At our most recent Chicago ALM user group meeting I was approached by someone who was attending their very first technology meetup ever, and had chosen mine! I was glad to hear that he had really enjoyed the meeting and was looking for more technology focused meetups in the area. I started talking about all of the groups I had recently discovered on Meetup.com and it turns out he had never heard of it. I had assumed he knew about it. Then I wondered, are there other people out there who haven’t discovered the awesomeness of Meetup.com? Maybe you already knew about it, maybe you didn’t, or maybe like me you signed up for an account some number of years ago and haven’t logged in for a while to see what’s new.
If you’ve never been on Meetup.com it would be worth signing up for a free account and seeing what else is in your local area that might be of interest to you. Heck, there are plenty of meetups that aren't even work related that you might want to attend! It will ask you some questions about where you live, and what topics are interesting to you, and then as you join Meetup groups it learns about your preferences and suggests groups to you that it thinks you will like. Creepy and awesome right? The number of available meetups might be a little overwhelming at first, but here’s the thing - you can watch meetups to get a feel for what they talk about and who attends, so effectively stalking the meetup, before committing to attending it.
Here are just the agile related ones that I am signed up for right now. I wanted to share because maybe you’ve been wanting to find other groups that focus on agile related topics and wasn’t sure where to start. And hey, if you have one that is not in my list please let me know!
Chicago ALM Meetup – OK, this is MY group and we’re not actually on Meetup.com but I feel like I have to talk about it on my own blog. We discuss a huge variety of topics around Application Lifecycle Management including DevOps strategies, ALM tools like TFS, and various agile practices like continuous integration, continuous deployment, and test automation. We meet in the downtown and Downers Grove Microsoft offices anout 8 times a year. Sign up to be notified of new events at the Chicago ALM user group website!
Chicago Agile Open Spaces meets the first Tuesdays of every month at 5:30pm in the Loop. Been to a few, really great bunch of people who know their stuff! Their next meeting is March 8th and they are talking about Success with: Distributed Teams / Remote Teams: http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-Agile-Open-Space/
The Chicago Agile Methodology Group meets the third Tuesday of every month at the Catalyst Ranch in west loop. Haven’t been to this one yet, kind of small still, but have some great topics coming up. Their next topic is March 15th on Getting Intentional About Rank and Power in Agile Organizations: http://www.meetup.com/The-Chicago-Agile-Methodology-Group/
Agile Professional Learning Network - This is one is interesting as it is marketed as "professional learning". I see a lot of my PMI contacts attending this one, likely because they meet in the same complex for their own meetups. And hey, NOT in the city for once! The meet the second Thursday of every month in the near northwest burbs (not far from Ohare), but I heard they may be moving closer to Schaumburg soon. Their next topic is Agile Tools vs Physical Boards: : http://www.meetup.com/APLN-Chicago/
Scaling Agile Chicago - This one is new, and is pretty exciting to me as someone who recently got their SPC. Also not in the city which may appeal to a few folks living in the MW suburbs. Seems like they are still figuring out their location and cadence. The next meeting is SAFe 4.0 Primer, March 31 , Schaumburg Library:http://www.meetup.com/Scaling-Agile-Chicago/
Agile Project Management: I was really excited about this one, but they don't meet very often yet. I am thinking about reaching out to them about presenting, maybe they just need some support. http://www.meetup.com/ABOK-ORG/
Chicago Agile Project Management: The meet on the last Monday of the month at 5:30pm at ITA in the loop. Wondering if it replaced the one above, it seems a bit young as well, and this month's topic looks awesome! Alas I'll be on vacation so won't be able to attend myself: Rapid Quality in Agile 3.0 http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-APM/events/228704700/
There are meetups for darn near EVERYTHING, so whether you’re into programming in Ember, using Lean for delivering products, raising backyard chickens, reading SciFi books, or reading SciFi books about backyard chickens who prefer developing in Ember (You never know, it might be a thing!), there is a group for you. Apologies in advance if you lose the rest of the night spelunking through Meetup.com