Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Agile East Anglia: A Short History

December 2011 to June 2012

Agile East Anglia was started by Paul Grenyer as an Extreme Tuesday Club (xTc) inspired pub meet on Monday December 5th 2011 at the Coach and Horses on Thorpe Road in Norwich. Attended by a handful of people from local firm Aviva it was followed on Monday 9th January 2012 by  a less well attended meeting at the same place.

On a cold and snowy Monday 6th February, with sponsorship from Ipswich based consultancy firm Smart421, Agile East Anglia put on a presentation on Agile User Stories given by well known Agile consultant Rachel Davies at The Assembly House in Norwich. Around 20 people attended, predominantly from Aviva, but also people from other firms such as Archant, Smart421, Axon Active AG and Proxama.

On Monday March 26th Agile East Anglia put on a second Agile presentation, this time it was a Dialogue Sheets workshop given by Agile consultant Allan Kelly. Again it was at the Assembly House in Norwich and sponsored by Smart421. Around 20 people attended. This time there were more people from local East Anglian companies such as Ifftner (Ipswich), Redgate (Cambridge), Call Connection (Ipswich) and Purple Tuesday, as well as people from Archant, Smart421 and Axon Active AG.

On Tuesday 10th April Paul Grenyer presented The Walking Skeleton for the newly formed facebook group, Norwich Developers Community. The group was created and run by Stephen Pengilley to bring together Norwich’s software developers.

On Thursday April 19th Agile East Anglia regular John Fagan gave a presentation on the Lean Startup book for the Norwich Startups meetup group. The group was created and run by Juliana Meyer to bring entrepreneurs, developers, and anyone interested in startup companies in Norwich together. Starting in September 2011, Norwich Startups had already had a number of well attended meetings and was well established.

It was about this time that Paul Grenyer and John Fagan independently had the idea to bring all of the groups together with the aim of making something bigger and even better. Purple Tuesday co-founder, Seb Butcher had also expressed interest in getting involved with Agile East Anglia. Stephen Pengilley and Juliana Meyer were both approached with a view to merging Norwich Developer community and Norwich Startups with Agile East Anglia.

On Thursday 3rd May at the Gunton Arms near Cromer, Paul Grenyer, John Fagan, Seb Butcher, Juliana Meyer and Stephen Pengilley got together to discuss and shape the new group, which had the working title “On The Code City”.

On Thursday 7th June Agile East Anglia held a meeting at the Hog and Armour in Norwich. Nearly 30 people came to hear Agile consultant Liz Keogh speak about behavior Driven Development. Smart421 continued their sponsorship and there were attendees from Ifftner, Redgate, Call Connection, Purple Tuesday, Smart421, Axon Active AG and newcomers Silo18 (Norwich). During the introduction it was announced that Agile East Anglia would be merging with the Norwich Developers Community and Norwich Startups under the name “SyncNorwich”. Seb Butcher, Stephen Pengilley and John Fagan were introduced to the Agile East Anglia group and the date of the first SyncNorwich meeting was announced as 5th July, with a presentation from Colm McMullan on his one man startup.

With the formation of SyncNorwich, this became the last Agile East Anglia event. Future meetings had already been planned, including Lightning Talks, a presentation on Kanban from Benjamin Mitchell, a session on iteration planning from Simon Cromarty and a workshop on GIT from Pete Goodliffe. All of these sessions were adopted into the SyncNorwich programme.

In six months SyncNorwich has attracted 400 members and regularly gets in excess of 60 people to its events. The first SyncNorwich conference, SyncConf is set for 15th February 2013.

It's been quite a year.

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