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



“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 :)