What is Practical Agile?

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Practical Agile is an informal group for members of software development teams to discuss real world agile issues to share ideas, challenges and successes.

It was borne out of a realisation that there are lots of teams in the region developing software using different agile approaches, facing many similar challenges and with a lot of experience to share.

Although there are excellent places to go and listen to other people talk about agile topics there wasn’t really anywhere dedicated to more interactive discussion. We wanted to provide an environment where people could meet up and talk about the practical issues they are facing and to sound people out about new ideas.

We started these monthly sessions in April 2016 and have been encouraged by the response to date with some really good insights and a few people taking away new ideas to try out with their teams as a result.

The format is simple:

  • We start with a brief 5 minute intro to cover what Practical Agile is all about.
  • Next we have a quick spotlight where a representative of a different company can tell us about who they are, what they do and what their development team is like and about their company’s agile journey.

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We then get down to the reason we’re all here:

  • We have a backlog of topics which anyone can add to and then the backlog is prioritized by each casting two votes for their personal preference(s).
  • The votes are tallied and the group determines the two highest priority topics.
  • We split into two subgroups (each progressing a single topic) and discuss our experiences and thoughts on that topic.
  • At half time (facilitated by a slice or two of pizza and a fresh drink) each topic progresses to the other team who again add their thoughts and experience.
  • Finally we review our discussion as a joint group, feeding back opinions, learnings and possible actions on the two topics.
  • There’s also a Retrospective board where the members can add any feedback on our meeting so we continuous improve (even if it’s just a change of pizza topping!)

It is open to absolutely anyone with a genuine interest in sharing and learning about agile development.

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