What is Balanced Team?
Balanced Team is a group of people who are interested in furthering processes and methodologies to create great things. We welcome people who wear many hats (design, development, testing, product management, marketing and sales) and we value multi-disciplinary collaboration and iterative delivery focused on customer value as a source for innovation.
We are a self-organizing, international organization with virtual and face-to-face touchpoints:
Balanced Team Origins
Balanced Team grew from the contributions of many people over time. Here is a brief review of some key events and activities that led us to where we are now.
August 2009 “Agile Evolution”
Jeff Patton and David Hussman organized an “Agile Evolution” meeting before Agile 2009 in Chicago. Jeff invited a number of Agile and UX thought-leaders, including Alan Cooper, Desiree Sy, Jared Spool and Lane Halley, who later become active participants in Balanced Team.
Genesis of the first Agile UX retreat
Jeff Patton introduced Lane Halley to Anders Ramsay. They started to hang out together and spend a lot of time talking about how to blend agile and UX. Lane and Anders wanted to see the two communities communicate better, and include other disciplines as well. They decided the best way to advance this mission was to bring together like-minded people in a retreat format and see what happened. Lane reached out to Alan Cooper to host the first event and we were off and running!
January 2010 “Agile UX Retreat” in San Francisco CA
The first Agile UX retreat was a two day event at Cooper. Highlights included:
- Confidentiality agreements made it possible to discuss things openly
- Event self-organized as it evolved
- Lots of open conversation between agile developers and designers
- Key insight: No more “Us and Them” thinking
- A strong feeling we were onto something and desire to continue meeting and talking
Between the major events, group members held smaller events in London and Florida to share what we were learning and recruit new members.
Agile UX Retreat in London, UK
- Two day workshop?
- Need details from Anders or Johanna
Agile UX event in Boca Raton, FL
- Evening event at Agile ‘10?
- Need details from Desiree
July 2010 “Agile UX Retreat” in Grand Rapids, MI
After the first San Francisco event at Cooper, people realized that adding a third day at the start of the event to get to know each other would be beneficial. The next Agile UX Retreat started with a reception at Atomic Object and continued at The Factory for two days of workshops. Highlights included:
- Continued work of first event
- Realized that onboarding new people was important and challenging
- worked on “Humanifesto,” and Problem statement(s)
- Brainstormed new names, “Balance” was chosen
- Commitment to continue holding events
Blog post: Carl Erickson
December 2010 “Agile UX Retreat” in New York, NY
Pivotal NYC hosted our next three-day event. By this point, we had a number of participants who had attended several events and we started to gel as a working group. After our round of lightning talks to catch up with what we were all learning/doing, we worked on next steps. Some people wanted to put on a public event that was educational in nature (100+ people, invited speakers), the other wanted to continue the smaller, invitational events to share practices (<50 people, participatory). In the end, our inability to find a good venue we could afford pushed us towards the smaller format for the next event in SF. Highlights included:
- “Lean UX” concept brought to group by Janice Fraser, LUXr
- Lightning talks showed how people were starting to bring balanced team practices to their work
- Decision to hold next event in SF
Blog post: Alan Cooper
Between the major events, group members continued to sponsor smaller events to share what we were learning and recruit new members.
February 2011 “DeLUX” in Boulder, CO
- Evening event during IxDA ’11, at Pivotal Boulder
- Social time + lightning talks
- Someone at Hot Studio designed an attractive poster for the event (who?)
March 2011 “DeLUX” in Austin, TX
- Evening event during SxSW ’11
- Need information about location from Johanna or Ian
September 2011 “Balanced Team Conference” in San Francisco, CA
Three-day event at Hot Studio, San Francisco. Our theme was “Getting Practical.” Highlights included:
- Lightning talks
- Breakout conversations/workshops
- Our first success story, SideReel (Zach)
- Collected and published resources for larger community
Blog post: Josh Seiden
March 2012 “DeLUX” in Austin
- Evening event during SxSW ’12 at Adaptive Path, Austin
- Social event + lightning talks
June 2012 “Balanced Team Conference” in Chicago, IL
Three-day event at Ideo, Chicago. Our theme was “Welcoming the Business Perspective.” Highlights included:
- Organized talks
- Unconference sessions
- Andrew Korf on Design Metrics
- Open Space Conversations at Balanced Team SF on Balanced Team SF 2013 tickets and sessions
- Alexa Roman » Shared Values, Common Culture on Who we are
- Heather on Balanced Team London 2013 – Initial Report
- The Origins of Lean UX | The Apprentice Path on Balanced Team San Francisco