The Agile community is increasingly using games and play in its teaching and training curriculum.  Come explore the value of incorporating play in a work environment using the techniques of Lego® Serious Play® with Certified LSP Facilitator Paul Wynia of Work Agile Consulting.

Think about your average work meeting, notice the engagement level of everyone around the table?  Are they on their phones and laptops, falling asleep, monopolizing the discussion, or maybe just passively listening?  How much do they really even want to be there and how much, if anything is accomplished?

Learning using play is “stickier” and participants are more engaged and invested. Using Lego®, Paul will discuss the theories behind and the benefits of play and how it can be used to grow teams, explore creativity, and introduce Agile principles.  In this hands-on session, attendees will look at ways to spark innovation as well as the Agile practices of TDD, Code Refactoring, and User Story and Test Case creation.

With LSP being used everywhere from Executive Boardrooms to the United Nations, play isn’t just for kids anymore!  Come find out what they’ve known all along.

Presented by Paul Wynia:

Paul has over 18 years of software industry experience and has been involved with Agile for over 8 years.  He has led onsite Agile transformations for teams in the US, Canada, Asia, India, and Europe.  As a certified Agile Coach and Lego® Serious Play® Facilitator, Paul works closely with companies to ensure teams don’t just adopt Agile practices, but incorporate the Agile Mindset into everything they do in both fun and interesting ways.

This session will be held at our new meeting location in the SDLearn location in North Park.


I got laid off. I stopped taking a shower in the morning. I now work shooting dice. And I still know nothing about agile data warehouses. But I know Woody Zuill was wrong; he told me so.

We did Deming’s red bead experiment and half of the willing workers got laid off, myself included. We used User Story Mapping to find an MVP in a forrest of user stories. We took “getting ready for work” as the epic, and worked it down to a handful of essential stories, such as “get out of bed”. Somehow “take a shower” was moved to version 2.0. We played the Power of 13, with handful of dice for each player. It was an interesting and powerful demonstration of the difference between a group of individuals, and a team. We started with a lean coffee exercise, that somehow, filtered out data warehouses.  Woody never told us exactly what he was wrong about, but he made the great point that you may not know when you are wrong, but there will be times…

We tried all of these exercises, and more, in one (very full) Saturday at the LEARN space in North Park. LEARN is a great space for collaboration and learning; a lounge area for discussions, projections and audio, open wall space for post-it exercises, tables, chairs, open areas for games, and air conditioning.

The meet up came together in just a week through the AgileSD mailing list, where Woody Zuill announced “I am holding a FREE meet-up to explore and discuss Modern Agile ideas, Software Craftsmanship, software development in San Diego on August 15th..” We covered a lot of ground; very worthwhile. I’m glad that I still have my actual job, I’ve got a bunch of new ideas to try.

by Tom Greene


Kicking the day off with Lean Coffee.


User story mapping for getting ready for work.


Working hard at scooping beads, before I was callously laid off.


Woody pretending to know something about something.


Man-with-Glasses-Yawning-007Does the idea of writing user stories get you and your Team down?  Do you need something better than “As a USER, I want…”?

If you feel there has got to be more to a user story than that tired, old “As a [user], I want…” template, then you need to come to Agile San Diego on Thursday, Sept 10th!   In this hands-on and practical session, Carlton Nettleton will show the essential elements to writing great user stories and you will practice two techniques to find hidden requirements using Innovation Games® and Story Cubes®.  Do something fun!  Write killer stories now!

Carlton Nettleton, co-founder of Agile San Diego, President of Look Forward Consulting and Certified Scrum Trainer, will present this interactive session at our first meeting in the new SDLearn location in North Park.  This session is also the same session Carlton will present at the international Scrum Gathering in Prague later this year in November.  Our meeting at Agile San Diego begins at 6:30 PM.


Join us this Thursday to play some Agile Games, in an interactive presentation led by veteran Agilist and philosopher, Pam Fox. The meeting will take place this Thursday, August 6th at 6pm, at the offices of Mitchell International. Pizza and beer will be provided courtesy of VersionOne. Please RSVP to joonspoon@joonspoon.com

Come play some games to learn about using games with Agile!

Pam will share some of her experiences using games for:

  • Identifying product goals
  • Helping customers focus on what is important
  • Understanding the customer experience
  • Prioritizing the backlog
  • Helping teams inspect and adapt

And we’ll play a couple of games to let you learn by doing.

Our speaker, Pam Fox, brings 30+ years of innovative product development experience and an unflagging desire to identify and solve business problems and “build products customers love”.

Her passion is focused on the use of technology to make a difference in people’s lives and pam“humanizing” work through the use of Agile and Lean principles. The Scrum values of courage, commitment, focus, respect and openness are important to her and are what motivates and colors her daily professional life and interactions. She’s managed four major educational products at Bridgepoint Education where served as Product Owner and lead the product Scrum team in the development of a valuable, feasible and usable product. Pam received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University with a major in Philosophy and a minor in Romance Languages. She is currently Director of Product Operations at Significant Technology and is a Certified Scrum Professional.


retro-moving-pictureAfter nearly thirteen years of meeting on the first Thursday of every month, the leaders of Agile San Diego have take the step to mix things up!  Agile San Diego is moving to the second Thursday of every month beginning in September.  This date change also coincides with a change in location to a new home in North Park.

A few months back, June, Gary and myself were thinking about how to re-energize the group and improve the dynamics of our meetings.  We all agreed that Agile San Diego was at its best when we were hosted by The Linkery in North Park.  Our meetings were well attended, our discussions were lively and we had more opportunities for social interactions after our speakers.  When the organizers of SD LEARN approached us to see if the Agile San Diego community was interested in scheduling our meetings in North Park, we all jumped to say, “Yes!!”.

There was just one little hitch in accepting their generous offer – the first Thursday of the month was already taken by another usergroup.  Since we already decided that a move was in the best interest of the group, we thought, “Why not change our night as well?”.  So beginning on September 10th, Agile San Diego moves to its NEW night and NEW location in North Park.

As the founder of XP San Diego and co-founder of Agile San Diego, I am truly sad to say “good-bye” to our original night and after 13 years it is time for a change.  I am also sad that we are leaving our location at Mitchell and want to personally thank everyone at Mitchell for hosting us, especially Joe Dailey.  Everyone at Agile San Diego appreciates how much Joe and Mitchell have supported the community.


As organizations transition to agile processes,
quality assurance (QA) activities and roles need to evolve. Traditionally, QA activities have occur late in the development process, after the software is fully functioning. As a consequence, QA departments have been “quality gatekeepers” rather than actively engaged in the ongoing development and delivery of quality software. Since agile teams incrementally deliver working software, this provides an opportunity to engage in QA activities much earlier, ensuring that both functionality and system qualities are addressed at the most appropriate times. Agile teams embrace a “whole team” approach. Even though special skills may be required to perform certain development and QA tasks, everyone on the team is focused on the delivery of quality software.

Prioritizing and implementing necessary functionality keeps an agile project moving forward. However, it is also important to focus on system quality at the same time. Otherwise, qualities can get shoved aside or wistfully imagined as emerging along with the architecture. This session will show you how you can interject quality specification, design, and testing efforts into your project and be more agile about it. I will introduce agile techniques and patterns of practices that support the definition and delivery of system qualities. We will also discuss the role of QA and architects in agile teams and how they ensure that important qualities are addressed in an agile manner that emphasizes architecture capabilities such as usability, security, performance, scalability, internationalization, availability, and accessibility.

Our speaker, Joe Yoder is well known in the Software Patterns community, and is perhaps best known as the co-author of the Big Ball of Mud pattern which illuminates many fallacies in common software architectures.  He has taught, mentored, consulted, and managed various software projects for many years, including applying patterns, designing architecture, creating adaptive object models, utilizing agile methods, developing frameworks, refactoring existing systems, object oriented software development in Java, C#/.NET, Smalltalk and C++, and web design and cloud services.


Joe is a frequent speaker at conferences such as Agile, CBSoft, JAOO, QCon, PLoP, OOPSLA, ECOOP, SATURN, and SPLASH. He thinks software is still too hard to change. He wants do something about this and believes that using good patterns and putting the ability to change software into the hands of the people with the knowledge to change it seems to be one promising avenue toward solving this problem. He currently resides in Urbana, Illinois.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, May 7th at 6pm, at the offices of Mitchell International. Pizza and beer will be provided courtesy of VersionOne. Please RSVP to joonspoon@joonspoon.com




Not all organizations aspiring to be agile have a significant level of test automation available. Did you know that exploratory testing could help you deploy frequently despite the lack of test automation? Join this talk to learn how we do it in my team and get started with learning this stuff. Learning exploratory testing is useful even if you do have test automation as a route on how to improve further.

Exploratory testing is about poking around to find out about the software, what it does, what it doesn’t do, what works and what doesn’t work. It is an approach to testing that treats test design, test execution and learning as parallel, mutually supportive activities, to find things we don’t know that we don’t know.

Our speaker, Maaret Pyhäjärvi, is a tester extraordinaire from Finland, specializing in breaking illusions about software through means of exploratory testing. She is a software specialist with soft spots for hands-on testing, helping teams grow and building successful products and businesses. To find out more about Maaret and her philosophy, check out her thought-provoking blog, A Seasoned Tester’s Crystal Ball.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, April 2nd at 6pm, at the offices of Mitchell International. Pizza and beer will be provided courtesy of VersionOne. Please RSVP to joonspoon@joonspoon.com


As agile practitioners, we are passionate about how we do work, and we love to share our exceptional knowledge and understanding with others and transform workplaces to be “more agile”.

But often our attempts to do our best work are thwarted by other people (and occasionally ourselves).  How do things go wrong?  How can we fix our coworkers, clients, managers, and executives?  And how can we maintain our joy and enthusiasm for our work in the face of adversity, conflict, and bad luck?

In his talk, Aaron VonderHaar will share his personal answers to these questions drawing on his experiences working with startup and enterprise clients attempting to adopt agile, managing and mentoring other engineers, and seeing his company go through an acquisition and significant growth in recent years.

Our speaker, Aaron VonderHaar is a developer and engineering manager at Pivotal Labs, where he pairs with startup and enterprise clients on full-stack mobile and web projects.  He is also a technical mentor at Hackbright Academy and gSchool and is an advocate for racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, disability, and gender diversity.

The meeting will take place this Thursday, March 5th at 6pm, at the offices of Mitchell International. Pizza and beer will be provided courtesy of VersionOne. Please RSVP to joonspoon@joonspoon.com


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