About the Connecticut Chapter of the Agile Project Leaders Network

We are Agile Connecticut, the CT Chapter of the APLN, a nationwide federation of users groups dedicated to promoting, spreading and enabling Agile software development practices worldwide.

Our history locally goes back to the summer of 2007 when we held our first meeting at the Marriot in Farmington CT.

Since then we have held a meeting almost every month.

We usually meet on the 1st Tuesday of the month, but be sure to check the Next Meeting page to be sure of the date and time.

We start monthly meetings promptly at 6PM and end at 8PM. (Lots of people hang and talk after 8PM, so plan on lingering if you want more informal networking time.)


The mission of APLN CONNECTICUT is to explore agile leadership in agile projects, agile product portfolios, and agile enterprises in the region. The Agile Project Leadership Network’s (APLN) overall mission is to connect, develop, and support great project and enterprise leaders using Agile methods nationwide.

Each meeting of the APLN CONNECTICUT Chapter is your chance to network with leading regional experts in the area of Agile Leadership, and to share your experiences and concerns with them and other leaders, who are in the same situation as yourself.
CONNECTICUT’s Chapter of the Agile Project Leadership Network

Each meeting features a speaker and networking opportunities. APLN’s CONNECTICUT chapter targets both new and seasoned Agile leaders – both organizational leaders and project leaders, within IT and outside of IT. The group educates through a tutorial and networking focus. Members and other attendees discover, share, and develop tools and techniques for becoming great leaders in their organization.

APLN CONNECTICUT meets once a month, USUALLY on the FIRST Tuesday of the month. APLN CONNECTICUT provides:

  • Networking opportunities at each meeting;
  • Mini-seminars and experience reports on Agile Leadership: successes, failures, best practices, experiences, advanced leadership tools, and models

Each meeting also features an open forum, where participants raise issues and get answers in an open, peer-to-peer format.

Dan Mezick is the local Scrum Coach who organizes and runs the meetings.

Learn more about Dan here.

Content: Previous Meetings of Agile Connecticut

Here are some highlights of the topics we have covered at previous events.

NOTE: As we present new topics in the monthly meeting, the detail migrates here for historical refererence.

October 06, 2009


These sessions provide tools for understanding and analysis of group-level learning and group-level cognition. The tools apply to groups and your participation in groups and group-level processes. Attend these talks if you have high interest in groups, group dynamics, and the actual mechanics behind self-organizing agile teams.

More Detail Here

September 29, 630PM to 830PM


More Detail Here

Andy has over ten thousand hours logged as a developer and manager of distributed agile development projects. He brings this depth of experience to us in his presentation, revealing what works– and what doesn’t. He also reveals some surprising (perhaps even “shocking”) beliefs about Scrum, agile and high-performance distributed team team velocity.

August 7 2009


Dan Mezick, CT-based Agile & Scrum Coach, Scrum Master, and speaker from Agile2007, Agile2008 and Agile2009, on:

August Meeting Details

July 07 2009: Michael de la Maza on AGILE GAMES

Michael de la Maza presents a great experiental session on learning Agile directly….via AGILE GAMES. This is a cool meeting !


Learning Agile is about doing and experiencing. Books and lectures only take you so far– you have to experience some Agile activities to really get it. In this meeting we play games in teams, to learn specific Agile principles like inspect-and-adapt, fail-fast, determining highest-value activities, iterations, continuous improvement and so on.

SLIDES: Grab the slides HERE.

June 02 2009

Amr Elssamidisy, Agile book author and editor of Agile Journal, on:


June 02 Meeting Details

October 6 2008:

Planning and Estimating, Part 2: Continuing from User Stories and Story Points, we do the deep dive on how to buffer interations, how to manage and estimate velocity, and how to continuously monitor and adjust Release planning. The problem with large Story Point size.

September 2 2008:

Part 1: Agile2008 Trip Report. HIghlights from the Annual Conference. A round-up of the most interesting sessions from the Toronto conference in August. At least 4 sessions are planned for summary presentation. We plan to pick those that represent the biggest trends in Agile and Scrum happening now.

Part 2: The Hidden Life of Groups. The session, as presented by Dan Mezick at Agile2008.

2008-08-12: The State of the Art in Scrum: Trip Report from “Scrum 201” in NYC **PLUS** Playing the XP Game. Summary of attendance experiences and content from Jeff Sutherland’s excellent advanced Scrum course, plus the XP game, a fun, group-level Agile training game.

2008 July: Planning and Estimating: A run-through of the key activities you must execute on to effectively plan and estimate within Agile projects. The conventional wisdom is that Agile and Scrum projects do very little planning. The truth is that on Scrunm projects, planning is a continuous best-practice. Agile practitioners do avoid PREDICTION and that was the focus of this presentation.

Agile, Empiricism and Entrepreneuers: The actual Agile2007 conference session from Dan Mezick, chair and organizer of the group. See the link to the Agile 2007 abstract here.

User Stories Demystified: A treatment of the User Story best practice, a format for collecting requirements. We covered User Stories structure, and size, and how to estimate Stories using Story Points.

Scrum as Attention Manager: Scrum absolutely does not discriminate in terms of dealing with distractions. All distractions are considered WASTE. In this session, we looked at Scrum’s attention-management mechanics and demonstrated how Scrum does an absolutely tremendous job of focusing on the work– at the expense of all kinds of distractions.

Trip Report: Agile2007: An formal rundown of presentations from the annual, international conference on Agile held each year. This report was from the 2007 Washington DC event.

June 01 Meeting: Joe Krebs of Incrementor on AGILE TRANSFORMATION at AOL (America OnLine).




TUESDAY June 01 2010, 630PM to 830PM


Jochen (Joe) Krebs (http://www.jochenkrebs.com) is an Agile Coach and the founder of Incrementor (http://www.incrementor.com), a boutique consulting firm specialized in agile project and product management founded in 2005 and headquartered in NYC.

Joe focuses on enterprise transformation programs and has experience with initiatives planned both top-down or bottom-up. In 2008/2009 he transformed AOL from waterfall to agile project management with Scrum. This impacted the daily life of 3,000 employees around the globe.

Joe is the author of “Agile Portfolio Management”.

Joe founded and organizes the Agile NYC user group in New York City.



May 2008 to October 2009……eighteen months that have changed how people work at AOL forever.

The introduction of Agile to AOL is one of the largest agile transformations ever in the agile industry. This adoption of agile and Scrum at AOL resulted in a huge success for the AOL enterprise and its employees.

The presenter personally coached the teams at AOL from May 2008 to October 2009.

In this session, Joe is planning to :

Share his experiences from this large-scale agile (Scrum) transformation;

Cover the time-line, strategy and motivations for the approach;

Explain how Scrum and other agile practices influenced quality, productivity and the morale of the teams.

Enumerate the detailed lessons learned from this agile journey and what opportunities and challenges lie ahead for AOL.


6:30 PM: AGILE ORIENTATION: Some good stuff from Dan Mezick on Scrum

7:00 PM: Food and networking time

7:15 PM: MAIN EVENT: Experience Report from: Agile Coach Joe Krebs on Agile at AOL




NOTE: Please do not register casually. If you register, make a commitment to attend.

DO NOT register casually for this meeting, as you do us a big disservice to us by distorting the actual count for the seating and food. Registration is an explicit commitment to attend.

If you register and then, for some reason cannot attend, notify us by email. We need this info to execute on a good meeting. You help ALOT by a) registering with a real intent to attend and b) informing us if and when you cannot make it for some reason.

Please help us deliver a great meeting by complying with these simple ground rules.



Vote-Per-Ticket, a Value Creation Engine for Regional Communities of Interest

This note describes the proposed system of “vote per ticket” (VPT) in which participants purchase tickets and attend events, and in so doing intentionally support organizers in the ecosystem that are delivering the most value at that point in time. The model can be used in any market where a large number of user groups exist, such as Boston.

Original date of note: 01/07/2010 by Dan Mezick

Vote Per Ticket (VPT)

The system supports and encourages a diversity of user group organizers who self organize around each other’s events. With VPT all the user group organizations are incented to cooperate while continuously delivering real value to the attending community-at-large. Value here is defined as extremely high-quality, extremely low-cost events that people are actually willing to pay for.

Event organizers in a community are encouraged by the VPT system to focus on the attending public and serve them. The attending public funnels rewards via VPT to the consistent producers of the perceived highest value. This self-reinforcing system encourages more and more value creation for the entire community. The system facilitates community wide collaboration, customer value and overall community growth.

Vote-Per-Ticket Explained

Vote-Per-Ticket (VPT) is a system of continuous economic feedback at the community level based on a ‘special offer’ or ‘discount’ code that identifies a purchase with a specific group, via a code. Purchasers use the code at purchase-time to self-identify with one specific group. Thus, “Vote Per Ticket”.

For example, BROWNPAPERTICKETS.COM provides an online ticketing service. This service allows the operator to define a code that the purchaser can enter at purchase time. For example as an event promoter selling tickets, I can define the codes ‘PMI’, (“PMI”), ‘ABZ’ (for Agile Bazaar) , ‘SPIN’, “(Software Process Improvement Network”) and the like. In this example, each code represents a user group in Boston that sends purchasers over to buy a ticket for Agile Boston’s XYZ event.

For people in the community that attend events, the proces sis simple: get online, buy an event ticket, and specify a code. That code tags that ticket purchase and associates it with a user group or organization. Presumably this organization is bringing the event to it’s membership, but is not the organizer per se.

VPT is a mechanism designed with specific objectives: It is optimized on:

1. Event quantity and variety
2. High attendance
3. Continuous feedback from attendees/group members
4. Responsiveness on the part of organizers
5. Maturity of community’s knowledge level (domain understanding of Lean/agile/Scrum)
6. Growth in community numbers


Say it costs $100 to buy a ticket to the XYZ event. The rule is that 25% of the cost goes to the group that sent the ticket buyer indicated at purchase-time. Thus the ticket purchase is a fund-raiser for the organization associated with the purchaser’s indicated sign-up code. If we run an event that costs $100, then $25 goes back to the originating user group leaving $75 for the promoter (us) for each ticket sold.

Everyone running events operates the same way. In an ideal world, if any group is running an event, the group with a big list and very loyal supporters always gets a nice payoff from ANY community event that people pay to attend. VPT incents every group to promote every other group’s events; rewards the groups that deliver the most value with ongoing material support, and puts the ticket purchaser in charge of the feedback process.

VPT is a “short account” (ie, “continuous”) capital allocation mechanism that delivers rewards to those organizations that deliver the most value and encourages efficient operations, higher frequency communication with “customers”, community growth, “passive collaboration” via the Vote Per Ticket mechanism. Its is adaptive. The key effect is the focus on the customer and customer’s perception of value. Thus each “agent” or individual in the system is involved in shaping the form and content of the community in a continuous manner, via the VPT feedback mechanism.

Advantages of the VPT System

“Vote Per Ticket” is adaptive. As event organizers act, some may underperform and others may out-perform in the eyes of the community-at-large. The VPT mechanism provides a conduit for feedback flow. It is responsive.

The purchasers of tickets are in charge of sending positive and negative feedback in the form of economic “votes” every time they purchase a ticket. That means the VPT increases the responsiveness of the community to changes in perceived value of any and all groups and event organizers in the ecosystem.


FIRST: The Customers may be familiar with many user groups in the community but it can only vote for one on a per-ticket or “per event” basis.

For example a single agile enthusiast may enjoy meeting from Agile Boston, Agile Bazaar, the PMI, and SPIN. But when they buy a ticket for an event, they can only enter one code. That code represents a tiny vote on the part of the buyer. The buyer is in authority over who gets 25% of that ticket purchase.

The vote is supporting a specific group. The assumption is that the best group in the eyes and mind of the purchaser gets the vote (the one who delivers the most perceived value). VPT is a system of meritocracy that institutionalizes a continuous flow of immediate feedback. .

SECOND: Community is supported. The user groups are incented to promote the events of others. Groups get paid for selling tickets for events run by other organizations. This builds community.

THIRD: Quality is supported. Groups doing the best job get the most votes at purchase time.

FOURTH:All groups remain independent but very connected, via the ticket. This encourages and supports a diverse ecosystem. The mechanism to accomplish this is the coded ticket, which is a boundary object. A boundary object is an object held in common across social worlds:

“Boundary objects are objects which are both plastic enough to adapt to local needs and constraints of the several parties employing them, yet robust enough to maintain a common identity across sites. They are weakly structured in common use, and become strongly structured in individual-site use. They may be abstract or concrete. They have different meanings in different social worlds but their structure is common enough to more than one world to make them recognizable means of translation. The creation and management of boundary objects is key in developing and maintaining coherence across intersecting social worlds.

FIFTH: Optimization. The entire community is now optimized on quality, quantity, value and merit. This leads to all kinds of emergent cultural effects that become reinforcing as the community employs the coded ticket to provide continuous feedback from the attending public to all organizations in the ecosystem.

SIXTH: Simplicity. For ticket buyers, it is simple. At the time of payment, they enter a code. That code is a vote that explicitly says “send 25% of this purchase to the group of my choice”

I want to see this done in Boston. It is simple to implement and can cause a doubling of user group development and growth by providing a continuous voting mechanism that funnels resources to the user groups which ticket purchasers believe are most deserving of support.

I believe that the simple VPT mechanism can double the size and improve the overall health of any user group ecosystem.


Boundary Objects on Wikipedia


About the Author

Dan Mezick: An expert on teams and a trusted adviser to CxO-level executives worldwide, Dan consults on enterprise-wide culture change, implementing Scrum, and the often difficult adoption of authentic Lean principles.

He creates and teaches specific, useful tools and techniques for facilitating successful enterprise-wide adoption of agile and Scrum. Dan’s articles on teams and organizational dynamics appear on InfoQ.com, ScrumAlliance.org, and AgileJournal.com. Learn more about Dan Mezick’s agile writing here.

He’s the organizer of the Agile Boston user group and a 3-time presenter at Agile2007, 2008 and 2009, an invited speaker to the Scrum Gathering (Orlando) in 2010 and a news reporter for InfoQ.com

Reach Dan at:

dan.mezick [at] newtechusa [dotcom]

You can learn much more detail about Dan via his Agile Coaching page here.