It is that time of year again – nomination season for the Agile San Diego Agile Awards!!  Agile San Diego is proud to continue their tradition of offering two awards to recognize Agile excellence in San Diego County – the Agile San Diego Team Excellence Award and Agilist of the Year.  This year, were are highlighting the contributions teams and individuals during 2014.  Nominations are due to the Agile San Diego Awards Committee by midnight, April 15th, 2015.

The Agile San Diego Team Excellence Award will be awarded to a local team that is running a successful business using a truly Agile philosophy – Scrum, XP, Lean, Kanban or a home grown variant of Agile that works for you and delivers results.  Our winners last year were the Hunter Industries Mob Programming team.  Teams will be evaluated in four categories essential for Agile success - Business Value, Culture, Customer & Technical.  We request that you write a short paragraph discussing your team’s brilliance in each category to help understand why your team is the best.  To nominate your team for the Agile San Diego Team Excellence Award, submit a completed nomination form by the April 15th deadline.

The Agilist of the Year award recognizes an influential individual that has made an impact on our community in the past year.  Our 2013 winner of the Agilist of the Year was Woody Zuill.  To submit a nomination (for yourself or someone else), please describe the individual’s contribution to the San Diego Agile community and why you find this person to be important, relevant and impactful in San Diego County.  Possible reasons a person may be nominated for this award include, but are not limited to, spreading Agile ideas/philosophy, guiding/growing the local community, educating others in Agile-related topics, and advocating Agile practices.  Submissions can be as short as a few sentences and should not exceed 1,000 words.

The winning team and individual will be announced at Scrum Day San Diego on June 12th 2015.  Email nominations to agileaward@agilesandiego.org before April 15th.


Startup weekend was founded in 2007 with the goal of bringing people together and empowering them to create a startup in 54 hours. Even though many participants attend only with the goals of expanding their networks and their skillset, the Startup Weekend website says that over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months, and roughly 80% of participants plan on continuing working with their team or startup after the weekend. How can real business be established on such an insane timeline? This talk takes you through the ways that Startup Weekend teaches and encourages Lean and Agile approaches over the course of a very intense weekend.

Our speaker, Lindsay Dayton LaShell began her career in technology way back in the Bay Area in the late nineties. Since then, she’s worked for funded startups, bootstrapped projects and marketing agencies, with a brief detour into the wilds of public education. Now, she uses her diverse background to help clients craft meaningful and efficient approaches to their digital marketing. Always a participant and planner in community events, she attended her first Startup Weekend in 2008 and is currently the lead organizer for an upcoming Startup Weekend, focused on encouraging and empowering female entrepreneurship in San Diego. When she’s not planning an event or writing a strategy brief, Lindsay will probably be in North Park, eating, drinking and knitting with her unassuming husband Paul and her adorable dog, Waffles.

To hear all about Startup Weekend, join us this Thursday, February 5th at 6pm, at the offices of Mitchell International. Pizza and beer will be provided courtesy of VersionOne. Please RSVP to joonspoon@joonspoon.com



“As a small team of 8 engineers at Monk Development, we could not have predicted the impact we would have on the rest of our company when we decided to base our software development process on Open Allocation. We turned into self organizing teams which broke through silos of functional disciplines with a vengeance. This talk takes you through how 2014 went down for us. ” – Etienne de Bruin


What is “No Estimates”, anyway?

As a starting point, here is a working definition of “No Estimates”:

#NoEstimates is a hashtag for the topic of exploring alternatives to estimates [of time, effort, cost] for making decisions in software development. That is, ways to make decisions with “No Estimates”.

What will we do?

Woody Zuill will facilitate an information gathering exercise to help us get a shared idea of our current understanding and use of estimates. After that, Woody will ramble on aimlessly about “No Estimates” until everyone has fallen asleep.  Bring a pillow.

Our speaker, Woody Zuill, has presented on this topic both nationally and internationally, and is considered the originator of the “#NoEstimates” hashtag on Twitter.

The meeting will begin at 6pm, Thursday December 4th, at Mitchell International on Greenwich Drive. Directions are here.

Many thanks to VersionOne for sponsoring the beer and pizza.


Is your Scrum team struggling to quickly remove impediments to development during their Sprints? Does your team often forget to accomplish improvement actions that emerged during Sprint Retrospectives because they lost track of them? Perhaps these impediments and improvement actions could be more visible than they are!

Join us at the next Agile San Diego meeting where Gary Moore will show us some better ways of handling impediments, and some improvement actions that have greater transparency, participation and structure.

Gary is an Agile/Scrum coach and trainer based in San Diego. He has trained and coached multiple teams at a number of organizations with their adoption and practice of Scrum and other Agile methods.

The meeting will begin at 6pm, Thursday November 6th, at Mitchell International on Greenwich Drive. Directions are here.

Many thanks to VersionOne for sponsoring the beer and pizza.


When teams are introduced to Agile, it’s usually through the Scrum framework. But where does the backlog come from? What happens between “this project has gotten approved” and “this project has a robust backlog”?

In this talk, you will learn how to:
- Create quantifiable project goals and success measures
- Create, refine, and prioritize user types for your product
- Define the major features of a product
- Create, size, and refine user stories for your product

Tirrell Payton is a San Diego-based consultant, coach, and trainer. He helps companies build high performing teams and delightful products.

Come join us for this talk on Thursday, October 2nd at 6pm.


At the end of last month I was hunting around the Scrum Alliance website and noticed there was this group called “San Diego SCRUM User Group“.  Obviously, this group is defunct since I have never heard of them and so I submitted an application to have Agile San Diego – one of the oldest Agile communities in the US – be recognized as an official Scrum Usergroup.  As I researched more, it seems that what our group is about – sharing, community, excellence – is consistent with the usergroup guiding principles set out by the Scrum Alliance.

So what has changed for us?  Today – not that much.  We are still community powered and we are still Agile agnostic (well – except for XP because EVERYONE knows XP is the best Agile method).  Being an official Scrum usergroup is an extra benefit for Agile San Diego members seeking to become a Certified Scrum Professionals and those people can earn up to 1 to 1.5 Category A SEU for attending an Agile San Diego meeting.  If all of this is just Greek to you – you can ignore that.

For the rest of people not interested in CSP (nor the Scrum Alliance), what is your benefit?  I suspect in the future we will begin to see more new people at our meetings.  We may talk more Scrum, but June and I will work hard to make sure there is a good balance of topics.

Finally, this is our link to the official landing page on the Scrum Alliance website.  If you are a member of the Scrum Alliance, please click the link at the bottom of this page to join our group and build our numbers.  If you are a member of the old user group, please leave that group and join this new one!


What an amazingly Agile day organized by Carlton Nettleton. Very little Scrum was talked of and the speakers did the San Diego Agile community proud :)


Lean and Agile management practices are solidly anchored in the understanding and continued study of complex adaptive systems. Theoretical development and business application of queuing theory, network theory, systems dynamics and complexity theory have paralleled and intersected with the evolution of our modern way of doing things. While rote application of Lean/Agile practices can be successful and a good dose of learning about their underlying principles can enhance success, a good grasp of the science behind it all can be extremely value to Agile practitioners at any level.

 In this session we will help participants gain familiarity with some basic systems concepts and create a foundation for further study. Systems and their dynamics are inherently counter intuitive, making it difficult to apply them successfully in our contemporary world where simple reactions and short term fixes are more popular. We will take a brief tour of the most relevant systems-based tools for thinking, envisioning and problem solving, stopping at a few locations to demonstrate through simple examples.

 By the end of this session, participants will hopefully have an expanded vocabulary for talking about complex issues and one or more ways of thinking about them. Topics will include feedback dynamics, local sub- optimization, unintended consequences, emergent system behaviors, queuing dynamics, the Cynefin model and the concept of the Learning Organization. We will discuss the applicability of each to a typical Agile transformation scenario.


Roger Brown is an independent Agile Coach, providing training, consulting & coaching services in Scrum project management and enterprise Agile adoption. He also sometimes provides coaching & mentoring in agile engineering practice.

A veteran software engineer, Roger is an experienced technical project manager and people manager. He has worked with both large and small companies in many industries, and his work experience includes Dartmouth College, Vicinity Corporation, Microsoft and TeleAtlas. Roger is focused on helping companies and individuals find their own best approaches to the use of agile methods.

 Roger is a Certified Scrum Coach and Trainer and has an M.S. in System Dynamics from Dartmouth College. He has recently moved to San Diego to spend more time with family and the Pacific Ocean.

Please note:

The meeting will begin at 6pm at our new location at Mitchell. Directions are here: http://www.agilesandiego.org/monthly-meeting/

Many thanks to VersionOne for sponsoring the beer and pizza.


Come for an evening of dialogue with Diana Larsen, doyenne and sojourner in the many various fields of Agile. With no prepared slides or lecture, we’ll rely on everyone’s experience to hold a spontaneous dialogue with you and your colleagues about real challenges you face today. We’ll focus on your specific, real-time questions, challenges, dilemmas, and issues about agile, adoptions, teams, retrospectives, liftoffs, managing, leadership, complexity, learning, and more. Invite Diana to discuss whatever is top of your mind! Our moderator will collect and aggregate questions, sort them into topic areas, and invite the questioners to join Diana in a time-boxed conversation. We’ll get through as many topic areas as possible between networking and close. Join us!

Diana is a founding partner of FutureWorks Consulting. She is considered an international authority in the areas of Agile software development, team leadership, and Agile transitions. Deeply in tune with how work teams grow, adapt, and develop, she co-authored “Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great”; “Liftoff: Launching Agile Teams and Projects”; “Quickstart Guide to Five Rules for Accelerated Learning”; and most recently the Path Through Agile Fluency model, described in the article, “Your Path Through Agile Fluency: A Brief Guide to Success with Agile” at www.agilefluency.com

An active contributor to her professional community, Diana is a former chair and board member for Agile Alliance, and current board member of Organization Design Forum, Agile Open Northwest, and Language Hunters. She is also an Associate of the Human Systems Dynamics Institute. Follow her on Twitter (@DianaOfPortland) and (@FutureWks).

Since this is a rare appearance by Diana in San Diego, space will be limited. Please register here for a free ticket.

Diana’s visit was made possible by a grant from the Agile Alliance speaker reimbursement program.