Wave 2

"Lean Coffee Is Some Powerful @#$%" (-Anonymous CTO)

Session Leader Name: Adam Yuret

Duration: 90 minutes (or until it's supposed to end, whichever comes first)

Audience Level: Any

Session Style: Lean Coffee

Description of Session:

in 2009 Jeremy Lightsmith and Jim Benson founded Seattle Lean Coffee. Every wednesday morning at 8:30 interested parties show up at a coffee shop in Seattle to discuss how they do their work, how it pertains to their personal lives, challenges they've encountered and how they faceded them. Some participants face tough challenges and come looking to the Lean Coffee community for ideas.

The mechanism for lean coffee is a deceptively simple Kanban (i.e. "ready","doing", and "done") using sticky notes on the table of the coffee shop. There are writing utensils and sticky notes for all the attendees to use with which to add topics for discussion. After a short description of the topics in the backlog a vote is held using dots or hash marks on the stickies. Once the backlog is democratically prioritized a time-boxed discussion of the most popular topic begins.

This seemingly simple mechanism has produced some of the most amazing, passionate, and educational discussions in which I've ever participated. One of the most amazing aspects of this phenomenon is that Jim and Jeremy are frequently absent from Lean Coffee due to their busy travel schedules, but Lean Coffee is a living community of practice that is not dependent on a founder or leader. Regardless of who shows up the process always happens and generates value for the participants.

This simple, portable and powerful approach can be used to improve internal meetings such as retrospectives and planning meetings. I've had the privilege of running Lean Coffee with a very high-functioning lean startup and seen first hand the unexpected powerful results.

Anybody can have lean coffee any time anywhere, your local coffee shop, a meeting room or any collaborative workspace, all you need is a surface, stickies, pens and passion. Let's have one at SF Agile! We can discuss whatever the groups chooses, or even be meta and talk about Lean Coffee. Whatever the group decides to discuss, I guarantee they'll come away with an amazing new approach with which to facilitate learning and collaboration.

Session History: I've attended, and often facilitated, Seattle Lean Coffee every wednesday morning at 415 Westlake ave for about a year. An always changing group of professionals from disparate industries (e.g. software, health care, government, and manufacturing) meets to enjoy a self-organized discussion that usually centers around topics such as: lean, agile, scrum, kanban, kaizen, happiness, management, and personal growth.

Here's a link to a blog post I wrote about it: http://contextdrivenagility.com/2011/08/04/seattle-lean-coffee-could-be-anywhere/

Questions Answered By This Session: Learn how to use a powerful mechanism to get maximum value out of meetings.


Submitted by

Session Leader Name(s): Adam Yuret

Idea No. 54