Temporary Hiatus

With most of our members currently enjoying the resurgence of consulting and full-time Agile demand, we have decided to cease holding the Eastside Lean Coffee for the time being.  Join our mailing list to stay informed when we start up again.

Please join us at the Seattle Lean Coffee, at Kakao, Westlake Ave, Seattle every Wednesday, from 8:30 am to 10:00 am every week.


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June 10th – All’s Fair in Love and War


  1. The Four Agreements.  This is a book – we covered the first two agreements: “Speak honestly and deliberately”, which is taken to mean that words have power, so choose your words carefully, and “Don’t take things personally”, which is to say that people speak from their own reality, informed by their own history – its not about you, its about them.  These are not only great principles to apply to your own life to avoid the negativity projected by others, they are also great for any situation where you are giving or receiving feedback, such as (Agile) teams.  However, we appear hard-wired to receive other’s opinions’ about us as personal attacks – so these lessons need to be consciously worked on.
  2. Perceived Inefficiency.  People (working on Agile teams) can be perceived as being inefficient by managers, when they are in reality not.  This is either because the manager’s don’t understand the work enough to be able to tell, or because of the principle-agency problem of trust and judgment of ‘unfairness’
  3. Business Lessons from Maneuver Warfare.  Brian is an ex-Marine, so we revisited this Book Club topic.  His insights about teamwork in the Marines were: By knowing everyone’s weakness and strengths, you lose your own sense of identity for the group.  Your own weaknesses are disguised behind the strength of the team, and great leaders can identify which traits to emphasize in order to bond a team together.  In the Marines, immediately after returning from a deployment, team members will be replaced for the next deployment (they don’t have the old teammates hang about, but start the new team members bonding right away.
  4. Why We Choose Fear Over Love.  Out of time, but briefly discussed principle of removing everything that there is to be fearful of, and the dimensions of love & empathy have room.  This is a great management lesson.
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May 20th – Oh No! The Project is RED!!!

  1. Red, Yellow, Green Project Management Status.  Often used by project managers to report status.   Pros/Cons – because they are indicative of adherence to a plan, require a plan that is simple enough to be measured.  Good for tracking simple tasks – on time or overdue etc.   R/Y/G treat projects as ‘Cynefin Simple’ when in fact they are Complex or Complicated.  Doesn’t sensibly roll up (non-additive), and requires complex rules dictating what each status means.  In a Blame culture, projects will never be ‘Red’!  If R/Y/G is used to signal where help, or executive action is required, then probably should have a better process to be more reactive/proactive.  With an Adaptive project management system like Agile, R/Y/G should have little or no meaning.
  2. Jidoka.  What does it mean?  One of the two Principles/Pillars of Toyota Production System, along with Just-In-Time.  Jidoka is autonomation/standardized work.  If JIT involves Muri (flow) and Mura (levelling), then Jidoka is mostly concerned with Muda (waste).  Under jidoka, the production line can be stopped, for problem to be fixed (WIP goes to 1 – fix the problem!).  The concept of Jidoka is not strong in Agile.
  3. Best Meeting Facilitation Techniques.  Establishing goals, getting all the people in the room, using techniques such as go-around, affinity diagrams, timelines etc to get people on the same page.  Using Parking Lots to prevent discussions being sidetracked, or to preventing ‘decision-making’ in a status or brainstorming meeting.  Using divergent/convergent techniques such as sub-grouping, brainstorming.

Lean Coffee May 20th

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May 13th – Tunnels and Rents

  1. Tunnel of Eupalinos.  We came up with several of our own theories of how the Tunnel of Eupalinos was built.  This is a tunnel over 1km long, dug from both ends, which is entirely level, and meets in the middle.  It is considered one of the great engineering marvels of ancient Greece (http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/4106/1/Samos.pdf).
  2. Managers as Rent-Seekers.  Employees get paid less than their value (otherwise profit wouldn’t be possible).  This excess profit can be considered a ‘rent’, in economic terms, that the employees pay.  In a hierarchical management structure each department generates a surplus of this value, or rent, part of which is collected by the manager of the department.  This could partly explain why managers are paid more than their team, and why the more levels in hierarchy, the wider the gap between the wages at the top and bottom.  Other insights included that extremely high marginal tax rates, death duties and capital gains taxed as income are  ways to counter effects of rent-seeking.

May 13 2014 Mindmap

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April 29th – Keeping the Flame Alive

We were all a bit sad about Jeff leaving.  Dan and Paul decided to share the responsibilities of keeping eastside lean coffee going, and in their absence we also nominated Pat and Adam to help us. Eastside-Lean-Coffee-4-29-2014 We did manage to talk about Six Sigma and then Dan lent his copy of the Greenbelt manual to Paul, who promised to return it next week…

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March 18 – Welcome Joseph!

Great conversation today.

Eastside LC 3-18-2014

It came up that some might struggle to make the hard 8:30-10am window for the meeting. While it is impossible to accommodate all schedules, all should feel free to join… even if you are a little late or have to leave early. Lean Coffee is a good thing even in small doses – networking, hearing new ideas, challenging mindsets, solving problems, and having a laugh or two; Life intercedes for all of us – all are welcome regardless.


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March 11 – Great Meeting!

Welcome to Brent Barton. What a great discussion on a possible Portfolio Management Game/Simulator! And contemplating the industry trends of software craftsmanship, transforming through government – industry – education, and the upcoming AFEI Conference in Seattle.

Eastside LC 3-11-2014

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March 4 – Another Tasty Lean Coffee Morning!

Eastside LC 3-4-2014

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February 25 – Lots of Energy!!!!

A great meeting. Lots of deep thoughts and participation – BRAVO!

Eastside LC 2-25-2014

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Feb 18 – New Venue & Great Conversation!

The Flying Apron – a definite improvement! Wifi, credit cards, less noise, tasty coffee and snacks! Thanks for coming out to Adam, Jon, Thomas, & Paul!

Eastside LC 2-18-2014

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