Saturday, May 4, 2013

Agile North Galilee meetup #1 - Minimal Viable Meetup

So we've finally had the first Agile North Galilee meetup today!

Let's start with applying some hard Scrum Values:
Openness- I'll be dead frank here - there were 3 attendees. Yes, 3.
And now that we're over that embarrasing number, let's see what the rest of the world minus 3 missed out on...

Focus - For myself I was pretty focused on having the meetup happen, this was good because.. well.. it finally happened :) For the next meet I'd like to focus on both volume (more people) and concrete value-adding content.

Courage - I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen in the meetup, nor how many people would come. I guess neither did any of the other attendees. And we came and met nontheless. that's courage to expect the unexpected for ya.

Respect - Ok I can't help being sarcastic here... remember 3 people?
Nontheless I do respect the fact that people did not come - we took a chance holding the meetup on a Friday morning - extremely nonorthodox. Also quite honestly I did not put much effort into making sure more people would come - for me this was an experiment, a sprint-zero or minimal-viable-meetup so to speak, the goal was to practice a meetup and give ourselves a chance to learn in preperation towards the next meetup which should be bigger and value-adding to the attendees. More on that later.

Commitment - The attendees drove quite long distances to come, and like I mentioned it was a Friday morning - so kudos to their commitment! it is not given for granted. I see this commitment rooted in the North Gallee's practitioners to work in general - we have people commuting long distances and pretty much willing to turn the world around in the name of commitment - to provide for our families, while holding on to our ground to keep living up here. Throughout the conversation we had I couldn't help feel the commitment for providing not only workplaces up in the North but for actually getting work done right, in high quality and personal standards.

At this point everything was still fuzzy as to how the meetup would continue...
even fuzzier than the photo. But hey - we have some good food!

So what did we do anyway?
Apparently quite a lot. We had an agenda for 5-10 people but we ditched it in favor of a free conversation, aided by a whiteboard and a cellphone for youtube (this would probably not be possible with more than 3 people... looking at the bright side).

The first half of the conversation was mainly about work oppertunities. This is a major issue up north, and obviously one of the main motivators for the group - to create and discover new and better working and business oppertunities for northern practitioners. There have been many attemps to either bring talent and funding from the Tel Aviv area up north or to provide so-called-easy commuting means for northern folks to ocommute away. Most of these attempts have failed, and my personal feeling and belief is there are wonderful, skilled folks up here already. We are sure to find new ways of creating new venues for the local talent to prosper. Grooming this talent and connecting it to worplaces is one of the goals of the North Agile Galilee group.

The second half was actually crammed with agile topics - including:
  • Our board at the end of the meet
    Automated Testing - we learned from each other about new tooling including JSystem, Fitnesse and Selenium
  • How to get work DONE-DONE in a sprint?
  • Hardening Sprints - good or evil?
  • Scaling Scrum in a large organization
  • Throwing responsibility from Dev's to QA, and back.
  • Misconceptions about what is Agile? What constitutes a successful Agile adoption? (spoiler: it's *not* about taking a 1 day course and then throwing management out the window)
  • Misconceptions about what is a ScrumMaster? We watched Adam Weisbart's Shit Bad ScrumMasters Say in comparison to (sadly) real-life examples of what a scummaster is *not* supposd to to or be...
  • The role of Product Owner as opposed to the role of Product Manager
  • How do we handle Bugs in Scrum?
  • Kanban as a means of creating evolutionary change toward agility in an existing organizatin .

My own conclusions for next time:

  • Keep bringing good food.
  • Find a way to get to support Rosh Pinna, or hold the meetup in a city the supports. Either way - registration for next time will probably be a must. 
  • The next meetup is already aimed at the Carmiel/Misgav area. Even though I will be sad to get farther down north from the Northern Galilee Area, I'm looking forward to cooperating with some good folks in that area. North is North.
  • The misconceptions about what Agile is, what Scrum is and what is or is not possible are probably more common than I'd expected. So for the next meetup maybe it would be best to go back the basics - an introduction to Agile values - how it is about individuals and interactions, using working software as a means for tracking progress, creating collaboration with customers and responding to change.
All in all I am grateful for this experience and hopeful about creating a new and strong Northern Agile community.

** Huge thanks to MATI North Galilee for providing us with room and facilities, special thanks to Daphna who drove up especially on a Friday to make sure we have everything we need and to Ilana who helped us close up afterwards! **

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