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 except November and December. We meet at Microsoft in Waltham, MA. You can get directions here. Once or twice a year we do larger events.
How to Attend a Meeting
1. Meetings are free. Be careful through– do not sign up for a meeting unless you intend to attend. All you have to do is check the upcoming meetings listings, and make note of the date. Meeting pages have a registration link. NOTE: Some upcoming meetings are classes, most of which have a fee. The free monthly meetings are usually on the 4th Wednesday and held at Microsoft in Waltham.
2. Show up; you can find directions here.
How to Get on the Mailing List
if you attend an event, you get on the mailing list automatically. To opt-in to receive emails without attending an event, you can get on the mailing list here.
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.
Agile Day in Boston innovated in dimensions beyond the rapid generation full-featured oOpen Space proceedings in digital formats. We also collaborated with AgileNYC and linked Boston with New York City. Agile Day in Boston was a historic event which was the first to link two huge cities like this. We rented a big honking party bus and delivered speakers and sponsors from Agile Day in NYC to the Boston event! We had a great time doing this.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Dan is the founder of DCL Agility, LLC, a provider of agile and Scrum coaching, training, and transition services. He is the first Certified Scrum Coach in New England with over twenty years in software product development as a developer, manager, director, and coach. He has been applying agile practices to successfully deliver products since 2003.
Dan spent two years as the internal agile coach for Kronos, a Boston-based software company, where he coordinated and implemented Scrum within the 700 person engineering organization across all sites including Massachusetts, Atlanta, Chicago, Oregon, Montreal, British Columbia, Belgium and India. This resulted in increased visibility into the development process and a reduction in defects by 60% in 18 months.
Dan is a coach and trusted advisor to executives, project sponsors, managers and teams developing complex products using Agile and Scrum. Dan’s firm New Technology Solutions, Inc. delivers Agile training, executive coaching and consulting to businesses of all sizes. Clients include Zappos Insights, Orpheus Orchestra, CIGNA, The Hartford Insurance companies, SUNGARD Financial. Siemens Corporation, Sikorsky Aircraft and dozens of mid-market organizations.
Frank is an Agile Coach with over 20 years of experience spanning software development, computer engineering, application engineering, technology marketing, & project management. By leveraging the depth and diversity of his background, he’s able to help cross-functional teams bridge the knowledge gaps that often manifest themselves as impediments and technical debt. He calls it “finding the in-betweens”. Paired up with his style as a servant leader, he’s able to champion teams that include executives, marketers, designers, developers, and engineers. Frank has a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Clarkson University and is a Certified Scrum Master (CSM). His industry background includes Enterprise Mobile, Insurance, Financial Systems, Design Automation, Defense Systems, Technology Marketing, and Web Technologies.
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.
Questions? Contact Us.