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!

 

January 13th Lunch Meeting “Agile Release Planning”

crystal-ball

Since we are Agile we just start coding and never give any dates, right? Not so much. Businesses need some understanding of when things will be delivered and often have hard dates that must be met. How can you promise anything when you are only planning 2 sprints ahead? You can’t set hard deadlines in Scrum! Right? This month we are going to talk about techniques for planning releases in an Agile environment such as Scrum or Kanban. How are you doing this currently? Drop by and join the conversation.

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

When: Monday, January 13th 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#

December 9th Lunch Meeting “Agile Alternatives to Scrum”

While Scrum is definitely the current most popular flavor of Agile, there are many other approaches each with their own merits. From the evolutionary management of flow with Lean/Kanban to the more engineering focus of Extreme Programming, this month we want to talk about all things NOT Scrum. Are you using one of these alternate methods? Come join our conversation on  these other methods and what their similarities and differences are.

Agile Sampler

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

When: Monday, December 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#

November 11th Lunch Meeting “Dealing with Dependencies”

In Agile, especially in Scrum, promotes crafting independent user stories that can be completed on their own in a single Sprint. Often in the real world with large, complex systems stories can have dependencies on legacy systems that are difficult to change and owned by other teams that may not be working in an Agile environment themselves. How do we deal with identifying these types of stories and then complete to our definition of done in a Sprint? How are you dealing with these? Come join the conversation!

house of cards1

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

When: Monday, November 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: (213) 493-0800   Access Code: 797157#

October Lunch Meeting Recap “Writing Good User Stories”

October Meeting White Board

 

We had a great turnout for out October lunch meeting with 36 people attending in person and 7 people dialing into the conference call (several from out of state). Here are some links to some of the topics we covered:

  • “User Stories Applied” by Mike Cohn is generally considered the definitive reference for writing good user stories.
    • This is a link to a video of Mike doing his presentation Intro to User Stories.
  • We mentioned the INVEST principle for determining if a user story is well written.
  • Conditions of Satisfaction were also covered and here are a few articles on that subject:
    • An article by Mike Cohn about using Conditions of Satisfaction to write contracts for Agile development.
    • A short post on the qualities of good acceptance criteria.
    • This article covers writing Conditions of Satisfaction in the Given/When/Then syntax and how to use them as tests.
  • The difference between the Definition of Done and Conditions of Satisfaction came up and here is a post by Mike Cohn (again) about it.
    • Here is a another good article on DoD at different levels.
  • Product backlog grooming seemed to mean something different to a few different groups. In this post the practice is described as I have commonly used it, and in this article the practice is given a more leery approach (but it has some good ideas about not getting too much detail).
  • I mentioned the concept of Agile Fluency that was created by Diana Larsen and James Shore.

Thanks to everyone who attended!

October 14th Lunch Meeting “Writing Good User Stories”

“As a Agile Enthusiast I want to write great user stories so that I can have awesome user stories.”

 If only it were that easy. Writing good user stories is part science, part art, part voodoo. From creating good conditions of acceptance to slicing stories to fit in a sprint but still add some customer value, everyone has struggled with this seemingly simple idea. We will talk about the qualities of good stories, when to get into more detail, how to decompose and slice stories, and more. Come join the conversation!

Once Upon a Time

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

When: Monday, October 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#