Upcoming Agile Conferences

Posted March 14, 2015 by akong7
Categories: agile

Hi Everyone,

There are a number of excellent upcoming conferences, which are great learning opportunities to share and learn from other practitioners and thought leaders in the industry. If you have never been to an open space unconference, I highly recommend attending one.

Spark the Change – Thursday April 23rd, 2015 at Ontario Science Centre 770 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Ontario. The keynote ‘experimentation mindset’ will be presented by Michael ‘Doc’ Norton, Global Director of Engineering Culture at Groupon.  On Friday April 24th, 2015 with there are workshops: management workout with Jurgen Appelo; Innovation Games with Luke Hohmann and Lean Startup for Innovation & Organizational Change with Carlos Oliveira. Early bird registration ends March 15th.

Agile Coach Camp Canada East – Friday 5th June to Sunday 7th June, 2015 at Nav Centre, 1950 Montreal Road, Cornwall, Ontario.  Agile Coach Camp Canada East is an open space conference inspired by the original Agile Coach Camp, now in its 6th year in Canada.  This is a practitioner-run conference for peer-to-peer learning, exploration and networking.

 Toronto Agile Open Space – Saturday 6th June 2015 at Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Toronto, Ontario.  This year’s theme is “The Agile Workplace”.

Play4Agile – Friday 11th September to Sunday 13th September, 2015 at YMCA Cedar Glen, 13300 11th Concession, Schomberg, Ontario, Canada.  Play4Agile is an annual un-conference focused on games and playful approaches to change teams and organizations. Play4Agile is playful with purpose: Coaches, facilitators, trainers, game and innovation experts find an open playground to inspire each other and co-create transformative experiences. We gather to grow individually and as a community. Early bird registration ends July 1st.



Waterloo Agile Lean Mar 24 P2P – Appreciative Agile: Overturning our Problem Bias

Posted March 8, 2015 by akong7
Categories: agile

What?: Appreciative Agile: Overturning our Problem Bias

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a tool for change that’s aligned with the values, beliefs and challenges we find in business today. It can engage and inspire a work team – even an entire work force. It flips our perspective from looking at problems to be solved and invites us to examine what’s working. A focus on strengths helps us do more than perform – we transform. In this lively session, we’ll head in a new direction – away from the deficit-based approach to change where we identify problems and shortfalls. Instead, we’ll approach things from the other side.

In this session, you will:

  • Learn how and why AI works
  • Discover the 5D model (definition, discovery, dream, design, and delivery)
  • Explore some questions that make positive change possible
  • Discuss ways to incorporate AI in our daily work

Appreciative Inquiry isn’t just “happy talk.” it’s grounded in science and proven effective in large organizations and small teams around the world. It’s a way to open communication, unleash potential and create a true learning organization. AI offers a positive, strengths-based approach to organizational development and change management.

Join us and learn about the subtle shift you can choose to make – and to introduce to others – for everyone’s benefit.

When?: Tuesday March 24th, 2015 from 4:30p.m. to 7:00p.m.

Where?: Communitech hub, Executive Briefing Centre room, 151 Charles Street West, Kitchener, Ontario

Who?: Sue Johnston

Sue Johnston helps you change the world one conversation at a time. Her interests are communication, teamwork and culture. Her agile journey began when, as a professional coach, she attended an Agile Coach Camp and knew she had found her tribe. Since then, she’s been active in the agile community and a frequent speaker at agile conferences. She leads a coach training program for agile practitioners.

After 10 years as a news reporter, she moved to corporate communication and was involved in large scale change initiatives and technology implementations. She believes the most vital communication in organizations is interaction between people. Sue established It’s Understood Communication to help individuals and teams do better work through effective conversations.

Based in Waterloo, Sue is the author of Talk To Me: Workplace Conversations That Work. You can learn more about Sue and her work at http://itsunderstood.com.

To Register: http://www.meetup.com/agile-lean-p2p/events/220911712/

Waterloo Agile Lean 25th Nov P2P – See the Value

Posted November 16, 2014 by akong7
Categories: agile

What?: See the Value

Many Agile teams focus on Velocity as their measure of progress. They build burn-up charts to track it over time and make it the focus of much of their discussion during Sprint Planning and Retrospectives. Is the strong focus on this metric truly in line with the principles of Agile Software Development?

Join Cheezy and Ardita  as they lead us through a hands on session to explore this question. You’ill discover how a focus on Value first, instead of Velocity, changes how the team approaches the work to be completed. And, using Story Maps, learn how to assign value to the discovered stories. You’ll learn the practices and skills necessary to track Earned Value on your project and also learn the valuable lesson of how to discover what not to build. The outcome will be a set of new skills that you can take back with you and immediately apply to your current team development planning efforts. This session will be fun and educational. This is one workshop you don’t want to miss.

When?: Tuesday 25th November, 2014 from 4:30 to 6:00p.m.

Where?: Communitech Hub, 151 Charles Street West, Atlas/Matrix Rooms, Kitchener, ON

Who?: Jeff “Cheezy” Morgan and Ardita Karaj

Chief technology officer and a cofounder of LeanDog, Jeff “Cheezy” Morgan has been teaching classes and coaching teams on agile and lean techniques since early 2004. Most of his work has focused on the engineering practices used by developers and testers. For the past few years Cheezy has experienced great success and recognition for his work focused on helping teams adopt Acceptance Test Driven Development using Cucumber. He has authored several popular Ruby gems used by software testers and the book Cucumber & Cheese—A Testers Workshop.

Ardita Karaj is a passionate Agile coach, trainer, change agent and consultant in the Toronto area. She brings more than 15 years of software development experience from different commercial and public organizations. Over the past few years her focus has been on process improvement for organizations that are adopting Agile frameworks like Scrum and Kanban. Working with both management and development teams, she is well known for applying Agile and Lean techniques to help identify and remove barriers in order to streamline software development efforts. She is driven in creating sustainable change and has developed techniques that focus on building teams that have a culture of continuous improvement.

Register: Here

Waterloo Agile Lean 28th Oct P2P – Lasting Change is about People, not Process

Posted October 5, 2014 by akong7
Categories: agile

What? : Lasting Change is about People, not Process

Agile and Lean are a means to an end. A big challenge with many change initiatives is that we confuse the means for the end. We launch into Agile or Lean initiatives that are well intentioned. We often lose sight of our real goal and end with behaviours that take us further from what is really important.

Going beyond surface-level changes requires clarity and coherence of purpose. A big part of this is understanding whether our success requires changes that are tactical, strategic, or cultural. It is a fact that process changes will not result in a change in organizational culture.


We know Agile and Lean are about the people but we often lose sight of this. The purpose of this talk is to help you see with a new perspective what is currently happening and what you truly desire.

When:? Tuesday 28th October, 2014 from 4:30p.m. to 6:00p.m. EST

Where?: Communitech Hub, 151 Charles Street West, Kitchener, Ontario in Matrix/Atlas Rooms


Michael Sahota is a recognized author on working with organizational culture and one of 60 Certified Scrum Coaches worldwide.

Michael acts as a catalyst to help organizations get the results they want. His “we value people” approach uses open, participatory decision-making that leads to lasting results and sustained growth. Michael works collaboratively with leadership teams to build trust, safety, and engagement to drive success.

Michael’s background includes over 17 years of professional and management experience in Information Technology with entrepreneurial and enterprise companies.

Register here.

Waterloo Agile Lean 24th June P2P – Dr. Deming’s Famous Red Bead Experiment

Posted June 14, 2014 by akong7
Categories: agile

What?: Dr. Deming’s Famous Red Bead Experiment


The White Bead Corporation, Kitchener – Toronto, Ontario

The White Bead Corporation is a leading provider of quality white beads to consumers in high-tech and energy industry verticals with over thirty years’ experience. We have recently been contracted by the Provincial Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure to provide our products on an increased production scale and require new workers and specialists to join our dynamic team to meet this demand.

We will be conducting our first round of hiring for above-average employees at the upcoming SDEC 2014 Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with successful applicants immediately joining us in production. We have openings for the following roles:

 White Bead Developers (6): Must be willing and capable of shipping high-quality, defect-free white beads. Education and experience are preferred, but not required as we offer on-the-job training.

 QA Specialists (2): Must be capable of counting to twenty and distinguishing red beads from white beads.

 QA Lead (1): Must have loud voice to report QA results and ability to keep workers in line.

 Data Analyst (1): Must have good writing and listening skills to record reported QA results.

 We offer competitive salaries, employee recognition programs, a pay-for-performance program and industry-leading career development opportunities. We thank all applicants for their interest in applying to The White Bead Corporation, however we will only be able to hire above-average, willing workers at this time.


The Red Bead Experiment will be co-facilitated by Chris and Mike. Mike and Chris have collaborated on presenting this experiment locally at Agile Open Toronto 2014 and Agile Coach Camp Canada 2014 in Guelph.

This experiment is best-run in a small room with theatre-style seating, a table at the front of the room with two chairs and a whiteboard or flipchart nearby for capturing results. A projector isn’t required – this is all low-tech, hands-on. We need at least ten to fifteen attendees to make the exercise worthwhile: Ten to participate and at least five to observe and potentially serve as replacement workers depending on what happens with any of the originals six “willing workers.”

The experiment itself is run in three phases:

1)      Introductions

2)      Running the Experiment

3)      Workshop to rebuild the White Bead Corporation

As stated above, ten participants from the audience to play the roles of willing workers (6), QA specialists (2), a QA lead (1) and Data Analyst (1). The object of the experiment is to have the workers sift fifty white beads from a shallow bucket that contains a distribution of red and white beads using a small, plastic paddle (which Mike has designed to approximate the original kits used by Deming) – all while following a prescribed methodology and adhering to management directives.

The experiment itself is run in four successive rounds simulating the same number of days in production for The White Bead Corporation. Results are recorded on a whiteboard or flipchart after each round, and there are various management posters and slogans that will be posted as motivational aides to help the workers in their efforts.

Learning Points

The experiment itself was originally designed by Deming to give a practical demonstration of his Fourteen Points of Management, which he called it the Parable of the Red Bead. Depending on their experiences, participants can expect to take away a number of key learnings from The Red Bead Experiment, including:

  1. The net-effect of management using extrinsic motivation on a work system to improve production, e.g. slogans, exhortations, financial incentives, employee recognition awards.
  2. Effect of using fixed/closed methodologies to improve productivity to the exclusion of employee involvement.
  3. Using an inspection-based approach to achieve quality outcomes.
  4. Effect of using work standards (quotas) and numerical targets to increase productivity (management by objective)
  5. Separating workers by role instead of working as a true team.
  6. Effect of rigidly-implemented methodologies vs. culture of continuous improvement.

When? : Tuesday June 24th, 2014 from 4:30p.m. to 6:00p.m.

Where?: Communitech Hub, 151, Charles Street West, Kitchener, Ontario in Matrix/Atlas Rooms

Who?: Facilitated by Chris Chapman and Mike Edwards

Chris Chapman is the President and Founder of Derailleur Consulting, Inc., a one-man consultancy in Toronto, Ontario dedicated to helping realign the work software teams do with how they do it using agile and lean practices. Recently he has partnered with LeanIntuit to help coach customers in the Greater Toronto Area.

Mike Edwards started his career more than 25 years ago as a software developer. Mike has spent the past 15 years leading teams of all shapes and sizes. When Mike stumbled across Lean and Agile numerous years ago it rocked his belief system and forever changed how he viewed our work. Mike now helps organizations transform how they do business through the use of Lean & Agile. The bridge between people, teams and management is wrought with broken boards and weak supports. Mike now focuses on building stronger bridges between these important groups while helping people and organizations find a new path forward.

Register: here

Waterloo Agile Lean May 27th P2P – Face Your Fear!

Posted May 14, 2014 by akong7
Categories: agile

What?: Follow Your Fear!

What stops you from doing the things you’ve always wanted to do? What stops teams from truly being great? What hinders most Agile transformations?


Fear:  That feeling in your gut when deep down you know what you need to do, but you’re not sure if you can do it.


Check out any of the “x things most successful people do” posts online. Every single one of them will mention fear. Why? Because fear can either energize you to success or paralyze you into inaction. This goes for you AND for your teams.


Improviser’s have learned how to get energized by fear.


I’ll show you how to take what improvisers’ have learned and apply it to yourself and to your Agile teams. How to create safe environments so that you and your teams can be fearless. I’ll also show you a tool that can help your team get those pesky retrospective action items to done.


Imagine what life would be like if you and your team were able to do all the things you’ve always wanted to do?


What would your team be like if they tackled all those items that come up over and over again in your retrospectives, but never seem to get dealt with?


Want to live a fearless life? Come to this session and follow your fear.


When?: Tuesday May 27th, 2014 from 4:30p.m. to 6:00p.m.


Where?: Communitech Hub, Matrix/Atlas Room, 151 Charles Street West, Kitchener, Ontatio


Who?: Todd Charron

Todd is an Agile coach and consultant with a different approach. By combining his background in Improv and Theatre with over 10 years of experience in the software industry as a Developer, Technical Lead, and Manager, Todd has become an expert in helping organizations, teams, and individuals overcome the fears that are holding them back from reaching the success they truly desire. Todd has been a speaker at numerous Agile conferences, including Agile Coach Camp Canada, Agile Tour Toronto, and Agile Tour Montreal. He is also the lead mentor for Lean Startup Machine Toronto and is the founder of Follow Your Fear Day.


To register: here

Agile Open TO and Agile Coach Camp Canada 2014 Registration Open

Posted April 5, 2014 by akong7
Categories: agile

I am excited to invite you to both Agile Open Toronto 2014 and Agile Coach Camp Canada 2014.

Agile Coach Camp Canada, now in its 5th year will be held June 6th to 8th at the University of Guelph, is an awesome opportunity to learn from and network with a wider community of Agile practitioners! Come learn, share, participate! To register, go to http://agilecoachcampcanada.ca/

Agile Open Toronto, will be held May 3rd at Metro Hall, Toronto, is an open space event that provides an opportunity for all participants to share ideas and learn from each other. To register, check out http://www.torontoagilecommunity.org/display/PUBLIC/Home

Waterloo Agile Lean March 25th P2P – Test Driven Development (TDD) Lego!

Posted March 19, 2014 by akong7
Categories: agile

Here is a link to the slides:
Also, if someone would like to see the session, here is a recording from SDEC13:


What?: Test Driven Development (TDD) Lego

In this fun and energetic session, we will learn the basics of Test Driven Design/Development (TDD) through the use of LEGO. We will create failing tests, make them pass and then refactor. We won’t be writing software, we will be using LEGO bricks. By working with our hands, these technical concepts that can be tricky to wrap your head around will be simplified.

When?: Tuesday 25th March, 2014 from 4:30p.m. to 6:30p.m. 

Where?: Matrix & Atlas Room in Communitech hub, 151 Charles Street West Kitchener

Who?: Bryan Beecham

Bryan is a developer, speaker, Agile coach, HumanRefactor guide, guitarist, idea generator and co-organizer of Agile Ottawa.  He is also a craftsmanship enthusiast and is passionate about improving everyone’s coding style and living mantra by helping them to release their inner child. His energetic sessions never fail to achieve full audience participation, help to unlock creativity, trigger learning, fun interaction and always receive rave reviews.  He currently provides advice and training for companies as well as helping individuals improve their lives through human refactoring.

To register: Register Now!

Notes from Real World Retrospectives Jan 28 posted

Posted February 13, 2014 by akong7
Categories: agile

The notes from the Jan.28: Real World Retrospectives with Sean Yo and Matthew Campbell  are available here: https://github.com/BeardedCoder/RealWorldRetros, the slides can be found on SlideShare here: http://www.slideshare.net/mbcampbell360/real-world-retrospectives 

Many thanks to Sean and Matthew for sharing some great tips and techniques to improve one’s retrospectives!

What?: Real World Retrospectives

What does it take to be Agile? One key practice is the Agile Retrospective, a look back after each iteration to talk about what worked, what didn’t and to plan how to improve how you work for the next iteration. In this talk, we share the real world experiences of how we’ve been running retrospectives for the last year. Learn from our stories and share your own stories about your real world retros.

Who? Sean Yo and Matthew Campbell

Sean builds websites and communities, often at the same time. He spent more than a decade in Higher Education Enterprise IT, co-founded Resonant Studios, a web development company in 2005 and most recently was Chief Architect at InGamer, a technology startup building a second-screen companion fantasy game for live broadcast Sports.

Sean is a leader in the tech community of Waterloo and Guelph, including running the Guelph Web Makers Meetup and Accessibility Camp Guelph. Sean’s most recent ventures are Hackademy,a non-profit focused on digital literacy and coding skills for kids and Hive Waterloo, a network for technology communities modelled on Hive NYC. A frequent technical presenter, Sean has spoken at local, provincial and national technology conferences both in Canada and the US. You can connect with Sean at seanyo.ca.

Matthew Campbell

Matthew is a Senior Software Developer/Scrum Master on the User Experience Platform team at Desire2Learn. He usually spends his days working in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. You will also find Matthew instructing Continuing Education courses at Conestoga College in topics ranging from Excel to PHP as well as co-championing the recently created Web Developer Peer2Peer group hosted by Communitech. Matthew graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree and a Computer Science degree from the University of Western Ontario, followed by a Bachelor of Education from Trent University.


Waterloo Agile Lean P2P – Feb.25: Communication Styles – Employing and Enjoying Team Member Differences!

Posted February 13, 2014 by akong7
Categories: agile

What?: Communication Styles – Employing and Enjoying Team Member Differences!

The first value of the Agile Manifesto – individuals and interactions over processes and tools – makes the giant assumption that we know how to interact effectively. Experience shows that the interaction part isn’t easy. That’s because we’re all individuals. Every brain is different. Our diverse ways of processing and sharing information lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding. You think you’re being crystal clear. The folks around you seem to have heard a different message. Could it be you have different communication styles?

In an agile world where delay is costly and teamwork is essential, overcoming these differences is a critical success factor. Fortunately, we’re different in some predictable ways. Learning to spot and use those patterns can save time and lead to better results.

‘Communication Styles’ shines a spotlight on human communication patterns and encourages a conscious and strategic approach to conversations. You’ll explore four basic communication styles, determine how your style differs from the other three and discover techniques to overcome those differences so you can connect with and be understood by folks whose style is different from yours.

With its foundation in psychological principles, it’s a light-hearted yet practical look at human conversation and a powerful communication tool that can improve your relationships at work and in life.

 In this interactive session, you’ll learn to:

  • Recognize individual differences in communication style.
  • Identify your own style.
  • Uncover the characteristics of each style, to identify the folks you interact with.
  • Develop strategies to interact productively with people whose styles differ from your own.

Join this session to discover and practice a skill that can improve your interactions almost immediately.  

When?: Tuesday 25th February, 2014 from 4:30p.m. to 6:00p.m.

Where?: At Matrix & Atlas Rooms in the Communitech Hub, 151 Charles Street West, Kitchener, Ontario. 

Who?: Sue Johnston

Sue Johnston helps you talk so people listen and listen so people talk. A professional coach and trainer, her specialty is interaction at work. She’s dedicated to helping people inspire others to take action, moving their audiences from “Huh?” to “Hey, let’s go!” As an employee communication specialist, Sue spent over a decade advising teams introducing technological and organizational change. She is the author of Talk To Me: Workplace Conversations That Work and a frequent speaker on communication topics. She holds a masters in communication management and professional certifications in coaching and business communication. In 2013, the International Association of Business Communicators (Canada) recognized her work with a lifetime achievement award. Based in Waterloo, Ontario, her primary programs are speaker training for introverts and fraidy-cats and professional coach skills training for agile practitioners. 

To register: Go here 


%d bloggers like this: