Catch-up blog post

Maintaining a blog is hard work! This is a catch-up post so you can explore what we have been talking about in our sessions. In this session, we had these topics proposed:

  • Where to start a startup?
    • Lean Startup + Lean Thinking – Steve, our guru provided a diagram
    • Starting with an idea is the wrong way to do it!
  • Any suggestions for funding proposals to bid for $1.5 million in innovation/capability/development up for grabs by ACT government?
    • Innovation with kids
    • PR/marketing
    • Google fiber project
  • How do you do continuous demos?
    • Prep
    • Have CD pipeline
  • How do you decide which bits of Scrum you actually need?
    • Can you really pick and choose?
    • You need to examine motivations
  • Are interns/students worth it?
    • Integrate carefully
    • Do you pay for it?
    • They need supervision
    • Plan for it
  • Kanban at home
  • Lean UX


The topics we actually discussed are in bold, plus the associated notes that go along with the topics. Another great session!

Long lost update

We continue to meet after numerous public holidays sunk our usual Monday time slot and we shifted around to Thursday a couple of times. Today we had some really interesting topics.

  • What approaches have you seen work to change Exec behaviours that undermine Agile success; rigid approvals, slow review, annual budgets, etc?
  • Burn out – how to avoid?
    • Raising morale
    • Executives aren’t aware of reality
    • Software “death march”
  • How to tell the story of the cumulative flow diagram?
    • Lead times
    • Bottlenecks
  • Planning documents – valuable or a waste of time?
    • Test case planning – test driven development
    • Documents are for communicating
    • Using the product backlog
    • Old artefacts from waterfall
    • Reference Agile manifesto
  • Managing the message
    • The “potential to create unnecessary panic”
    • Product Owner is the stakeholder manager

And we ran out of time to discuss:

  • What are some ways to motivate engineers to do testing?
  • What are some good ways to manage bugs in a project?
  • Should you fix all bugs before working on features and improvements?

Our top topic – should we try harder to get ‘startup’ people involved with this group?

New people continue to attend and add value to our conversations! Our topics discussed this week, and the associated notes:

  • Should we try harder to get ‘startup’ people involved with this group?
    • Use Facebook
    • Get sponsors – ACS, E29, CBRIN, ANU
    • Present at Barcamp
  • Does Canberra have a startup guide for startups?
    • CBRIN
    • CBR Startup book – reference to come later
    • Let’s sync CBRIN with the Seattle Startup 100 list
    • The ANU TechLauncher
  • How do we make time to learn new things?
    • HR – time and budget allocated
    • A Google 20 sprint
    • A Google 20 allocation of velocity
    • Be bite-sized
    • Remember conferences and classes
  • How do you do a whole-business level retrospective?
    • At team level first and then bubble up
    • Scaling Up by Verne Harnish


The topics proposed, but not discussed:

  • Does learning imply action?
  • What is bimodal IT?
  • How do we enable Barcamp?
  • What are you doing?


Please join us and add to the dialog! We have a special session on Feb 29, Leap Year Lean Coffee – it only happens once every 4 years.



Coordinating agile remotely and more

More great discussion this week on a variety of topics. We’re looking for ideas to get more people involved – feedback is welcome!IMG_1695

  • Distributed Agile – coordinating remote locations
    • Video
    • Group chat
    • Josh <3’s #slack
    • Come together
    • Tools
  • Scrum or Kanban (or something else?)
    • You can mature into Kanban
    • Culture change is driven by the person with appetite
    • It’s all cultural
    • Kanban the growing methodology
    • Kanban good for mature teams
    • Path to agility
  • To be a Scrum Master or a Product Owner, that is the question
    • Glue motivates like people, helps deliver
    • Can a persona be an SM & a PO at the same time?
    • PO & SM are different
    • PO: negotiator vs collaborator. All about value
    • PO is external reality & SM is internal reality
  • How do you motivate equally ranked people?
  • What’s the best retro you’ve ever seen?
    • Timeline, no blame, conclusion – proposal
    • Facilitator gives ownership
    • Military calling it like it is
    • Always the day after
    • School @ Chapel
    • Do the action items
    • Psychotherapy
  • How do you keep morale up during an extremely busy period?
  • How do you type ‘agile’ people?
  • How can we attract more people to this group?
  • How many layers do you need between business interests and product decisions?

How do you plan for innovation time?

Fantastic to see some more new faces prompting great discussion! We had some great discussions in this session. unspecified-2

  • How do you plan for innovation time?
    • Different types of innovation.
    • Give space – yes you can plan!
    • Different levels of innovation – top, middle, bottom.
    • Strategic innovation.
    • Innovation with exciter, kano.
    • Does innovation need vision?
  • How do you manage tech debt?
    • Attach value to tech debt.
    • Strategic failures to cause hardening.
    • Stabilisation sprints.
    • Utilising metrics: bugs, cyclomatic, automation.
    • Portfolio management
  • Can government be agile?
    • The world is faster – we need to be agile.
    • Not everything needs to be agile.
    • You need to break the breucacy rules.
    • Where are the government people?
    • If business can do it, why not government?
  • Are estimates worth it?
    • Business development needs estimates.
    • Runway needs estimates.
    • Estimation causes learning loop.
    • Utilising an estimation team.
    • #valueclash
    • Estimation causes a conversation.
    • #noestimate – Decompose to a standard size.
  • How do you get a team to actually be a team?
  • How do you transition to Agile from Waterfall during a project?
  • Agile marketing. What is it? How does it work?
  • How to ‘do’ or coordinate Agile for an initiative that involves teams from several organisations?
  • How to manage non-squad word?IMG_1663


  • Where’s the coffee?
  • Lovely session.

This weeks top topic – What I learned by reading Elon Musk biography last week

The new session time of 5:30-6:30 seems to be working fine. The Lean Coffee crew might try some other meeting times and durations, let’s see what our A/B testing turns up. 🙂

Our proposed topics this week are below. The topics in bold were actually discussed. We also took notes this session, we hope you find this useful.

  • What I learned by reading Elon Musk biography last week
    • Book – Elon Musk biography
    • Book – Extreme Project Management
  • How to handle slipping commitments/Ensuring team sticks to deadlines… managing excuses
    • Book – Anti Fragile
    • Book – Promise Theory by Burgess
    • Reference – Cone of uncertainty
  • Agile feature development for existing products
    • Reference – XKCD cartoon on problems and their frequency
    • Book – How to Create Agile Teams
  • How to get proposed sessions into conferences
    • Make them – controversial, resonate, personal, stories, focused
    • Proposed session – the story of a perfect scrum master
    • Top 10 agile questions you were afraid to ask
  • What do you consider to be good culture?
  • Automated testing and deployment
  • What is the history of the term “agile”?
  • Building and proving a new feature at minimum cost
  • Lean opportunity discovery


Our retro feedback is below:

  • Great, thank you, my first lean coffee, fun.
  • Notes on the wall help with remembering what was discussed.
  • I really value interacting with other people with experience and lots of different perspectives.
  • Interesting talks.
  • Enjoyed it. Could have been twice as long and would still have stuff to talk about.



Any feedback about the blog is also welcome. See you next time!

Our top topic this week – Define a dream team in agile

Another great Lean Coffee session was had by all. We changed the time slightly this week, we went from 5:30-6:30 (instead of 6-7). That seemed to work pretty well. The Lean Coffee crew is experimenting with times so let’s see what we do for the next session. Anyways, we had a great time. Come join us!

The proposed topics, in priority order are below. The topics we discussed are in bold:

  • Define a dream team in agile
  • How do you build culture?
  • Governing the commons, e.g. open source software
  • How do you ease out an agile consultant in your org?
  • How do you reduce resentment towards senior leadership during an agile transformation?
  • How do we raise excitement for our products internally?
  • Funding infrastructure
  • What are looking for from this group?
  • Agile ceremonies, more vs. less. What is the right balance?


Notes that I casually took during the session:

“A team of champions doesn’t beat a champion team.”


Porter Five Forces Analysis

The Commons

Retrospective notes:

  • I like 5:30 to 6:30, good discussion, the right mix of people!
  • Useful.


Thanks to everyone who participated! We will see you in 2 weeks…

Lean Coffee Canberra





First Session Review – Dec. 7

We had our first #LeanCoffee session on Monday Dec. 7. Once again, we are grateful to Rory Ford and Entry 29 for providing a meeting space. A great time was had by all!

The first #LeanCoffee posse is below. A good lookin’ crowd.


Here are the topics we discussed, in priority order of course!

  • What does “Lean” mean to you?
  • How do you grow community? (the facilitator accidentally skipped this so we didn’t actually discuss this topic. Doh!)
  • How do you convince reluctant people to adopt agile?
  • Is DevOps the next trend? Is Scrum dead?
  • How do we leverage today’s Prime Minister innovation statement?

This is a photo of the actual topics. Note the dots, we use dot voting for crowd-sourced prioritization:


At the end of the session we solicited retrospective feedback, here it is.

  • Start session earlier
  • Keep the beer cold
  • We need bigger cards to write on during the session
  • Promote Lean Coffee more and grow the community
  • Can we have a “Further Reading Material” list maintained during the session?
  • Start earlier! How about doing the sessions in the morning?
  • I liked the scheduled day and time of the sessions, that works for me
  • Good facilitation and nice discussions!
  • Let’s supplement the face-to-face sessions with digital interaction, e.g. e-mail, Facebook, etc.

A photo of the retro feedback:


The #LeanCoffee team has an internal retro next Monday. We might be slightly updating the format for the next session on Monday Dec. 21. Come join us and get into the #agilefun !

The Lean Coffee Team