“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.


Dec 5th: Agile for Startups

SendGrid started in 2009 with three developers and a shared vision for making email easy for developers. Now with over 200 employees, they deliver over 8 billion emails a month for our customers. Agile practices have helped them scale both their teams and their product, and they are still learning from their mistakes. In this presentation you will hear Vic Bonacci‘s first-hand account of SendGrid’s history with Agile, highlighting the pitfalls and successes along the way.

Vic has worked in IT since 1998 (webmaster, developer, project manager, agile coach). He has been an Agile coach at SendGrid since early 2011. Before that he spent five years as a project manager in a traditional waterfall environment at Panasonic in Lake Forest. Vic earned his MBA from USC in 2004 and his PMP certification a few years after that. He tweets infrequently at @AgileCoffee and hosts meetups in Orange County under the same name.

NOTE: This meeting will be held at our new location at Mitchell at 6pm. The address is 6220 Greenwich Dr, San Diego, CA. Take the Governor Drive exit off the 805 and go west. Pizza and beer will be provided courtesy of Rally.


Peter Green has been leading a grass roots agile adoption at Adobe since 2008. In 2013, the majority of teams at Adobe say they use scrum, but the change to an agile culture has been successful only in pockets. We’ve attempted to measure the adoption in many ways, including looking at data, conducting surveys, facilitating large group retrospectives, and conducting interviews, and have learned a few things about what makes the shift lasting and deep, rather than a shift in terminology and process only. I’ll share some snapshots of the progress as well as what we’re working on these days to try to make the change a lasting cultural one.

NOTE: This meeting will be held at our new location at Mitchell, and we are meeting a little earlier at 6pm. The address is 6220 Greenwich Dr, San Diego, CA. Take the Governor Drive exit off the 805 and go west. Pizza and beer will be provided.