Feb 10 2015: An Agile Ottawa Film Festival

For our February meetup, we’ve got a great lineup of films about Agile. We’ll kick off the evening with a curated selection of very short videos covering a variety of Agile topics including how to be a great Product Owner, and how not to be a great Scrum Master. The feature presentation will be an exclusive video from Scrum co-creator Jeff Sutherland exploring his new book “Twice the Work in Half the Time”. Following the films, we’ll do a festival Q&A and give away a few copies of Jeff’s new book.

Agile 101 – Scrum Myth or Fact.  We’ll do a quick overview of how Scrum works before breaking up into small teams to test your knowledge of the Scrum events in an interactive quiz!

Doors open at 6 pm for networking and pizza.

Agile 101 begins at 6:15 pm.

The feature presentation will begin at 7:00 pm.

After the meetup, we will self-organize to continue the conversation at a local pub.

RSVP via the meetup group. (You can always show up without reserving, but it helps us figure out how much food to arrange!)

October Agile Ottawa Event – Estimation

October meetup has been posted for Agile Ottawa… Mark Levison (@mlevison) of Agile Pain Relief will be our main presenter and is tackling the tricky topic of “Estimation”. Agile 101 session will come to us thanks to Bill Bourne (@abbourne) on yet another tricky topic… “What does an Agile Manager do?”

To register for this free event, please RSVP to our meetup here:


See you on October 14th!

Agile Ottawa – September Event – Announcement and Links

Thanks to Phil Green (twitter: @pg5150) for his engaging workshop on “User Story Mapping” this week.  Thank you also to all who came out and participated in the event… we had a packed house and a great time.

As promised, here are some useful links of upcoming events in the Agile community.  Agile Ottawa’s next session will be downtown… still looking for a location for this event.  If anyone can volunteer some space, please reach out to us… we look forward to seeing you at our next event!

Agile Pain Relief – kind sponsors of pizza – has a few upcoming courses taking place in Ottawa for Certified Product Owners and Certified ScrumMasters – for more details, please take a look here: http://agilepainrelief.com

Gatineau Ottawa Agile Tour (GOAT) is still accepting proposals (deadline is September 15th) for speakers and rumours are the team is getting close to selecting keynote speakers. Mark your calendar for November 24th 2014. Tickets go on sale October 1st.  http://goagiletour.ca/

Scrum.Org is in town at the end of the Month, hosting a Professional Scrum Developer Train the Trainer Event.  For more details: https://www.scrum.org/Become-a-Trainer/PSD-Train-the-Trainer-Ottawa-2014

YouILabs – kind volunteers of space for the September AO event – have postings open for all kinds of Agile folks.  For more details: http://www.youi.tv/careers/

Agile 101 – For a complete list of the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto, go to: http://agilemanifesto.org/


Calling all Agilistas! Another Year of Agile Ottawa is Ready to Go!

The volunteer organizers of Agile Ottawa have been busy bees over the summer as we prepare for another year of Agile Ottawa meetup events.  In addition, our group is taking on a greater leadership role in organizing the Gatineau Ottawa Agile Tour conference coming in November.  Call for speakers deadline is Sept. 15th, see details below.

If you can’t wait until November to get your dose of Agile, then we suggest coming out to our first event of the year. Graciously hosted by YouILabs and with pizza provided by Agile Pain Relief, Phil Green (twitter: @pg5150) will present a User Story Mapping Workshop on Tuesday, September 9th. For details and to register: http://www.meetup.com/Ottawa-Scrum-Users-Group/events/203163212/

We look forward to bringing you Agile meetups every second Tuesday of the month again for another year… if you have a suggestion for a topic or would like to present at AO, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  Hope to see you soon!

GOAT 2014 Call for Speakers – Appel aux conférenciers

Gatineau Ottawa Agile Tour 2014 Call for Speakers

The Gatineau  Ottawa Agile Tour (#GOAT14) is a one day conference around the theme of Agility applied to software development, management, marketing, product management and other areas of today’s businesses. This year’s event will take place on Monday, November 24th 2014. We are looking for engaging and inspirational speakers for this year’s Gatineau / Ottawa Agile Tour. If you are interested in speaking, please submit a proposal by completing the online form at  http://confengine.com/gatineau-ottawa-agile-tour-2014.  Presentations may be offered in English or in French.

The organizing committee will select speakers based on the following criteria

  • Learning potential for and appeal to participants
  • Practicality and usefulness/applicability of content to the workplace
  • Overall program balance Speaker’s experience and reputation
  • Interactive elements (i.e. exercises, simulations, questions…)

All interested speakers must submit their proposal by Sunday September 15th at 23:59pm

La Tournée agile Gatineau – Ottawa 2014 Appel aux conférenciers

La Tournée agile Gatineau – Ottawa (#GOAT14) est une journée de présentations et d’ateliers sur le thème des méthodes agiles et de leur application dans tous les domaines d’affaire, incluant bien sûr le développement de logiciel, mais aussi la gestion et le marketing. L’événement se tiendra le lundi 24 novembre 2014.

Nous cherchons des conférenciers captivants avec un message inspirant pour l’édition 2014 de la Tournée Agile Gatineau / Ottawa. Si vous être intéressé à présenter, veuillez soumettre votre proposition à http://confengine.com/gatineau-ottawa-agile-tour-2014 en remplissant le formulaire.  Les présentations peuvent être en français ou en anglais.

Le comité de sélection choisira les conférenciers sur la base des critères suivants:

  • Attrait pour les participants et potential d’apprentissage
  • Emphase sur les aspects pratiques, et utilité du contenu en milieu de travail
  • Équilibre du programme
  • Expérience et réputation du conférencier
  • Portions interactives (càd: exercices, simulations, questions…)

Toutes les propositions doivent être envoyées avant 23:59 le dimanche 14 septembre 2014

Software Methodologies Experiment – The Marshmallow Challenge

This is a summary of this meetup held on May 13, 2014 at YouILab

Ellen, Glenn and Caroline started the night with Agile 101s on different software methodologies.

Once Glenn pulled out his outstanding explanation of Waterfall, Ellen made a swift introduction to Scrum followed by Caroline who gently disclosed the secret behind Kanban.

Once the pizzas were distributed, bellies were filled and our minds were settled we were ready for action. It also occurred to me once again; YouILabs had an amazing lunch area. Well disposed, properly lighten up with comfortable chairs all around different types of tables. Some of them were round tables, encouraging a neutral collaboration whereas others where rectangular. A very Agile space…

The concept of the night was to experiment with using different software methodologies by solving the Marshmallow Challenge. You can read more about The Marshmallow Challenge here.

Our Setup:

  • 5 persons per team
  • 3 Kanban Teams
  • 2 Scrum Teams
  • 2 Waterfall Teams

Each team was given a simplified version of Kanban, Scrum and Waterfall to help them solve the Marshmallow Challenge…

The Kanban team was given two practices: “Visualize Work” and “Limit WIP” as well as three principles to help guide their effort: “Start with what you know”; “Evolutionary change”; “Leadership at all levels”.

The Scrum Team had to identify a Product Owner, a Scrummaster and a development team and had to complete the challenge in 2 Sprints, 6 minutes each.

The Waterfall team had to decide of the design first then implement the design. The designers were different than the developers and they couldn’t talk to each other. Interestingly, one team had 3 designers / 2 developers and the other team had the opposite. Their marshmallow tower had to be identical as the design document produced by the designers.

While the 18 minutes were flying by I could see some team struggling with designs, communication and some of them were quickly fighting gravity. 4 teams out of 7 successfully made a standing tower with the marshmallow on top. They were in between 20 to 22 inches tall.

Unfortunately, one Scrum team and none of the Waterfall teams were able to make it in 18 min. Although their designs were fantastic, there was no free standing tower by the end of the challenge. The Scrum team tried to make such large step as their last increment; once the marshmallow was placed on top: the tower simply couldn’t stand…

Challenge completed, the teams completed a quick survey to get a sense of how well they performed as a team, as individuals and how well their methodology helped them to solve the problem. This created some good discussion with the group and generated a few “a-ha” moments. For instance, as we were leaving, a participant pointed out how the Waterfall teams seemed to rate their performance as individuals higher than the team’s performance… whereas the Scrum and Kanban team members rated their team performance higher than their individual performances on the challenge.  Hum… sound familiar… ?

Thanks to everyone who came out to play and shared in the experience of building marshmallow towers… Agile Ottawa is lucky to have such a lively group  of experimenters!  Looking forward to seeing you all again at our next event!!!

I think the night wouldn’t have this immense success without the support of our sponsors:

While Agile Pain Relief provided this delicious pizza, YouILabs provided a great meetup space. Thanks to Mark Levison (Agile Pain Relief), Andrew Emmons and Phil Green (YouILabs) for their help.

A few words on the upcoming Agile events:

  1. Signup quickly to an Agile 110 course with Agile Pain Relief at the beginning of June. More details can be found here 
  2. You will also find Agile Pain Relief as a sponsor of the upcoming Agile Coach Camp that will be held June 6-8, 2014 at the University of Guelph, Ontario.
  3. YouILabs is looking for Agilists to fill many different positions.
  4. Glenn and Ellen will host a Back of the Room Training on June 5-6 in Guelph.

Secrets of Agile Success – Minutes From Our “Success Faire”

Once again, the Agile Ottawa community did not disappoint… The evening started with an engaging session on Core Protocols, facilitated by our own Ellen Grove.  Ellen covered the basics of Core Protocols and lead a very effective exercise where the group had the chance to try out the protocols on each other.

In the spirit of this, we moved on to exercising one of these protocols in more detail… the “Brag Protocol”.  Participants shared stories of Agile success, we promptly applauded and cheered on…  and we attempted to capture the source of these successful stories.

Without further ado… here are a few secrets for achieving Agile success captured from our meetup:

1. Allow the team to express their opinions in anonymity to help reveal the truth.

2. Bring a ball to standup. Rather than “follow order” throw the ball around to choose who speaks next… this can lead to interesting conversations and new interactions.

3. Need people to take the lead? As the team for volunteers, you’ll discover that (given the opportunity) people WILL step forward.

4. The antidote to despair on a project is empowerment. Start fixing problems.

5. If you keep sharing Agile stories and lessons with the team; over time, you will find that you are transforming people in great ways that you didn’t anticipate.

6. Formulating the project “requirements” as “problems”, allows creative ideas to come forth and empowers the team.

7. Mob programming is a great way to “gel” a new team together and build Agile skills. It’s also an effective way to solve problems.

8. Creating a safe place to work allows the team to make mistakes and grow.

9. Looking at a laundry list of a backlog? Turn that list sideways and narrow it down to the most important stories.  Creating a reasonable scope of work means more work gets done… and less time is spent talking about it.

10. Transforming a team’s physical space (e.g. take down those walls) creates opportunities for the team to share and work in new and more effective ways.

11. Create opportunities for teams to share their different experiences with each other… being able to visualize work is key to making this happen on a regular basis.

12. Confront those monsters! Often problems that appear impossible or extremely hard to fix can be resolved quickly by working openly and collaboratively.

Thank you to all who participated and shared their experiences with the group.