I want to spend a blog post just to highlight our feelings and attitudes towards some administrative type activities for the group and provide a forum for your comments.
Email and Spam
I really try to protect the group from Spam Emails. We use a tool called MeetUp and it does provide the ability for users to opt out of mailing lists etc…For those of you who have, I would like to understand the reasons (please challenge any communication you receive from us, forward it to me and highlight that it is not the type of information you expect from our group). My hope is to be a communication hub not only for the activities we have coming up, but we also get requests for job postings and trainings that are coming to Dallas. The emails are up in a digest fashion so you can get a consolidated listing of the message board topics each TUE. We use the message board to post just about any information outside of the meeting agenda. So please feel free to adjust your mail settings in MeetUp to get a digest of the message board once a week. If you have disabled your ability to receive email in MeetUp, I would encourage you to re-activate it and challenge us on any extraneous information you receive so we can be aware and either justify or agree that it was an erroneous email topic for our group. In addition, Scrum trainers that are coming to down provide free seats to our group and sometimes it is not easy to see all the training coming to Dallas, so I feel out group is a great spot to be aware of that.
Calls for Presentations
Gary and I make it a point to protect the group from the many calls we get from people wanting to present at our group. My normal response is that we don’t typically like just a stand-up presentation, our group benefits more from active Q&A as well as activities that drive Scrum points home. Naturally, with the quarterly meetings, I do actively pursue speakers (typically authors or early adopters of the Agile Manifesto).
As our group grows and gains more visibility, we receive more and more requests from people who want to present to our group. That is actually a great thing, anyone who has thoughts and ideas to share with the group on Scrum and Agile Engineering Principals is most certainly welcome. All that to say that we do receive requests from people who are not really part of the group, they just want the group’s ear. We listen to their ideas and decide if it would be beneficial to the group. Sometimes we get winners, sometimes we don’t. But we do learn from the ones we don’t and will heighten our alert for the next time.
For the site however, there is neat tool for Ideas. You can post an idea and others can vote / comment on it and I can eventually turn it into an actual MeetUp. So starting in the near future, I think anyone who has an idea or wants to present to the group, I would first encourage you to post an idea yourself by “Suggesting a Meetup“, but for those outside of our group who want to present, I will post it as an idea. If I get enough interest (which will be defined iteratively I guess), then we will turn it into a MeetUp. This however requires you all to receive the message board emails so I can make the idea visible to the group. Then at your leisure you can comment / vote on the idea.
Tools and Services
Next up is the topic of presentations we get for people who simply want to demo their tools. I don’t want to hide the fact that some companies out there present on a topic, but have secondary (or even primary) motivations to push their tool or sell services. We absolutely frown on that for general meetings, however, I do recognize that it might be nice to reserve a session bi-annually or so where we can get vendors a place to show tools and services. Sometimes you might be looking for that and what a great place to see them all in one meeting. We could give each vendor 20 min or so to show us what they got and then provide time after the meeting for people to go interact with them separately. So be looking for that in the future, there is value in knowing what tools and services are out there.
Thanks for listening (if you did), I know we have not really formally discussed these topics, so if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please let Gary or I know. We would love to hear from you.