one-sized fits all answer. Through this session we will look at how your organization manages the work, and through real stories explore a better approach.Project Management is not going away anytime soon as they could be providing a valuable function in many organizations. As a community if we look at these things in the right light we can transform and rock our world!

Mike Edwards has been working more than 25 years in the IT and business worlds.
Mike has spent the past 15 years leading teams of all shapes and sizes. When Mike
stumbled across Lean and Agile several years ago it rocked his belief system and
forever changed how he viewed our work. However, the bridge between teams and
management is wrought with broken boards and weak supports. Mike now focuses
on building stronger bridges between these important groups, and helping
organizations find a new path forward.

No charge to attend. RSVP (requested but not required) through the Agile Ottawa Meetup group.

When: April 9 2013. Doors open at 6 pm for networking. The workshop will begin at 6:30

Where: YOUi Labs, Suite 340, 303 Terry Fox Dr , Kanata (map)

Hacking is a Mindset, Not a Skillset (Hacked!) slides

Much fun was had at the March 19th meeting.  Tanya Snook & Ellen Grove gave a great presentation on Hacking (slides here; text of Tanya’s original talk here).  After the presentation, a spontaeneous games session broke out – we had a rock paper scissors match, then played some Loserball! and “Yes,and…”.

The next Agile Ottawa meetup will be on April 9th, with guest speaker Mike Edwards.  Stay tuned for location details.

March 19th at Fusebill: Hacking is a Mindset, not a Skillset (hacked!)

I found a fantastic line in the Wikipedia definition of “hacker”:”Hacking entails some form of excellence, for example exploring the limits of what is possible, thereby doing something exciting and meaningful. Activities of playful cleverness can be said to have “hack value.”

On Tuesday March 19th at 6:30 pm, Tanya Snook (aka @spydergrrl, girl geek extraordinaire, noted blogger and co-chair of UXcamp Ottawa) will talk about the ethos and practice of hacking, and how and why we might all benefit from adopting the principles of hacking to our everyday lives.  Taking the spirit of this presentation to heart, Agile coach Ellen Grove will build on Spydergrrl’s Principles of Hacking to address how you can hack your own agility to benefit yourself, those around you, and maybe even your organization.

No charge to attend. RSVP (requested but not required) through the Agile Ottawa Meetup group.

When: March 19 2013. Doors open at 6 pm for networking. The workshop will begin at 6:30.

Where: Fusebill,   Suite 203 – 232 Herzberg Road Kanata, ON K2K 2A1 (map)

Agile Ottawa February Meetup: Learning TDD with LEGO!

Come in out of the cold and join us at the first Agile Ottawa meeting of 2013! Bryan Beecham will lead a workshop to teach the basics of TDD:

In this fun and energetic session, we will learn the basics of Test Driven Design/Development (TDD) through the use of LEGO. We will create failing tests, make them pass and then refactor. We won’t be writing software, we will be using LEGO bricks. By working with our hands, these technical concepts that can be tricky to wrap your head around will be simplified.

This session has been presented at Agile San Francisco 2012, Agile Tour Toronto 2012 and at several companies in Ottawa and Toronto. The session is great for both technical and non-technical people.

No charge to attend. RSVP (requested but not required) through the Agile Ottawa Meetup group.

When: Feb 12 2013. Doors open at 6 pm for networking. The workshop will begin at 6:30

Where: QNX, 1001 Farrar Road, Kanata (map)

Slides from Agile Ottawa – The Lean Startup – June 12, 2012

Thanks very much to our speakers Peter Hanschke, Jim Leask and Glenn Schmelzle for a great job describing their use of Lean Startup principles and practices!

Here are the slides from the introduction to The Lean Startup, with the links to external resources on the last page.

We hope to see you all at the session on June 21st!

June 2012 Agile Tuesday, June 12th Meetup – The Lean Startup

The Lean Startup method created by Eric Ries has been gaining significant popularity over the past couple of years. A natural extension of the popular Agile methods, it focuses on delivering much smaller ‘slices’ of products and acting on real customer feedback rather than the more traditional big-bang startup approach. Even though the name suggests that it’s geared towards startup companies, the approach can be used even in existing private and public sector organizations of all sizes when building new systems or products.

This session will feature several local entrepreneurs who are actively using Lean Startup in their work, and they’ll talk about how they’ve applied it, and the peaks and valleys of adopting this new approach!

We’re pleased to announce that this event will be hosted in the Lounge at Shopify, 126 York St. in the Byward Market (in the Major Building), Suite 200 (map here).  For those using public transit, OC Transpo Route 1 passes nearby on Dalhousie St.

Doors open at 6:00 with networking until 6:30 when the session begins.

RSVP is requested, but not required, at http://www.meetup.com/Ottawa-Scrum-Users-Group/events/68136362/

Agile Ottawa Retrospective Followup Notes

Notes from Agile Ottawa Retrospective – these notes mostly come from memory. Under normally circumstances you wouldn’t publish notes from a retrospective however the group in attendance granted their permission.

The original plan for the Retrospective, included some activities that we decided not to run, when you’re facilitating a roomful of facilitators sometimes it just makes sense to go with the flow.

Checkin – “In a word or two what are your hopes for this Retrospective”

Two trends appeared How to improve our process over the coming year

  • Want to learn more about conducting retrospectives both in general and for a user group


  • For the venues that were provided (Adobe, You I Labs, Momentous and Bank St?)
  • For the food that has frequently appeared
  • There were several more but I didn’t take notes here.

Retrospective Timeline (see: http://www.thekua.com/rant/category/retrospective-exercises/)

See attached pictures for some of the data we managed to generate. If we had more prep time as you would working with a team over a release you could generate **much** richer data (i.e. commit patterns, commit comments, build failures, …). Along with facts, we also spent time noting our emotions our the events.

Report out with Synthesis (small group work to find issues, with Report back to the whole)

To speed things along Glenn suggested we got to Dot Voting (6 votes a person). There was general consensus, so we gathered actionable items from the timeline into: Happy, Neutral and Unhappy columns. Sadly I didn’t think to take a picture of the lists.

We also skipped Circle of questions and went directly to discussion/SMART Goals. In theory we timeboxed each item to 10 minutes. In practice a roomful of facilitators needs practice timeboxing.

All notes in this section are heavily paraphrased please


Item #1 with 7 votes: Late/No Planning -> Late announcements -> Need to Improve Organization.


It was noted that our organization seems sporadic, i.e. we’re well organized for one event and for others we’re not at all organized. In particular there was no early May event and the Retrospective was organized very last minute.

SMART Goals:

- Use Pairs to Plan meetings – each meeting would have one pair who’re responsible for finding the venue, food, making announcements (Meetup, LinkedIn, Mailing Lists and Blog). But not for finding the topic/speaker.

- Have a Rolling Window of Events ~3 mths out so that we can better always be sure to have. There were two suggestions for make this list available either via Trello or Uservoice. This is something we need to have more discussion around. It was even suggested (by Jim L.) that we try maintaining a backlog a year out.

Item #2 Not enough Organizers – 6 votes


The problem might be not enough active organizers, especially by year end when we all seem to burn out at the same time. It was asked if “Use Pairs to Plan meetings” might alleviate this problem. In addition Glenn told us how that Agile New England spend time (15-30 minutes) every meeting to discussing organizational mechanics and administration. Glenn’s thesis is that increases the engagement of attendees.


We didn’t create a SMART Goal. Although I would like to propose one:

Contact the organizers of Agile New England and find out what they do.

Item #3 Too Man Events per month 2x month feels like alot – 5 votes


We discussed the history and different approaches of the two original groups. Since the majority of the people present were from the old “Downtown” crowd and only “Kanata/Scrum” person we agreed to skip the item.

Item #4 We like the different Agenda styles: speaker, group discussion etc.


Glenn mentioned Agile New England has an Agile 101 portion of every event. Again we didn’t create a SMART goal but I would like to propose:

Contact the organizers of Agile New England and find out what they do.

Item #5 Need to handle money $$$$


It was pointed out that we may need to handle money in the not distant future, i.e. money left from Agile Coach Camp etc. That would likely require we register as a not for profit.

The challenge is now is following through on these Goals