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AgilePDX: Gender and Agile Teams. Is There a Problem Here?

308 SW 2nd Ave Fifth Floor
Portland, OR 97204, US (map)
Public WiFi

Security in the lobby should let you in and direct you to the elevator. Text 503-788-8998 if you get locked out.



In September of 2015 the Agile Alliance held a community Open Space meeting in Portland and one of our community facilitated a topic on Agile as a context for improved workplace experience for women. Twelve to fifteen people attended her topic—and split pro and con right down the middle with men and women on both sides. Over the last few months, software-related Meetups all over Portland have held discussions focused on women in STEM and women in software development. Now AgilePDX invites you into an Agile-focused discussion on gender dynamics on Agile teams.

What do you think? Has Agile improved, hindered, or left the issue of gender dynamics completely untouched? Does self-organization mean women have more of a voice? When men and women speak up about gender dynamics on teams is anyone left out? What about “gamergate?” Do the Agile Manifesto and Principles imply anything about gender dynamics on teams? And, if so, what is that? Or, is there something additional in the Agile “secret sauce” that improves (or hinders) how men and women work and play together on Agile teams? Would you want your son or daughter on an Agile team?

This month, AgilePDX gathers a panel of two men and two women to consider the state of Agile and gender diversity.

To follow the conversation before the event, join the AgilePDX Slack.


Megan Bigelow -- a connector and tech community leader, having co-founded Portland Women in Tech (PDXWIT) and continues to serve as its President. In this role she's created a platform to connect tech women to companies, mentors and practical skills. PDXWIT is 2000 strong and includes the support of 30+ tech companies. Above all, Megan has a commitment to building community to solve issues. In her day job, she is the Manager of Customer Support at Jama Software.

Erick Banks -- Sr. Quality Assurance Engineer at Puppet. Hosted the discussion on gender inequality in tech at Agile Open Northwest (http://aonw2015.blogspot.com/2015/02/gender-inequality-in-tech.html). My first degree was in physics, my second in computer science, two of the most male-dominated majors. Incidentally I'm single. Interested in gender equality at work largely for selfish reasons. My hope is for my nieces to feel comfortable entering technical fields like mine without the burden of those fields being so gender imbalanced. I try to keep current on issues concerning gender in the workplace by reading (preferably data driven) articles online, a collection of some of them can be found here: https://github.com/ThoughtCrhyme/TechAndGender

Matt Plavcan -- an Agile and Technical Practices Coach with Intel’s Emergent Systems team. He assists teams within the company adopt Agile practices and build their technical capabilities. His career includes verification of desktop microprocessors and teaching Intel architecture at the University of Illinois. Matt is the founder of the Code Dojo and Coderetreat program at Intel, which uses dedicated practice to hone professional programming skills. He runs similar events for the Portland community, and is a coordinator for the 2016 Global Day of Coderetreat. He posts his coaching and development musings on Twitter (@mplavcan)

Kathryn Gruenefeldt -- Sr. Director of Backend Engineering at Simple, where she leads the team focused on services that reliably manage customers' financial transactions and adds homegrown Simple goodness on top, such as Goals and Safe-to-Spend. Simple is a technology company that’s changing the way people bank and think about their money. Kathryn has spent over 20 years in variety of engineering roles, ranging from Database and Middleware development to Healthcare and Energy Conservation applications. Kathryn has a BA in Computer Science, Finance, and Management from University of Oregon, and a MS degree in Computer Science from University of California, Davis.