Almost four years ago, I attended, what was called at the time, a meetup of the “Tampa Agile Software Developers”. Organized by Salesforce.com leaders and hosted at their offices near International Plaza, the group was barely 100 members. I distinctly remember my first meetup. It was a small group of less than 10 people in a small conference room just off their lobby. Two pizzas were more than enough that evening. Cory Foy did an energized talk on Kanban and I contributed what I could to the conversation, Valpak having been just a few months into an Agile transformation. I was looking for like minded individuals to network and share experiences and that is exactly what I found. But, I wasn’t done yet.
I quickly convinced the Salesforce.om organizers to broaden their scope to include more than just developers (all the roles of Agile) and to consider that Tampa Bay is not just Tampa proper. They kindly obliged (or maybe just humored me) by renaming the group “Tampa Bay Agile”. By the same time the next year, I had become organizer for the group along with partner-in-crime Ryan Dorrell. Our initial aim was to have at least one featured speaker a month and we would turn over every rock and stone until we found them.
Fast forward to today. Tampa Bay Agile has grown to over 1,000 members. We have a steady supply of featured monthly speakers (most of which find us before we find them), three Lean Coffees each month at varied locations across the bay, the Tampa Bay ScrumMasters Guild, and an awesome holiday party (for which we are currently seeking a sponsor, by the way). We are one of the largest tech meetups in the area. In fact, so big that the Tampa Bay Technology Forum now includes our events on their community calendar.
But, it’s not just about the meetup group. Tampa Bay has been the host city to Agile Open Florida for the past two years now and was the command center for the OnAgile 2015 virtual conference in May. Plus, the list of companies gone or going Agile across the Tampa Bay is rapidly growing. Just off the top of my head and in no particular order, we’ve got …
- Bisk Education
- Grow Financial
- New York Life
- Catalina Marketing
- Kobie Marketing
And, these are just the ones I personally know of, having given them an Agile tour of Valpak.
All of this is just more testimony to the rise of Agile across Tampa Bay. Ryan Dorrell, CTO of AgileThought, had this to say about the growth of Agile in the Tampa Bay community:
“As the software development industry shifts to keep up with the demands of faster time to market and more collaboration from customers, more and more organizations from startups to multi-billion dollar enterprises are finding that they need to shift their thinking and delivery to an agile model. Ten years ago, when we would talk to companies about agile, it was viewed as something of a curiosity. Today we are seriously engaged with the C-suite talking about how agile can move their business and software delivery capability forward. We’ve all come a long way together in a decade, and the rapid growth of Tampa Bay Agile is leading indicator of where the industry trend is going.”
Congratulations Tampa Bay! I’m proud to be a part of it all. Go Agile!