Balanced Team Summit 2015: Call for Proposals

Happy New Year! We look forward to gathering in Grand Rapids, MI for a weekend of conversation, collaboration and community at the Balanced Team Summit. We’re going to continue many of the elements that we’ve enjoyed at past events: a great location, a mix of invited speakers, community contributions, open space sessions and lots of social time. We have an exciting weekend planned, and look forward to your participation.

Our theme this year is “Balanced Teams Everywhere

Balance is action guided by incremental adjustments, rather than an achieved state. At the 2015 Balanced Team Summit, we will explore and share the latest techniques and innovations of Balanced Teams in different sized organizations in the software industry and beyond. Throughout it all, we’ll be considering the question, “What does it mean to be a balanced team?”


At its core, Balanced Team is a community and we’re eager to hear from your Balanced Teams. What Balanced Team techniques have worked well for you? What hasn’t worked well? What improvements have you made over the years that are worth sharing? Do you have a nagging question you want help from this group to answer? Are there big issues we need to address in the upcoming year to help build even better Balanced Teams?

Please let us know what you want to contribute. If you have more than one idea, it’s OK to submit more than once. We’re accepting submissions through Friday February 6th, 2015.

Thanks for reading this, we very much look forward to seeing you soon in Grand Rapids!!

For more information, please visit the conference site

Balanced Team Summit 2015 Theme Announced

Update 1/5/2015: the conference site is live at

Hello friends! We are pleased to announce the theme for the Balanced Team Summit on June 13 and 14, 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan! 

Balanced Teams Everywhere

Balance is action guided by incremental adjustments, rather than an achieved state. At the 2015 Balanced Team Summit, we will explore and share the latest techniques and innovations of Balanced Teams in different sized organizations in the software industry and beyond. Throughout it all, we’ll be considering the question, “What does it mean to be a balanced team?”

We’re working on launching our conference website and will make a call for submissions soon.

If you want to participate in the conversation about this event and help us plan, please join our Google group. If you would like to get announcements about Balanced Team events sent directly to your inbox, please sign up for our events announcement list.

Your planning committee: Matt Fletcher, Lane Halley, Rick Harlow, Brittany Hunter and Gail Swanson.

Agile 2014 Conference Redux

Agile 2014 was once again was full of UX related content — over 28 hours worth spread over five days. If, like us, you couldn’t attend this year here are links to all of the UX related slide decks we could find:

You also might be interested in:

If we missed anything please let us know at!

(excerpted with permission from “The Agile & Lean UX News #15“)

Balanced Team Salon in Los Angeles

It is time for another Balanced Team meetup for the folks in Los Angeles and SoCal. It is set on Wednesday August 20, 2014 at Fandango in Santa Monica from 6:30pm to 9:30pm.

RSVP on Meetup

Instead of sitting down and listening to a few presentations, we have designed an activity for every attendee to participate in discussions and generate ideas together. Come prepared because it will be filled with plenty of conversations from people in the community sharing ideas, socializing, and offering insights from their own experience.

If you’re interested in Lean Startup, Agile, Lean, Agile UX, Lean UX, DevOps, Customer Development—and anything else that values multidisciplinary collaboration and iterative delivery of value—you’ll find this of interest.

To ensure the quality of the activity, this event is capped at 30 attendees. It is free and first come, first serve. Please RSVP at our meetup page and feel free to invite new folks to come along. We know that our diversity always makes the conversation more fun!

Many, many thanks to our wonderful sponsor, Fandango, for providing food, drinks, and materials!

RSVP on Meetup

Mark Your Calendars! Balanced Team Summit June 2015 in Grand Rapids, MI

Update 1/5/2015: the conference site is live at

Update 11/24: Balanced Team Summit 2015 Theme announcement

We’re pleased to announce that we will be holding a Balanced Team Summit on June 13 and 14, 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan! The planning committee is made up of Rick Harlow of Visualhero, Gail Swanson of Manifest Digital, Lane Halley, and Matt Fletcher and myself, Brittany Hunter, from Atomic Object.

The event is a year from now, so we’ve got plenty of time to plan a great conference. Currently, we’re working to secure a great venue and choose a theme. We’ve got some great ideas, but everything is under consideration at this point. Is there a particular theme or question you’ve been wondering about and would like to further explore with fellow Balanced Teamers? Let us know by filling out our quick google form! 

We are all super excited to host the conference next year. See you then!

Balanced Team Salon, London, May 31st 2014

On Saturday May 31st, a group of poly-skilled developers, designers, researchers, academics, entrepreneurs and product managers will be meeting. Come join us.

Tickets are available on Eventbrite now!

If you’re interested in Lean Startup, Agile, Lean, Agile UX, Lean UX, Devops, Customer Development – and anything else that values multi-disciplinary collaboration and iterative delivery of value – you’ll find this of interest.

Don’t know what Balanced Team is about? Read about the history of Balanced Team, check out our blog posts, and see some of the things that happened at the last Balanced Team London.

Rough schedule for the day:

  • 10-11am: Breakfast, make new friends, meet old ones, generate conversation topics.
  • 11am-3pm: Break out group discussions, fishbowls, etc.
  • 3-4pm: Share learnings, closing circle, tearful goodbyes.

Do come: If you want to spend a day actively learning with your peers.
Don’t come: If you want to sit down and listen passively to presentations.

Remember – tickets are available on Eventbrite now!

Thank you to our sponsors Neo & Pivotal Labs for making this event possible.


Pivotal Labs
Bentima House
168-172 Old Street
London EC1V 9BP

Salons and Such: April SF Salon at Carbon Five

There has been a great deal of recent momentum with the Balanced Team folks. A clutch of long time members gathered recently for the Lean UX NYC conference followed up by a Balanced Team Salon hosted at Pivotal Labs. Several of us shared a desire to carry some of that energy back with us to the west coast. Initially this felt like a good opportunity to round up some of the BT friends in San Francisco for a night of cocktails and conversation. After a couple conversations among several folks we decided to change course, put some structure around it and turn it into a Salon.

Image courtesy of Jordan Presnick (@JordanPresnick)

Image courtesy of Jordan Presnick (@JordanPresnick)

Salons have proved themselves to be a lightweight version of a larger un-conference event. At this Salon in San Francisco we had several lightening talks recounting some highlights from the New York experience by Courtney Hemphill and Alexa Roman.

We then opened it up to our favorite tool for engagement – the fishbowl. We seeded the endeavor with a broad question open to lots of interpretation… What is Balanced Team? As there were several new faces, there was a good amount of fodder for the bowl that followed.

Image courtesy of

Idea Generation

The question that received the most dot clusters was the topic on everyone’s tongues: How does Balanced Team fit into organizations: top down or bottom up? For those of us that have confronted this problem, it was easy to surface the issues and throw around some stories of experiences and the learning that was captured from them. The one truth that we can all agree on is that it is invariably hard but always worthwhile. As to be expected, the secondary and perhaps more important component of the event was the time available for old friends to reconnect and talk about their work and passions.

A latent issue that at times would surface during the conversation was the lack of true balance in the attendees at large. We are all practitioners on the design and development side of the product creation process. The missing voices that have the potential to truly balance our work still felt either underrepresented or fully absent. The knowledge, needs, and ideas that come from those working day to day in the fields of ethnography, marketing, sales, business strategy, etc are critical components to the successful execution of ideas. I very much hope to see future Balanced Team events reaching further and further out into our extended networks to bring those voices to the conversation and ignite the future fishbowls with some lively discourse.

Here are some additional photos courtesy of Alexa Roman.

Announcing a Balanced Team Salon in SF 4/24

Balanced Team Salon SF

We’re pleased to announce a Balanced Team Salon April 24, 2014 at Carbon Five in San Francisco CA.


Salons are becoming popular format in the BT community as they involve plenty of networking, short talks from people in the community sharing what they’ve learned and then a fishbowl – a collaborative, inclusive conversation that allows many people to get involved and share.

With quite a few people in our SF community coming back from an amazing day-long BT NYC Salon we thought we might bring some of that energy and discussion back home. Our talks will share some of the learning and intrigues from the Salon and Lean UX 2014 conference. And then we’ll pull out some of the more intriguing themes and topics that were discussed as starters for our fishbowl.

Please feel free to invite new folks to come along. We know that our diversity always makes the conversation more fun!



6 PM – Food and libation
6:30 PM – Short Balanced Team intro
6:45 – 7:30 PM – 3 10-minute talks
7:30 PM – Fishbowl ideation introduced
7:50 PM Fishbowl voting
8 PM Fishbowl
Networking until close


Balanced Team deLUX at SxSW March 7


deLUX is happening again this year at SXSW!

Please join us March 7 for some beers & bites at sunset on the beautiful patio at Adaptive Path, followed by a short program from some of the leading practicioners in the Lean / Balanced Team community.

Program Starts @ 6:30pm. Short talks from:

  • Jeff Gothelf, Neo Principal and author of LeanUX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience
  • Jeremiah Gardner, Handcrafted Brands Principal and author of The Lean Brand
  • Alissa Briggs + Raman Hansi, Intuit Innovation Catalysts and SXSW 2014 Speakers
  • Chris Nodder, Interface Tamer and producer of Questionable Methods.