Agile Boston is a lively user group focused on advancing the spread of Agile knowledge and applied practices in the Greater Boston area. We work from a set of values that support our mission and vision to advance the level of Agility in the Greater Boston region.
We meet on the 4th Wednesday of every month (along 128). Once or twice a year we do larger events: GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM and the agile CULTURE conference.
How to Attend a Meeting
1. Meetings are free. Be careful through– do not sign up for a meeting unless you intend to attend. NOTE: Some upcoming meetings are classes, most of which have a fee. The free monthly meetings are usually on the 4th Wednesday (in Waltham) and the Thursday following (in Boston.)
2. Show up
How to Volunteer to Help
Volunteering is a leadership activity. When you volunteer, you are leading by serving the people who attend the event. To volunteer, first take a look at the Agile Boston core values. We use these for guiding decisions. We also use these for planning and executing the monthly meetings and larger events. When you volunteer to help with an event, you are signing up to use these values to guide what you do when volunteering. You can signal an interest in volunteering after examining the core values. Send us an email about volunteering.
We started life early in the Fall of 2008. Our first few monthly meetings were attended by up to 140 attendees. We continued to convene and execute well-attended monthly meetings every 4th Wednesday, for about a year.
In 2009, we started developing larger, 1-day, conference events, like GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM. This event has become a cultural tradition for Boston. Each year, we honor Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber, the co-formulators of Scrum. We literally “give thanks for Scrum” on the day-before-the-day-before Thanksgiving each year. In 2009, we had 230 people show up for GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM. That was a little over the top. We now limit attendance to 165 people, so we have some space to move around. You can learn more here.
We also pioneered the use of Open Space in Boston, delivering Open Space events as early as Spring 2009. We developed the Agile Boston Open event format, a hybrid format featuring a traditional conference format in the AM and an Open Space in the afternoon. In the Spring of 2010, we had 240++ people attend the Agile Boston Open event at the Microsoft location in Waltham. In the Fall of 2010, we had 240++ people attend the Agile Boston Open event at the Westin Hotel. In the Fall of 2011, we convened a similar event, Agile Day in Boston. For that event, we created full proceedings in PDF format. We set up to receive handwritten reports from conveners, scanned them, and shipped them off to a transcriber. Now we teach other Agile groups throughout the world exactly how to do this. If you want to know how, contact us and we will help you.
We run monthly meetings, and larger events. We continue to pioneer Open Space events. We bring in edgy speakers with something to say. We are actively taking steps to raise the level of agility in Greater Boston. Please join us !
Leadership and Governance
Structure must be able to scale up AND down as needed. Decisions must be made without delay; consistent with wise decision-making. A bias toward action tends to create at least the potential for great results. Community activities can be predictable and orderly at one extreme, and unpredictable and chaotic at the other. Given this reality, we assemble a toolbox and we implement it. This set of structural tools allows us to optimize on relationship and connection … with the ability to rapidly respond to change, as we execute on our stated intent to: innovate as we help raise the level of Agility in Greater Boston.
Here are the tools we use to structure our work, listing from widest to narrowest scope:
- Sociocracy– the governance structure
- Scrum– a way of working in teams
- The Core Protocols– structured interactions encouraging team greatness
Sociocracy: We use sociocracy for defining leadership relationships, roles, and related interactions. Sociocracy is a governance structure optimized on relationships. The assumption is that respectful relations lead to greater decisions and results aligned with intentions, or ‘aim’. Sociocracy provides rules for elections, making decisions, and acting. The case history of sociocracy includes scaling to very large structures of several thousand people. The Agile Boston Leadership Circle implements the canonical sociocracy structure. John Buck and Sharon Villines are the authors of WE THE PEOPLE, the definitive sociocracy guide.
See Sociocracy and We The People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy
Scrum: Sociocracy supports any practice that is in alignment with sociocratic principles. Scrum is aligned with and supports sociocracy, and vice-versa. We therefore include Scrum in our toolbox for executing on authorized work. Scrum features are used to varying degrees based on the aims of the people doing the work. We Agile folks are familar with Scrum principles and therefore find them an easy fit when executing on tasks like executing community meetings, larger events and the like. The Leadership Circle uses Scrum as needed. It is important to note that Scrum is one of several available ways to organize, consistent with the principles of sociocracy. Any useful tool or framework in alignment with sociocratic principles qualifies for consideration and possible use when doing work. Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber are the stewards of the canonical Scrum standard.
See Scrum Guide and Scrum Values. Agile Boston core values derive from Scrum’s 5-value set. See Scrum Values for more detail on this.
Core Protocols: The Core Protocols are formalized, interpersonal interaction patterns that tend to associate with genuine team greatness. Scrum and sociocracy alike support self-organization of teams. Self-organizing includes defining ways of engaging in dialogue, reflecting, deciding and the like. Other important interactions that great teams must address include asking for help, sending and receiving feedback, and developing interpersonal alignments. The Core Protocols from Jim and Michele McCarthy provide guidance and structure for these tasks.
We use the Core Protocols to help create a bias toward action. When we are struck, we evoke the Core and use it to get movement. The Core Protocols are 11 core interactions based upon 11 (hard) core commitments.
See the Core Commitments, The Core Protocols, and the web site of McCarthy Technologies.
The formulators of these important social technologies, Jim and Michele McCarthy, periodically post important podcasts and blog entries here.
Agile Boston Leadership Circle
The circle is composed of members who have demonstrated and invested substantial effort and energy in service to the wide Agile community located in the Greater Boston region. Additional circle members are elected by consent. Consent here is the sociocratic definition of that term. You may learn more about sociocratic consent here.
The Agile Boston Leadership Circle’s aim is to ensure all activities of Agile Boston are aligned with the stated intent of the group as articulated by the vision, mission and core values.
Current Agile Boston Leadership Circle Members (listed in alpha order, by last name) include:
Leadership Entry Points
Additional Leadership Circle members are nominated and elected from the ranks for Volunteers. Agile Boston Volunteers must first signal a clear understanding of the group’s core values and consent to aligning with them. Alignment in this context means applying the core values consistently, as guidance, when executing authorized tasks as a person occupying a Agile Boston Volunteer role.
From there the opportunities include a kind of progression:
- Working monthly meetings
- Working larger conference events
- Arranging and executing courses and seminars offered by Agile Boston
- Delivering an intro-to-Agile at a monthly meeting
- Leading monthly meetings
Questions? Contact Us.