Have you ever attended an Agile End-of-Sprint Retrospective?
My favorite part of the Agile Software Development (https://www.agilealliance.org/agile101/practices-timeline/) methodology is the End-Of-Sprint Retrospective (https://www.scrumalliance.org/community/articles/2014/april/key-elements-of-sprint-retrospective). Every two weeks, the software development team gets to come together as a whole and reflect on just how much they accomplished. During the meeting, they discuss what went well, what didn't go well, what the team needs to work on.
• Each Participant writes down on Post-It Notes topics they want to discuss.
• After grouping up similar topics, each person votes on which topics they want to discuss. Each participant gets two votes to spend.
• "Timebox" how long you want to spend on a topic. Five minutes? Ten minutes?
• Time's up? Revote to add more time or jump to the next topic.
What If We Modeled Dinner Discussions on an Agile End-of-Sprint Retrospective?
If we did that, it would be called a "Lean Coffee".
"Lean Coffee started in Seattle in 2009. Jim Benson (http://twitter.com/ourfounder) and Jeremy Lightsmith (http://twitter.com/lightsmith) wanted to start a group that would discuss Lean techniques in knowledge work – but 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". - LeanCoffee.Org (http://leancoffee.org/)
"The Lean Coffee format is both easy to follow and effective at facilitating learning and collaboration through group discussions. Although the name combines ‘Lean’ (eg. Lean Thinking, Lean Startup, etc.) and ‘Coffee’ (implying casual morning sessions), neither the topics nor the meeting times need be so rigid. For instance, I’ve attended Lean Coffee meetups held in mornings, afternoons and evenings. You can gather at a local coffee house, a pub or at your office. Most successful Lean Coffee groups maintain a reliable cadence, meeting at the same time and place each week or two". - AgileCoffee.com (http://agilecoffee.com/leancoffee/)
The Ministry of Testing - London Meetup has been running events like this for a while. So far, we ran one event like this... let's try another!
Where to Meet:
T.J. will be in the basement of Panera trying like heck to save tables for everyone in the downstairs area. He should get there by 6:15 pm or so, and will start jockeying for tables then.
T.J. is five-foot seven with short brown hair, blue eyes, a "Hello My Name is T.J." nametag. There will be a red MEETUP sign attached to his black messenger bag.
About the Event:
T.J. will bring Post-It Notes and Sharpies for people to use.
• We can pick discussion topics -- loosely related to software testing or quality assurance -- while looking at menus.
• After reviewing the topics, grouping up similar ones in a "To Be Discussed" pile, we can vote on which we want to discuss. Each person can vote twice! Either twice on the same topic, or once on two separate topics.
• How long does the group want to talk about the topic? Five minutes? Ten? We can go around the table to casually compare and contrast different viewpoints about the topic. The Post-It Note is in the "Discussing" pile.
• Time's up? Do want to still talk about the topic? Extend it another five or ten minutes. If not, retire the topic in the "Topic Discussed" pile, and on to the next topic!