Agile Knoxville meets to have some fun while sharing agile software experiences and best practices, to network, and help others with issues related to agile software development methods. We talk about Scrum, eXtreme Programming, Lean Software Engineering, and other topics that are relevant to agile software development.

Are you interested in presenting on an agile topic? Do you have experiences that you would like to share? We are always looking for people to come and present something.
Please contact Adrian Carr. His email address is his first and last name at

Augist 11, 2015: Tara Nicholson- The Quality of Things

Posted 05/31/2015

This presentation was a favorite at Codestock, and now Tara Nicholson, from Scripps Networks, is bringing the talk to Agile Knoxville.

The Quality of Things

When you're writing a piece of code, how do you know what you've written is quality? Come learn about: What tricks testers know, what tools we leverage, how we know where things will break. These ideas, and case studies from relaunch and other Scripps projects. Knowing what the testers know, you can write stronger code. To make sure we have enough chairs and food, please rsvp here.

The location will be:
117 Center Park Dr.
Knoxville, TN 37922
Map here
Look for a large brick building with a center entrance, right across the road from a small car dealership. Once inside the building, it's the first office on the left. Please share with friends and coworkers. This will be a great meeting, and applicable to people in all roles.

Noon - 1:00, with pizza and refreshments from Recruitwise
To make sure we have enough chairs and food, please rsvp here.

April 28, 2015: Chris Kopek- Secure Agile Development

Posted 04/22/2015

To make sure we have enough chairs and food, please rsvp here.
As requirements are refined and products are incrementally created, it can be easy to leave out security. Many people claim agile methodologies produce less secure products than traditional development models, but this does not have to be the case. This talk will go over practical tools and techniques that agile teams can use to build in security up front.

Chris Kopek, from Cisco Systems, has nearly 10 years of security experience, ranging from identifying security problems, developing security tools, and improving security processes. Recently he led an effort to transition his organization from a phase-gate approach to agile methodologies. His current role of project manager allows him to combine his agile (CSM/CSP), security (CSSLP), and project management (PMP) experience to lead teams in solving unique security challenges. In his spare time he enjoys playing volleyball and spending time with his wife and 6-month old daughter.

The location will be:
117 Center Park Dr.
Knoxville, TN 37922
Map here
Look for a large brick building with a center entrance, right across the road from a small car dealership. Once inside the building, it's the first office on the left. Please share with friends and coworkers. This will be a great meeting, and applicable to people in all roles.

Noon - 1:00, with pizza and refreshments from Recruitwise
To make sure we have enough chairs and food, please rsvp here.

November 5, 2014: Bob Schatz of Agile Infusion -

Don't DO Agile

Posted 10/31/2014

Synopsis: I have spent over a decade pioneering, developing, and using agile techniques. I have helped countless people learn and employ agile practices in companies around the world. I have watched many organizations learn the practices and follow rules rather well. However, the whole point of agile practices from the very beginning was to find ways to improve, and never stop. A rare number of people have done exactly that. Sadly, too many people have learned to "do the agile dance" but they have not focused on fostering a culture of continuous improvement. Instead, some choose to mire themselves in debate after debate about the ceremonies, the frameworks, the methods, and the roles. None of it means anything unless an organization finds ways to continually satisfy their rapidly-changing customer through the product development process. So, Stop "DOING AGILE" and start focusing on getting better.

The location will be:
The White Stone Group
2030 Falling Waters Rd, Suite 250
Knoxville, TN 37922,-84.0776149,13z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xf057f7ca12661fa
Just come in the front door of the building, come up to the second floor, and follow the signs. Please share with friends and coworkers. This will be a great meeting, and applicable to people in all roles.

6:00-6:30 Pizza and refreshments from Recruitwise and Networking
6:30-8:00 Announcements, Meeting

November 12, 2013: Tommy Norman-

Posted 11/03/2013

Agile Quality Assurance: The Long Ugly Tale of How We Got Better

Come hear the tale of a company's trek to adopt Scrum and other Agile practices and how they turned a culture of just get it done to one that put quality first. Listen to the woeful beginnings where developers outnumbered quality engineers 7 to 1 and could never keep up during each Sprint. Cringe as you are immersed into a culture where code was king and testing was often scuttled or entirely left out. Despair with us while hearing the agonizing accounts of team ripped asunder by vast distances, bristling attitudes, and disparate values. Follow along with our small band of heroes as they strive to bring the true values of Agile, starting with localized successes while continuously pounding against the walls of inertia around the company's management. Feel the hope as their movement gains hold and their number of converts increases until at last the walls of muscle memory collapse and a new era of collaborative teams delivering release ready, quality code at the end of each Sprint.

In all seriousness, this session is an account of our struggle with Agile with a focus on Quality Assurance. Presented from various viewpoints of a developer turned QA manager turned Agile coach and the QA lead who helped him bring about a cultural focus on Quality that was 3 years in the making. We'll discuss our many missteps, our techniques to bring everyone into the fold from engineering up to management, and how we put practices in place to sustain that culture.

Tommy Norman is a Senior Consultant with Holland Square Group leading their Agile Solutions group. For over 17 years he has been helping clients build solutions using both Agile and traditional approaches as a Certified Scrum Master / Professional (CSM/CSP), Professional Scrum Master (PSM I), as well as a Microsoft ALM MVP. Tommy is a coordinator for the Nashville Agile User Group, one of the original founders of the devLink Technical Conference, a past president and board member of the Nashville .NET User Group, and a frequent speaker at both local and national events. He blogs about Agile, TFS, and .NET at and rambles about most everything on Twitter as @tommynorman. When not working, he enjoys being at home with his family of 5, playing guitar, and music.

6:00-6:20 Pizza from Recruitwise and Networking
6:25-7:45 Announcements, Meeting

August 6, 2013: Brian Saylor-

Posted 7/27/2013

Distributed Agile Teams

Register here.- It's fast and easy.
Even though team collocation is strongly recommended in agile methodologies, a distributed team is often required in the real world today. What is so important about collocating anyway? Can you overcome the challenges of a distributed Scrum team and still remain agile? What are the solutions? Brian Saylor tackles these important questions and more. While Brian realizes that implementing Scrum and agile practices in a distributed team is not easy, he found that it is possible if you understand the inherent problems and work hard—every day—to overcome them. Brian walks you through the reasons collocating is important for agile teams and the extra challenges distributed agile teams face. Then he dives into practical, real-world tools, tips, and techniques that organizations should research and consider.

As the software development manager for Scripps Networks Interactive, Brian Saylor oversees a number of geographically dispersed development teams, which enhance and maintain the company's consumer websites and supporting platforms. The Scripps portfolio of websites includes,,, and dozens of others. Brian's career has included work at start-up companies as well as large corporations as a developer, consultant, team lead, and manager. He is recognized for his ability to solve complex technical challenges in a practical manner for all aspects of Internet-based systems.

May 30, 2012: Tim Korson-

Posted 5/19/2012

Slicing Product Backlog Items – A Vital Scrum Skill

In this practical workshop, we teach you how to apply scenario based decomposition skills to slice Scrum Product Backlog Items into appropriately sized items ready for the Sprint Planning Meeting. Product owners often define stories that are too big to develop or test within a sprint. A team member with scenario based decomposition skills can help the product owner slice features into small sprint-sized items that can easily be developed and tested within a sprint. This is a crucial skill that many Scrum teams lack. In this workshop, we will demonstrate the technique, then if there is enough time left we will have the workshop participants apply the technique on their own, producing appropriately sliced and sized items ready for the next sprint planning meeting.

April 18, 2012: Alston Hodge-

Posted 4/15/2012

Considerations in Agile Adoption and Adaptation

Should I adopt pure Scrum or adapt it to our company's culture? Does the concept of "Stop, Inspect, Adapt" also apply to Agile adoption within my company? Come join us as Alston Hodge (Enterprise Agile coach) leads a discussion on when to adopt and when to adapt Agile values, principles and practices. He will share real-world examples of successes and challenges in addressing this issue.

Alston Hodge is a certified Scrum Professional, certified Scrum Product Owner, and Project Management Professional with 25 years of diverse management experience in multi-million dollar program and project implementation. He has proven experience in completing programs and projects in a variety of industries including Insurance, Information Technology, Energy, Government, Healthcare and Hospitality. His extensive experience includes coaching, managing, mentoring, and training scrummasters, product owners and project managers. Alston is the founder of the Louisville Agile Forum and serves as the enterprise Agile coach for Humana.

March 8, 2012: Jon Terry- Intro to Lean and Kanban

Posted 2/25/2012

We all know that Agile is sweeping the project management world. Or is it Lean? Lean Agile? Scrum? Kanban? Scrumagilean, maybe? Jon Terry of LeanKit will discuss how these ideas relate to each other. How Lean principles provide the organizational framework to allow Agile to succeed beyond the team level. What the Kanban method really is. Hint: It's not just an alternative to Scrum for maintenance teams. And how you can use the data that Kanban provides for dramatically better forecasting and continuous improvement.
We will discuss:

  • The Toyota Production System and its Lean/Agile children
  • Lean Principles Overview
  • Visual management and pull scheduling
  • Kanban, Scrum, and Scrumban
  • Workflow metrics based on actual results not estimates

Jon Terry is Chief Operating Officer of LeanKit, makers of LeanKit Kanban. Prior to joining LeanKit, Jon held a number of senior IT positions with hospital-giant HCA and its subsidiary HealthTrust Purchasing Group. During that time he was among those responsible for launching HCA’s widespread adoption of Lean/Agile methods. Jon earned his Global Executive MBA from Georgetown University and ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. He is a Project Management Professional and a Certified Scrum Master.

January 26, 2012 - Don Gray

Posted January 19, 2012

On Thursday, January 26, Don Gray will present a talk on integrating agile with your company's culture.

Here's a synopsis:

Considering your company's culture when introducing Agile into your organization allows you to tailor your approach. Going even further, it's important to understand the people in your organization, how they react to change and what role they take in creating and changing your organization's culture. This experiential and discussion based session gives participants the opportunity to learn how to recognize their organization's culture, and perhaps more importantly, recognize how to manage objections based on personality types of the people who may appear to be resisting the change.

October 20, 2011 - Jon Stahl and Gregg Bobinski

Posted October 11, 2011

On Thursday, October 20, Jon Stahl and Gregg Bobinski from LeanDog Software will present "Agile from the Top Down".

I believe that IT Executives must practice what they preach. If they want teams to be transparent and agile, they need to practice themselves and lead by example. This talk will share some Agile & Lean techniques, applied in a new way, to help organizations understand their constraints so they can transparently carry forward their journey to becoming Agile. “Seeing the Whole” includes customers, projects, applications, people, leadership, financials and Standard Work. We will propose creating a BVR (Big (I mean big) Visual Room), refactoring the PMO and suggest some practices to help support this journey. Executives are challenged to sign the Manifesto, lead by example, be transparent and support Kaizen.

During this talk, I unveil 25+ physical boards and together we build a big visual room with open discussion. The first time I did this talk was in May of 2009 at the Central Ohio Agile "Path to Agility" Conference in Columbus Ohio. I have been practicing these techniques at 4 clients over since November of 2009. After 8 months of success, I felt it was tested enough to share it.”

September 21, 2011 - Linda Rising

Posted August 23, 2011

On Wednesday, September 21, Linda Rising gave a fantastic talk on leading change with an organization.

March 8, 2011 - Dancing with Pigs

Posted Feb 27, 2011

On Tuesday, March 8, Tim Korson brings us "Dancing with Pigs". There are many ways to choreograph the activities within a sprint, but all of them involve intricate, dance-like interactions among testers, product owners, other team members, and chickens.

Becoming good at agile development is a little like learning to dance. Some of us are naturally born dancers and learn quickly and seemingly effortlessly. Others of us struggle for quite a while to get our two left feet coordinating effectively with the rest of the team. But natural or not, every team member needs to become good at the agile dance. This presentation hopes to help you become a better dancer by exploring five principles of agile interactions. More specifically, we will focus on those interactions necessary to discovering and elaborating requirements within the context of the Scrum framework.

Timothy Korson is a Scrum trainer and coach. He has had over a decade of substantial experience working on a large variety of systems developed using modern agile software engineering techniques. This experience includes distributed, real time, embedded systems as well as business information systems in an n-tier, client-server environment. Dr. Korson’s current focus is on helping organizations implement high value software using Scrum.

As a leader in the field of agile software development, Tim has authored articles, given numerous tutorials on agile techniques, and worked with numerous organizations transitioning to Scrum.

Although Tim holds a Ph.D. in business information systems as well as undergraduate degrees in math and computer science, his focus and experience is practical, not academic. His interests, education, and practical corporate experience have always spanned both technology and business perspectives. This focus on the application of technology to solve business problems is a perfect fit to his current role as Scrum trainer and coach. Tim’s sub-specialty is on working with testers in helping them to transition to their new roles as effective Scrum team members.

Tim is a frequent invited lecturer at major international conferences. The lectures and training classes he presents are highly rated by the attendees.

6:00-6:15 Pizza and Networking
6:15-7:45 Announcements, Meeting

January 27, 2011 - Questions with Bob Schatz

Posted Dec 28, 2010

This Q&A session will be led by Bob Schatz of Agile Infusion. Bob Schatz specializes in training, consulting and coaching in the practice of successfully using agile project management techniques to transform organizations and improve the performance of software development projects.

August 11, 2009- The Lean within Scrum

Posted August 3, 2009

This Q&A session (with some slides), led by Joe Little of Kitty Hawk Consulting, will describe the Lean values and principles and practices within Scrum. Or that Joe thinks should be immediately added to Scrum. These will include: Kaikaku, kaizen, kanban, genchi genbutsu, flow, minimize inventory, work as a team, muri (or, don't have muri), eliminate muda, "half of what we know is wrong", pull system, single piece flow, stop the line, defer commitment, optimize the whole, the relentless pursuit of perfection, etc, etc.

Perhaps you will take away a very different view of Scrum. And Lean.

July 14, 2009- Legos and Business Value

Posted June 22, 2009

When was the last time you played with Legos? How about Legos and Agile together? Don Gray lead this session with a hands on introduction to iterative Agile development with... Legos! Participants had hands on experience with Estimation, Signup, Development, Showcasing, and Retrospectives.

Delivering business value, welcoming requirements change, frequently delivering working software and continual self-assessment are some of the Agile Principles. We learned how these guiding principles can be achieved using Legos to build a simple project Agile style.

June 11- Hands-On Agile Practices

Posted May 26, 2009

Brian Prince from Microsoft talked about "Hands-On Agile Practices". Brian ran through the fundamentals of Agile Planning and Gave a great presentation on some real-world lessons learned from previous experience.

May 19- Business Driven Software

Posted May 8, 2009

In the Driver's Seat - Business Driven Software

We want to build software that matters. Have you ever produced a product that didn't quite thrill the customer? Agile methods and Lean principles have brought incredible insight and efficiency into creating software. The software development teams, however, are only as successful as the value of the products we are creating. How do we discover and choose the right features to develop and release? Brenden McGlinchey from Net Objectives was our speaker on Tuesday, May 19. We discussed Product Management, Developer, QA, Business Analyst, and Management's role in the Lean Product Portfolio, estimation, selecting the right (and right-sized) features to build, and integrating customers into the process.

April 14- Mary Poppendieck Video Presentation

Posted April 10, 2009

As a follow-up to last month's meeting, we will have our first ever video night, where we will watch a great presentation by Mary Poppendieck at Google. Mary is a speaker and author who specializes in Lean software development, and views things a little differently than the mainstream agilists. We'll have time afterwards for a discussion of the topics presented.

March 30- Lean Principles by Joe Little

Posted March 10, 2009

Ever been frustrated by those things that seem to hinder your ability to get things done efficiently at work? If you have ever thought about encouraging your boss (or their boss) to attend an agile meeting, this is the one. This month, Joe Little of Kitty Hawk Consulting, will be our guest. He plans to speak about Lean principles. For those that aren't familiar with lean, you can read more about it at Lean helps people and organizations take agile to the next level, and when companies embrace lean principles, work flows much more smoothly and efficiently, and business value is realized more quickly.

February 12- Simplicity and Agile

Posted February 2, 2009

On February 12, Sam Reynolds discussed simplicity in software development. The AGILE Manifesto tells us that, "Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential". Figuring out how to be simple without being your own worst enemy is one of the more difficult (and most overlooked) challenges of implementing an AGILE strategy. The best time to reap the rewards of the choices of simplicity is when things look the bleakest.

January 8- Dependency Injection

Posted December 31, 2008

On January 8, Michael Neel gave a great presentation entitled "Dependency Injection, Way of the Ninja" as a way of allowing and embracing change and maintaining good practices among all this change.
Michael C. Neel serves as board member and Vice President for the East Tennessee .Net Users Group in Knoxville, TN and organizes Knoxville's developer conference "CodeStock" (

December 3- Bob Schatz

Posted November 17, 2008

Bob Schatz of Agile Infusion was our guest for the combined November/December meeting. Bob is a Certified Scrum Trainer who has trained Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Managers, and entire companies worldwide in the use of Scrum.

October 9- Agile Architecture IS Possible!

Posted September 22, 2008

Mark Isham presented the results of a real-world large architecture redesign project that was running behind and failing, then brought back around using agile principles and Scrum. Mark recently gave a similar presentation at Agile '08, and at Agile Atlanta. He received fantastic reviews after the Agile Atlanta presentation, and also after the presentation here in Knoxville.

September 11- User Centered Design for Agile

Posted September 7, 2008

User interface engineers Jim Ungar and Bryan Grubaugh did a great presentation on the user centered design approach for agile software development at Jewelry Television. They explained the user centered design process, from research through design and testing.

July 17- Test Driven Development at EdFinancial

Posted July 3, 2008

On Thursday July 17, Marisa Seal and Josh Carroll gave a great presentation on the use of Test Driven Development and Automated Acceptance Testing at EdFinancial. We'll post the presentation slides eventually.

June 5- Jean Tabaka

Thursday, June 5, 2008

On Thursday, June 5th, Jean Tabaka gave a talk entitled "Agile: What is it and Why Should I Care?". This was a great presentation. We have a video of the meeting, but Google Video isn't converting large videos correctly for some reason. We'll get it out here soon. If you don't know about Jean, she is a nationally known speaker, and has given keynotes and presentations at many large agile conferences. She is also the author of Collaboration Explained: Facilitation Skills for Software Project Leaders , and is an agile coach and mentor for Rally Software Development.

Jean has also been instrumental in helping EdFinancial apply agile principles to their business. You can read more about Jean here.

How can I join?

It's very simple. Technically, there is no "membership". There are no dues, membership lists, or anything of that sort. (Simplicity and agility usually go hand in hand.) You can come to every meeting, or none at all. You can sign up for email notices on the Yahoo group if you would like. If you do, you will receive occasional email updates on meeting times and topics, and sometimes information about other local events. Or, if you don't want to join the Yahoo group, you can just show up to any meeting. We'll post info here on upcoming meetings as information becomes available.

About Us

  • We meet when we can arrange a presenter. Meeting announcements go out on the Yahoo mailing list.
  • Recruitwise is our awesome sponsor! They take great care of us with pizza and refreshments.