What is a Lean Coffee? (...and why I will call it Lean Beer)

Our facilitator will be the talented Mr. Jason Montague...

Essentially, a Lean Coffee is a group of people working together to learn about lean in an informal setting.  It's like a mini-unconference where the participants decide on the schedule.  The timeframe is typically one to two hours.  The number of people is best between 6-8 but 4-10 works fine.  As more arrive, we can break into teams.  Because we are in Milwaukee and our host will be providing free beer, I have chosen to call it Lean Beer.  It's just the way we need to do it here in Wisconsin.  :)

Here's how it works. 

One person facilitates these actions.

Step 1: Everybody writes down topics they'd like to discuss on stickies placing them in a column in the center of the table.  Give as much time as needed, but typically takes only 3-5 minutes.

Step 2: Each topic is briefly described by its writer (15-30 seconds typically per stickie).

Step 3: Each person gets three votes which they indicate by marking the voted for stickie with a dot (they can put as many votes as they like on one stickie).

Step 4: The top three stickies are placed in a new column, ordered by the stickies with the most votes at the top

Step 5: Each of these stickies are discussed for 5-15 minutes.  When the facilitator thinks the discussion has reached a good end-point she asks if everyone is complete. When complete move the stickie over into a new column that represents 'done'.  Repeat step until all done.

Step 6: If enough time is left over, do another stickie or two.

Celebrate being done.


Milwaukee Agile is geared toward both experienced and brand new practitioners. The pizza and beer are free and sponsored by Redpoint Technologies and MillerCoors.

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  • Derek W

    This is awesome! Did you mention to Jim that the concept is taking off in the midwest?

    February 23, 2012

  • Philippe De M.

    Great topics and great discussions. Also, it was great to meet some of great people for first time (internal joke for those of you shall remain anonymous).

    February 8, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Really practical, useful discussion.

    February 8, 2012

  • Jason H.

    I thought this was one of the more engaging sessions we've had in a while. Excellent job by Jason Montague in facilitating the discussion.

    February 8, 2012

  • Jason M.

    For the first Lean Beer in Wisconsin, this was awesome! Very impressed with the groups excitement and all the great ideas / sharing happening tonight!

    February 7, 2012

  • Carl S.

    I wish I could've attended the first public "lean beer" in Milwaukee, but made plans to go to check out the next version of TFS @ the .net user group. Have fun!

    February 7, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sounds like fun!

    February 7, 2012

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