Agile Malaysia August 2013 Meetup
Venue: MYOB Bangsar South
Back in August last year, the instalment of the Agile Malaysia meetup returned to MYOB’s office in Bangsar South. On the agenda for the night was 1) sharing of some takeaways from the Agile Lean Penang trip, and 2) introduction of Lean Coffee to the group.
Agile Lean Penang Takeaways
By Jeff Au (MYOB)
I presented a quick sharing on the learnings from the Agile Lean Penang held in July. It’s impressive to consider Intel’s hoping to get 10,000 Agilists in their organization by the end of this year; and also comforting to know they think along similar lines as MYOB when it comes to maturing their Agile practices (moving from Scrum to Lean).
For more on my takes of the Agile Lean Penang event, you can read my writeup here.
Lean Coffee Introduction
By Reno Chew & Geok Moi (MYOB)
The other highlight of the evening is the introduction to the Agile Malaysia group of Lean Coffee as a form of light-weight, structured yet agenda-less discussion or meeting. For this session, we’ve Reno Chew & Geok Moi, MYOB’s BA (biz analyst) doing the intro.
A bit of background on Lean Coffee. It was started sometime in 2009 in Seattle and since then, various groups – not just Agilists – have adopted Lean Coffee format in their get-togethers to discuss any topics of interests. Lean Coffee at its core is an agenda-less approach to forming topics of general interests to discuss vs having someone decide on the topics to talk about. It draws on group consensus to decide which topics to discuss (ie those with most votes) and how long the group should be discussing the topics (thumbs up or down vote ever 3 min).
How to do Lean Coffee
The way MYOB tends to do our lean coffee sessions are as follow. Feel free to customize it to your context.
- Everyone is welcome to suggest topics they are interested in discussing. You simply write down the topic on sticky notes. Sometimes the facilitator may set a theme for the discussion, most times we’ll just leave it on a broad topic
- The sticky notes are organized into a personal kanban of three columns – To Discuss, Discussing and Discussed
- The proposer of the topic gets a short time to present his/her topic to the group so that everyone has clarity on the issue
- Everyone then gets to vote on the proposed topics. The number of votes usually depends on how many topics were floated in the session. Usually you get two votes and you only vote once per topic.
- Once everyone has voted, the topics are arranged in number of votes order (highest on top)
- We take the topic (highest vote), move it to the To Discuss column and start discussing (free flow). Usually the discussion starts with the proposer setting the context for the topic and everyone can chip in to the open discussion
- Timebox the discussion session to 3 min (you can vary this timebox longer or shorter depending on your group). Always good to have someone keep time.
- When the time is up, asks everyone for a quick vote by showing thumbs up (continue), thumbs down (move to next topic) or thumbs sideway (neutral). Depending on majority, you will either continue the discussion on the same topic for another 3 min, or end this topic (move the card to Discussed) and pick the next topic from the To Discuss list
- We find that it’s usual for each topic to take about 2-3 timebox sessions (about 9 min) for a good discussion. Some “hot” topics may go on longer – and some topics might end on the 1st session. That’s the beauty of Lean Coffee; the group decides democratically which topics are discussed first and how long the discussion would carry on
- At the end of the session, it may be useful to do a quick retro to capture learnings and takeaways.
Thanks to Reno & Geok Moi for the intro session
We find this format immensely popular with the team when we wish to get together for some knowledge sharing. Our MEL & SYD offices holds weekly Lean Coffee session at 8 am before everyone starts work, and our KL office hosts a monthly internal lean coffee session at cafes around our Bangsar South office. All you need are a set of sticky notes (or index cards), some sharpies and lots of inquisitive minds.
We’ve planning to get into a more regular cadence for running Lean Coffee sessions for Agile Malaysia group. We did one in Sep last year and another one just a few weeks back (Mar 2014). Do keep an eye out on our Facebook site for future Lean Coffee invites. J
If you are doing Lean Coffee in your organization or groups, do let me know if it’s open to the public and I’m happy to promote it for you in our Agile Msia site. Even if it’s your internal lean coffee sessions, I would love to hear how it went for you.
For more on Lean Coffee, check out this site
Andy Kelk of iProperty has also done a good write-up of this evening’s event and you can read it here.