Lean coffee – not quite an Agile weight loss program

Geelong Lean CoffeeLast month I kicked off Geelong Lean Coffee.

Geelong Lean Coffee is a community of practice for people working Agile/Lean/Kanban in the Geelong area. We’re interested in diversity, and bringing together people who share common practices, be it in manufacturing, higher education, software development, eCommerce, business processes or healthcare.

Lean Coffee runs like a lean enterprise, so items for discussion are identified, prioritised and then discussed in a time boxed fashion – all in an hour. Best of all, there’s no preparation required and you usually have a few laughs along the way!

Since Jim Benson and Jeremy Lightsmith conceived of the idea of starting a group that would discuss Lean techniques in knowledge work in Seattle in 2009, dozens of groups have sprung up. Jim and Jeremy didn’t want to start a whole new cumbersome organization with steering committees, speakers, and such. They wanted a group that did not rely on anything other than people showing up and wanting to learn or create.

Since joining Deakin University six months ago, I’ve been incredibly impressed with the receptiveness of the Geelong community to new ideas. Chatting to eSolutions staff and other professionals in the Geelong community, I was sure that getting people together to share ideas about doing things better through Agile could bring value to Geelong. I also saw this as an opportunity for the university to reach out to the Geelong community and show thought leadership.

That’s exactly what happened last month when 12 people from Deakin, and diverse companies across Geelong, gathered at Waterfront Kitchen at 8:00am to start talking. With just a few instructions, two tables of conversations about Agile happened. For the first few minutes we all scribbled topics for discussion on index cards, and then dot voted on these. Once these were prioritised in our “To do” column, we moved the most popular topic into “In Progress” and discussion commenced. At the end of five minutes we voted with a thumbs up or not, as to whether to continue discussion of that topic, or move onto the next topic. At the end of an hour, our “Done” column reflected a whole bunch of interesting topics we had discussed like “How to manage distributed teams” and “How to induct new members into an Agile team”.

If you are in the Geelong area and interested in sharing ideas about doing business better across the Agile space, then join us for Geelong Lean Coffee.

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