April 2019 Meetup

Our meetup last night was the best one yet. We had no less than 4 professional Agile coaches in attendance!

Joel Robinson and Art Snyder led a “Lean Coffee” exercise where we all decided on topics to discuss using post-it notes. As we wrote them, we stuck them on the whiteboard.

Our Board at the beginning of the exercise
Our Topics

Once we had all the topics on the board, we each got to vote three times by putting a dot on a post-it note for each note. Everybody could use their three votes however they wanted, such as putting all three votes on one topic, if they really wanted to discuss that.

After we voted, Joel and Art resorted the board based on the number of votes, and also “clustered” any similar topics together. Then, Joel moved the first topic from the “OPTIONS” column to the “DOING” column, and we began the discussion.

We agreed that each topic would get five minutes of discussion, and if we liked how to discussion on the topic was going, we could extend it 3 mins (repeatedly, if we wanted), until we felt like the topic had been adequately discussed. We used the Pareto principle of 80% being good enough and not trying to squeeze out the other 20% at the expense of other topics.

We used simple hand gesture procedures for voting (thumbs up or down) and for recognizing who wanted to speak next after the current speaker was done (hold out two crossed fingers). Joel kept order overall.

Joel and Art (the Lean Coffee experts) are standing in this pic.
“I’m agile” Roman

As we talked, people mentioned different resources which they felt were useful to the topic. We would write those down on post-in notes and put them on the board in a new “OUTCOMES” column that Joel created.

Here’s how the board looked at the end of our discussion:

Our board at the end

We came up with a great set of Outcomes/resources which I have listed here:

Outcomes / Resources

I have also added these to our Seattle Scrum Wiki on Github!

At the end of the Meetup, we did a 15 minute Retrospective, led by our organizer James Burk. Everybody answered the following questions:

  1. How did you like this format? (Including the voting and discussion gestures.) And, would you be more likely to attend the next meetup if we used it again?
  2. Did you feel like the topic you came to discuss was covered adequately?

Feedback was universally positive. One person suggested that if some of the same people come to the next Meetup, they could provide any updates on whether the ideas and outcomes/resources they were given were useful in their work.

Overall it was a great meetup and we are looking forward to the next one on Wednesday, May 1st in the same location (WeWork Lincoln Square — hopefully in a larger room!)

James’ Selfie