Category Archives: Agile

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:

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


Slides from January 2012 – Agile Goes Way Beyond Software

Thanks again to Dan Murphy for his presentation last night!

Dan’s slides are now available for download (PDF 1.2 MB).

See you all on January 26th for Agile Thursday… details to follow.

January 2012 Meetup: Agile Goes Way Beyond Software

** NOTE ** This is the rescheduled November 2011 event that had to be canceled last minute

Date: Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Time: Networking 6:00-6:30PM , Meeting 6:30-8:00PM

Location: The new Agile Tuesday location is Mercury Grove on 738A Bank St. between First & Second Ave.

RSVP: by not required, Free)

Agile Methods have been used for some time to develop software applications with a great deal of success, however, this presentation focuses on its application for infrastructure projects, IT project management, and service and product development initiatives.

Our speaker, Dan Murphy, has had considerable success using this approach within the Federal Government to develop new IT services as it relates to the development of IT Shared Services, and believes a more global enterprise approach is required making Agile a much more transformational element within the GC and other large public and private sector organizations.

Mr. Murphy, President of DJM Systems, is a leader in Government of Canada Information Technology strategy. While at Cisco Systems  in the late 1990’s he led the development of the “Shared Services” concept and pushed it into existence at the political level.

More recently, as an advisor  to the Senior ADM of  Transformation at Shared Services Canada, he has spearheaded the movement toward cloud computing in the Canadian Federal Government through the implementation of benchmarking programs, Agile implementation approaches and competitive marketing techniques.

First Agile Ottawa Meetup of the New Year…

… is on! As previously discussed the topic for the meetup is Agile Tools. With that in mind I am happy to announce that we have a presenter for this session. Ian Kent will present on the Agile Development/Collaboration environment that he was responsible for setting up at Nortel Networks. Continue reading

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.