August 11th Lunch Meeting “The Product Owner Role”

What does the Product Owner actually do? Are they just a glorified business analyst? Does it have to be one person? Is it a full time job? Are they a member of the Scrum Team? Are they a pig or a chicken?

Product Owner

Join us for the answer to these and other questions about the Product Owner role.

As usual, this event is free and lunch is provided by our sponsor Vaco. No need to register, just show up!

When: Monday, August 11th at 12:00 Noon

Where: Vaco office at 5410 Maryland Way, Suite 110, Brentwood, TN 37027

Attend Remotely
Can’t make in person? Dial into our conference call number and attend remotely.
Dial-in Number: (641) 715-3395   Access Code: 797157# (NOTE: New number!)

July 14th Lunch Meeting “What Exactly Does a Scrum Master Do?”

The role of Scrum Master in the Agile framework Scrum often gets confused with a multitude of other traditional roles such as Project Manager, Functional Manager, etc. So what does a Scrum Master actually do? We know they are supposed to be a servant leader that empowers the team to self manage but what the heck does that mean? Are they just some Agile spiritual guide with no real responsibilities? Do they actually “own” anything?

Scrum Master

Come join us to join the discussion and tell us what you think. What does your Scrum Master do? Do you think they are doing enough? Are they taking ownership of too much?

As usual, this event is free and lunch is provided by our sponsor Vaco. No need to register, just show up!

When: Monday, July 14th at 12:00 Noon

Where: Vaco office at 5410 Maryland Way, Suite 110, Brentwood, TN 37027

Attend Remotely
Can’t make in person? Dial into our conference call number and attend remotely.
Dial-in Number: (213) 493-0800   Access Code: 797157#

June 9th Lunch Meeting “Managing Risk in Agile Projects”

If software development were easy, everyone would do it! But alas our best laid plans are beset with many dangers. How do we identify and manage the multitude of risks to our Agile projects? Do the mechanisms from more traditional software development still work? Come join the discussion as we try to figure that out!

youchainsaw

 

As usual, this event is free and lunch is provided by our sponsor Vaco. No need to register, just show up!

When: Monday, June 9th at 12:00 Noon

Where: Vaco office at 5410 Maryland Way, Suite 110, Brentwood, TN 37027

Attend Remotely
Can’t make in person? Dial into our conference call number and attend remotely.
Dial-in Number: (213) 493-0800   Access Code: 797157#

“Scale Agile SAFely” Wednesday, May 21st, 6 PM

Join us for this presentation on scaling Agile with some free food and a chance to win a Google ChromeCast presented by the Nashville Agile User GroupRally Software and Vaco.

Synopsis

A decade of practical industry experience with Agile has shown that teams using Agile practices have three times the success rate of projects using traditional waterfall development methods. The value of Agile can also occur at scale, where it delivers these benefits more broadly across your organization. Imagine how improved time to market, reduced development costs, and higher quality software would impact the goals your entire organization is trying to achieve. Don’t leave your Agile transformation up to chance. It’s too big a shift to make without choosing the right framework and partner.

Please RSVP here.

May 12th Lunch Meeting “Release Ready at the End of Each Sprint”

In the Agile framework Scrum you are supposed to deliver a release ready product increment at the end of each Sprint (or time boxed iteration). With Sprints set at 2 to 3 weeks many teams struggle to actually meet this goal and are frequently having to push stories into the next Sprint. Why does this keep happening? What can we do about it? Why is it so darn important to have a release ready deliverable when we don’t plan to release to our customer yet anyway?

death-star

This meeting we’ll discuss why and how we deliver release ready product increments at the end of each Sprint. We’ll talk about the common issues that prevent us from achieving that goal as well. Experiencing the same problem? Come tell us your woes. Already got this handled? Share with us how you did it!

As usual, this event is free and lunch is provided by our sponsor Vaco. No need to register, just show up!

When: Monday, May 12th at 12:00 Noon

Where: Vaco office at 5410 Maryland Way, Suite 110, Brentwood, TN 37027

Attend Remotely
Can’t make in person? Dial into our conference call number and attend remotely.
Dial-in Number: (213) 493-0800   Access Code: 797157#

NEW DATE! April 21st Meeting “Writing Good User Stories (Part 2)”

Due to a scheduling conflict we are moving the April lunch meeting to the 3rd Monday on April 21st.

The Neverending User Story

Based on the votes from our topic voting site, it looks like the topic of writing good user stories is our topic once again (see our post from last October’s meeting here). Since this is an ever popular topic we decided to do this meeting a little different and make it a facilitated workshop. Bring examples of your own User Stories to share and we will as a group write a few fictional ones to try and illustrate good qualities for stories.

As usual, this event is free and lunch is provided by our sponsor Vaco. No need to register, just show up!

When: Monday, April 21st at 12:00 Noon

Where: Vaco office at 5410 Maryland Way, Suite 110, Brentwood, TN 37027

Attend Remotely
Can’t make in person? Dial into our conference call number and attend remotely.
Dial-in Number: (213) 493-0800   Access Code: 797157#

March 10th Lunch Meeting “Dealing with Hard Deadlines”

Hard deadlines are a fact of life in business. Whether we are trying to get to market before a competitor, trying to get some functionality in before a critical trade show, or the CEO promised it to the client over a round of golf; there are just some instances where the date must be met.

Agile Deadlines

But in Agile where we stress planning for the immediate future we can’t promise functionality by a certain future date, right? The truth us that there is room on both sides of the fence from slicing down scope to the minimal viable product to meet a date or maintaining a bit more detailed plan than normally prescribed.

This month we are talking about how to deal with hard deadlines in an Agile environment and we’d love to hear your thoughts.

As usual, this event is free and lunch is provided by our sponsor Vaco. No need to register, just show up!

When: Monday, March 10th at 12:00 Noon

Where: Vaco office at 5410 Maryland Way, Suite 110, Brentwood, TN 37027

Attend Remotely
Can’t make in person? Dial into our conference call number and attend remotely.
Dial-in Number: (213) 493-0800   Access Code: 797157#

Esther Derby “Coaching Beyond the Team: Influencing the Organization” Class in Atlanta March 19 – 20

Esther Derby is hosting a class “Coaching Beyond the Team: Influencing the Organization” in Atlanta on March 19th through 20th. Esther is a fantastic instructor and anyone who is ready to extend their Agile adoption from the team to throughout their company should definitely take a look. For more information click here.

Esther Derby

 

 

February 10th Lunch Meeting “Moving from Waterfall to Agile”

How do you get a company that is entrenched in the ways of traditional, waterfall project management to try (let alone embrace) the values and principles of Agile? Do we make incremental changes? Rip off the band-aid and adopt everything all at once? Start small? Wait for management buy in or try it with a small team first? This month we will discuss how we have introduced Agile into our waterfall processes and our successes and failures. Come join the discussion and tell us your war stories!

monkwaterfall

As usual, this event is free and lunch is provided by our sponsor Vaco. No need to register, just show up!

When: Monday, February 10th at 12:00 Noon

Where: Vaco office at 5410 Maryland Way, Suite 110, Brentwood, TN 37027

Attend Remotely
Can’t make in person? Dial into our conference call number and attend remotely.
Dial-in Number: (213) 493-0800   Access Code: 797157#

January Meeting Recap “Agile Release Planning”

2014.Jan.ReleasePlanningWe had a great crowd for this month’s meeting discussing “Agile Release Planning”. It was a very active session and the most common feedback was “So everyone else is having issues with this too!”

Most of the attendees said they had these main issues that affected their release planning:

  • Lack of Product Ownership – Without someone acting in a leadership role who can make the tough decisions on what exactly constitutes Minimal Viable Product, teams can struggle with too many inputs, too large a scope, and lack of direction.
  • Set Scope and Dates – Almost everyone complained that management dictates the scope of their projects as well as the dates, often not accepting any deviation from either. We all agreed that in most of those situations, no methodology will save you. Here is an interesting post on the subject.
  • Estimates Are Taken as a Promise of Delivery – Estimating and planning are two very different activities. In Scrum specifically, the Scrum Team estimates items on their Product Backlog, but their proven Velocity is what is used to formulate a forecast.

A few years ago I wrote this post called “Agile Release Planning 101″ which covers one simple approach to creating a release plan in Excel. The concepts can apply to pretty much any tool. At the bottom of the post there are some links to other sites with more information on the topic.

Thanks to everyone who attended!