Agile:MK April - Muhammad Meghji: Apart Yet Together: The Tales of Delivering Value Remotely

April 13, 2017 at 6pm, Workplace HQ, Milton Keynes

We've heard it a thousand times: Agile works best when you're all in the same proximity. But sometimes that's not possible - or even desirable. When talented developers can be had for a fraction of the cost on the other side of the world, how can you take advantage of that, and yet maintain team cohesion and agility? 

When the best talent can be drawn from across the world, with individuals who do their best work from the beach, the ranch, or the family home, how can they stay productive and focused as part of an agile team? What might be some of the gotchas to look out for?

Muhammad Meghji

Twitter: @mameghji

Muhammad is a people centred Certified ScrumMaster and Agile Coach who is passionate and self-motivated with over 9 years of experience working with teams delivering high value software using Agile principles.

With in-depth knowledge of various flavours of Agile, including Scrum, Kanban, Lean and XP, he promotes and encourages relevant best practices from each methodology leading teams towards small and incremental improvements whilst building high performance teams.

With solid real world experience of both local and geographically distributed teams, he is delivery focused, working closely with teams, product owners and stakeholders to ensure delivery of sprint goals and commitments whilst taking the department on a value driven Agile transformation journey.

Rob Redpath

Twitter: @robredpath

Rob took a remote job 3 years ago and hasn't looked back! Across being a developer, product owner and coach to his teams, Rob's spend the last few years enjoying the challenges of delivering value remotely and taking advantage of the opportunities that it presents.

Agile:MK Feb/March - John Donoghue: Minimum Viable Agile

March 6, 2017 at 6pm, Jury's Inn, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes

We meet regularly to talk about various Agile topics, but how much Agile is enough? What’s the minimum you need to be doing to be able to call yourself or your organisation Agile? Do we need to feel inadequate or incompetent if we aren’t “properly” Agile? Will the Agile Police really lock us up if we don’t ask the same three questions at our stand-up? And how can we start getting more Agile if we decide we need to? At this session we'll explore these questions to try find a basic foundation from which to assess the usefulness to us of all the different Agile ideas that we might want to consider in future.

John Donoghue is Director of Development at Smart Communications where amongst other things he has responsibility for engineering processes. He’s worked as a Developer, Scrum Master, Product Owner and now is in management, so he’s seen Agile in practice from multiple angles. He’s also a founder member of Agile:MK and vaguely remembers the first meeting where seven people talked about “Agile on non-software projects”.

Agile:MK January - Portia Tung: Night at the Curiosity Carousel

January 23, 2017 at 6pm, Jury's Inn, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes


Does the idea of "play" intrigue you? Do you wish you could play more instead of just eat-work-sleep-repeat? Or perhaps you feel you need permission to play?

Then join us on a mini play adventure!

Based on the initial findings of my play research, what adults need and want most are: 1) reassurance that play isn't a waste of life AND 2) permission to play.

This fun and interactive workshop has been carefully crafted to give participants the chance to experience how we unblock ourselves and unlock our potential as individuals by acknowledging and embracing our playful selves.

Join Portia Tung, Playmaker 001 and Play Coach, to crystallise your definition of play and explore your relationship with play. You'll get to play on the Play Carousel, a mix of exercises, arts and crafts and games to get us thinking and talking about play and having fun!

No mini play adventure is complete without the prospect of change and challenge, so you'll get to take away at least 3 ideas to increase your daily amount of play right away.

Format of the event

  • We apply The School of Play's Play Manifesto 
  • We will work in groups of 4-5 people
  • You choose which activities you take part in
  • You don't have to speak in front of the larger group

What will we explore? 

  • Your personal definition of play
  • Your motivations for play
  • Your relationship with play
  • Your play preferences in terms of Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences

What will you take away? 

  • A clearer understanding of why play is essential to adult development and not just children  
  • A greater sense of desire and confidence to play  
  • An increased sense of self-awareness and empathy for others  
  • Increased creativity and sharper thinking  
  • At least 3 ideas specific to your play preferences to increase play in your life

About The School of Play

The School of Play is dedicated to promoting happier adulthood through lifelong play. The school brings together adults who are curious about the concept of play, want to explore ways to play more in our lives and increase our play intelligence in order to achieve more of what we want in life. Find out more at here. Play soon!

Agile:MK December - Don Ewart: Agile Skills Workshop

December 19, 2016 at 6pm, Jury's Inn, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes


Stepping into an Agile role can be a daunting experience! The skills and behaviour required are very different from the traditional world. Conversely, people in different roles may want to use some of these skills for their own situation. There is often no opportunity to practice these skills before taking on an Agile role. 

In addition, there are many techniques that can be applied under the Agile umbrella, but we often get stuck doing things in the same way. 

In this workshop, you will have the opportunity to explore and practice different Agile skills in a safe, and fun!, environment. You can try out different roles and discuss with your peers the different techniques and approaches you can use in your organizations.

Agile:MK November - Milan Juza & Angie Main: Servant Leadership

Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 6pm, Jury's Inn, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes

Too often, agile is perceived as an 'IT' initiative and agile adoption happens on a backdrop of a command and control leadership. As a result, agile transformations often fail. Experience from many organisations has shown that the importance of changing the overall organisational culture and leadership style cannot be overstated.

In this session, Milan Juza and Angie Main will bring alive the practical & proven principles of Servant Leadership. Milan and Angie will invite participants to interact, discussing their experience of leadership today which setting the scene for the opportunity (and challenges) of adopting different ways of working as a part of the journey to a true organisational agility.  This session will help you understand what Servant Leadership is, why it is a great fit for many organisations and how you as an individual can adopt Servant Leadership practices.

Milan Juza

Milan has been leading and working with agile teams for a many years and in multiple sectors. Milan's background is in programme and product delivery and during his career he has led delivery of several groundbreaking products and services. In recent years, Milan held a number of senior technology roles in various organisations and led several large-scale agile transformation and business change initiatives. Milan strongly believes in ongoing learning and continuous improvement and is passionate about transforming organisations into truly agile, value-driven operations. Milan currently works as an Agile Transformation Director at Barclaycard. 

Angela Main

Angie spent 17 years at a senior leader level in Financial Services majoring in large scale MarComms,Channel Development and Employee Engagement activity before moving to support a wider range of sectors (retail and third sector) as a an independent interim. Angie is a qualified HR and Comms practitioner but says her heart lies simply with helping people understand and adopt new ways or working, she’s been supporting Barclaycards Agile Transformation Programme for the last 12 months – Servant Leadership her most recent deliverable. When she’s not doing the stuff above Angie is to be found at home in Northumberland lighthouse spotting or working on her newest project ‘ North by North – East ‘ , a 2017 multi genre film festival.

Agile:MK September - Software Development is Upside Down - Allan Kelly

Monday October 3, 2016 at 6pm, Jury's Inn, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes

Software Development is really quite simple. True it requires a lot of brain power to think like a machine. But in essence it is simple - it's all ones and zeros isn’t it?

No, the difficult bit is not that you need to be a human super computer to program but that managing software development is counter intuitive, many of the maxims that other managers live by are reversed when you develop software in the twenty first century.

In other words: Software Development is Upside Down - and unless you reverse your thinking you will make it more difficult.

In this presentation Allan Kelly will look at half a dozen ways in which standard management thinking needs to be reversed if software is to be successfully developed.

Agile:MK June - Dave Farley: The Rationale for Continuous Delivery

Monday June 27, 2016 at 6pm, Jury's Inn, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes

Many people working in software development spend their careers without seeing what good looks like. Our history is littered with inefficient processes creating poor quality output, too late to capitalise on the expected business value. How have we got to this state? How do we get past it? What does good really look like?Continuous Delivery changes the economics of software development, find out how and why.

Dave Farley is a thought-leader in the field of Continuous Delivery, DevOps and Software Development in general. He is co-author of the Jolt-award winning book 'Continuous Delivery' a regular conference speaker and blogger and one of the authors of the Reactive Manifesto. 

Dave has been having fun with computers for over 30 years. During that period he has worked on most types of software, from firmware, through tinkering with operating systems and device drivers, to writing games, and commercial applications of all shapes and sizes. He started working in large scale distributed systems about 25 years ago, doing research into the development of loose-coupled, message-based systems - a forerunner of MicroService architectures. 

Dave has a wide range of experience leading the development of complex software in teams, both large and small, in the UK and USA. Dave was an early adopter of agile development techniques, employing iterative development, continuous integration and significant levels of automated testing on commercial projects from the early 1990s. 

Dave is the former Head of Software development at LMAX Ltd, home of the OSS Disruptor, a company that are well known for the excellence of their code and the exemplary nature of their development process.

Dave is now an independent software developer and consultant, and founder and director of Continuous Delivery Ltd

Agile:MK 'May' - Rien Sach: The surprising truth about motivation

Monday June 6, 2016 at 6pm, Jury's Inn, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes

Software is created by people. Sounds obvious doesn't it? Yet often our efforts towards improving software development are devoted to improving tools, using better technology, or enhancing process. Perhaps instead we could consider focusing on the people that develop software. Unfortunately even when we do get around to focusing on our people we can often do more damage than good by using an out-dated 20th-century stick and carrot approach to motivation. 

In this session I'll share with you what I know from my PhD research investigating motivation in software engineering. I'll combine findings from behavioural science, biology, and psychology and identify where research in all three of these fields is complimentary. 

I'm a product development manager with a background in research where I investigated motivation in software engineering with high-performing software development teams. My research has been published at several prestigious conferences and I have completed a PhD with my thesis entitled "The Impact of Feedback on the Motivation of Software Engineers". 

I now spend most of my time trying to create an environment where developers feel motivated and can deliver truly exceptional results, and actually enjoy coming to work. Sometimes, I succeed.

Agile:MK April - Mike Burrows: Are we there yet? (Kanban)

Monday April 25, 2016 at 6pm, Jury's Inn, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes

How can you know where you’re going when you don’t know where you are? With values-based delivery, values-based change and values-based leadership, we integrate a fresh understanding of how we currently operate, our shared priorities for change, and the means to keep the organisation evolving deliberately and continuously. Along the way we’ll illustrate some highly practical techniques too, including visual management, controls on work-progress, and the capture and use of metrics.

Mike is the founder of Agendashift, author of the book "Kanban from the Inside", consultant, and trainer. In recent months he has been the interim delivery manager for two UK government digital "exemplar" projects and consultant to public and private sector organisations at home and abroad. Prior to his consulting career, he was global development manager and Executive Director at a top tier investment bank, and IT Director for an energy risk management startup.

Agile:MK March - Karim Harbott: Economics of Product Development

March 21, 2016 at 6pm, Jury's Inn, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes

Karim Harbott is an Agile / Kanban Coach and Trainer who has worked with many organisations to help them to transform their culture and software delivery capability. Specialising in Scrum, XP, Lean and Kanban, particularly at scale, he is well placed to advise on the delivery of maximum value to customers.

In a career spanning over 12 years, he has worked in industries such as financial services, banking, payments, e-commerce, retail, travel, government, and gaming; delivering change and guiding the adoption of Lean-Agile values, principle and practices.

Karim is a Certified Scrum Coach, SAFe Program Consultant, Accredited Kanban Trainer, Certified LeSS Practitioner, and ICF Professional Certified Coach


Agile:MK February - Cynefin with Dave Snowden

February 29, 2016 at 6pm, Jury's Inn, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes

Did you ever make a decision that seemed right to you, then you later realised you'd totally misjudged the situation? The Cynefin framework promotes understanding of different situations and assessment of responses that are appropriate to the individual context.

Cynefin has relatively recently become part of the Agile toolkit, but has a prior history of being used in multiple situations including policymaking within the George W. Bush administration, measurement in the NHS, management of food chain risks and interactions during disaster control. 

Dave Snowden developed the Cynefin framework and is now founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge, a consulting company and research network focusing on complexity theory in sensemaking.


Agile:MK January - Business Mapping with Dan North

January 28, 2016 at 6pm, Workplace Systems, Precedent Drive, Milton Keynes, MK13 8PP

PLEASE NOTE the changed day and time for this meetup

Dan has been coaching, coding and consulting for over 20 years, with a focus on applying systems thinking and simple technology to solve complex business problems. He uses techniques from Lean operations, Theory of Constraints and Agile software development to help IT organisations anticipate and respond to the challenges of changing business needs.

Dan is the originator of Behaviour-Driven Development, an agile approach to software development that encourages teams to deliver the software that matters by emphasising the interactions between stakeholders. He also proposed Deliberate Discovery, which challenges assumptions around software planning and estimation. He argues that there are no best practices and that everything we do is subject to opportunity cost.

He is a popular keynote and session speaker at international technology conferences, on topics as diverse as software architecture, behavioural psychology, simplicity, uncertainty and learning. His presentation style has been described as Eddie Izzard meets the Architect from The Matrix.


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Agile:MK December - Agile in Non-Agile Environment with the Open University

December 14, 2015 at 6pm, Room 110, Jury's Inn, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes

In December Agile:MK will partner with The Open University and use Ketso to explore strategies, solutions, and tactics for overcoming problems and obstacles experienced by Agile teams in non-Agile environments.

Recent research by the Agile Research Network (ARN) found that in more than 75% of organisations Agile practices are used in conjunction with other software engineering methods such as PRINCE2, Waterfall, Spiral, or in an Ad-hoc way. This is in engineering alone – other areas of the business may have not even heard of Agile. This presents a challenge as Agile frameworks require a support structure from the wider business to be truly effective.

In this highly interactive session, we want to know your strategies, solutions, and tactics for trying to be Agile in a non-Agile environment. We’ll be using Ketso, a hands-on kit for creative engagement so you’ll have tangible ideas to take back to your workplace.

About the Agile Research Network (ARN) 

The Agile Research Network (ARN) is a collaboration between the Open University and the University of Central Lancashire. Partly funded by the DSDM Consortium, the ARN exists to bridge the gap between academia and industry. We conduct case studies focussed on Agile practices, challenges, and solutions with companies. Our recommendations are based on in-depth, data-driven, empirical research. For more details please visit

About Ketso 

Ketso is a toolkit for creative engagement, and provides a structured way to run a workshop. Ketso attempts to get everyone involved and give everyone a voice, proving a creative environment where the workshop can be more useful for everyone. Notable examples of places where the Ketso method has been used are - the NHS, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, University of Pretoria, Tesco, University of Liverpool, and Airbus France. For more details please visit


Agile:MK November - Transformations for Business Agility with John Coleman

November 23, 2015 at 6pm, Room 102, Jury's Inn, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes

John Coleman, Agile Coach. John specialises in transformations for business agility using change models based on change leadership, change evolution and behavioural change. John has worked with numerous enterprises including Shell and British Gas. Participants can expect to practise a novel and emergent approach to preparing the ground for a roll out of Lean/Agile ways of working.