Monthly Archives: November 2008

Report from the First “New” Agile Ottawa Meetup

I’d say we had a pretty successful meeting for the first of the renewed Agile Ottawa group get togethers. Fourteen people came out to join us. I heard of one person that was stuck in the lobby and could not make it up to the 2nd floor — keep pressing that buzzer — someone will answer!
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Meeting still on

The Agile Ottawa meetup is still on for this Monday November 24th. I look forward to seeing you all there and hearing what every one is up to. As mentioned on a previous post, this meeting will be fairly unstructured so we can all get to hear lots of stories and figure out what the community would like to do next. See you Monday at 7PM…

Agile Agenda for the Agile First Meetup

I would like to start off by commenting on the interest so far: it has been GREAT! It appears by some of the interest that I have been receiving that there is a fair bit of pent up demand for an Agile venue in Ottawa. Indeed, there was a venue in the past, as I have recently learned, and I feel honoured to pick up and continue from the previous group.

For the first meeting, we’ll do some short introductions including understanding what brought you to this meeting. Then we will kick right into the meeting.

My proposal is to run the first meeting like a Scrum Sprint. This meeting will be Iteration -1, where we make sure that the strategy is right and we start to form the product backlog. We’ll take ideas on what form this group would like to take, rank the ideas by the highest business value, and use the information for following iterations.

As this is a new group in the Forming phase of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing, expect some teething pains as we launch Agile Ottawa off the ground.

My biggest fear… that our room overflows and that the meeting is too successful. It is always nice to dream.

Suggestions for Lightning Talks

If you have an idea for a lightning talk for the first meeting, please post a comment. We will prioritize against what people are interested in hearing about. If you have an idea for a talk but don’t want to stand up, still post your idea here. This is a great opportunity to get to know how people are implementing Agile in their work places… just like a macro level retrospective!

Agile Meetup set to go

The first meeting of the Agile Ottawa group is set to go! The agenda for this first meeting is still being hashed out, however, one item for sure is to have a work queue priority setting meeting (Agile talk for let’s see what the group wants to hear about, and then work towards getting those presentations together).

As was discussed in the first post on this blog, the idea is to provide a place where people can congregate and share their stories, seek advice, and get to know what is happening in this town.

I look forward to the first meeting. Let’s hear your comments on the meetup!

What are Lightning Talks

Having a Meetup is about getting people together to learn from each other and network. So why have talks at a Meetup? Of course they will disseminate some information, and, hopefully useful information. More than that a lightning talk helps to break the ice and give everyone some common ground to start a bit of a discussion. The risk is low. For the speaker who may be uncomfortable, a short talk is easier to plan and deliver. For the audience they only have a short investment in time.

So what is a lightning talk. According to Wikipedia lightning talks originated at a Python conference in 1997. They are 5 minutes long, time-boxed (sound familiar!) talks. Slides are optional and if there are slides there are 3 slides at most.

Some guidelines for lightning talks:

  • Order the set of talks according to audience priority (hmmm, remind anyone of work queues?);
  • Have a timekeeper ensure that the talk keeps to 5 minutes;
  • Make your point in the first minute and use the remaining time to support your point;
  • Details don’t matter (much);
  • As I tell my son the piano student: practice, practice, practice;
  • Conclude by reafirming your point.

So what are some topics for an Agile meetup? Here are a couple, put your ideas into the comments.

  • Your favorite tools or your least favortie tools;
  • Success points on your current project or failure points on your current project;
  • How to apply Agile to a particular situation (everyone thinks THEIR project is unique);
  • How to introduce Agile… to team members… to executives.

So with this bit of knowledge in hand, what do you think? Can we gather enough people with an interest in Agile from the Ottawa community to make a successful meetup.

Thanks to Catherine Louis for the idea for this entry and also for sharing some of her knowledge about lightning talks.

Ottawa needs to talk agile!

Agile discussions in Ottawa region have dried up. There are no posts on the Agile mailing lists, the great seminars with guest speakers have vanished, companies that are using agile seem to have retreated back into their shells. It is high time to change this! I am proposing a meetup where we can all gather in a room, listen to a short presentation, and all chat about our Agile experiences and challenges. Of course it helps if we have somewhere to meet, and, that is the challenge that I could use some help with. If you have some great ideas please post in the comments. Watch this space for updates. The proposed date for the meetup is Monday November 24 at 7:00PM.

I look foward to meeting all you Agileists out there.