Asking for advice on starting a local meetup


After rather a good vacation, I’m looking at my new year and considering starting a local meetup in Wollongong based on the Lean Coffee format.

I’m likely to shift some of my work closer to home and don’t want to lose the learning I’ve had up in the big city that I’ve gained by being part of a group that is looking to improve their practices.

What are people’s experiences with this? What advice would you have to give?

I’m not after massive, little tips for a little meetup would be fine.


Happy New Year Brad! Hey, I started a local community of practice back in 2009 and I wrote a post on the lessons from that. My partner in crime used to fret about numbers but I always figured that if at least one person shows and a good conversation flows then its a worthwhile endeavour. As far as platform goes now, I would use Meetups to organise, and Linkedin / Twitter contacts to promote. Keep it really simple – people are nortorious for not showing so avoid going to huge effort. Try not to overplan it :wink: emergence is cool …


Sounds good and very much what I was thinking. Truthfully, I’ll be happy if anyone shows up in the first month or so.

Either way. I’m still thinking about the where, when and the like.

The thing I like about the LEAN coffee format is the simplicity. Provided I bring a few notepads and some sharpies, we are set. If it is 2 of us, then we have a chat, if 3 probably the same and at 4 we break out the stickies. I think it could work.

I haven’t found anything down here in the gong that matches what I’m looking for. It could be because no one is interested or just that no one has tried. I figured I may as well have a go.


Perhaps put out an expression of interest on Linkedin? See who surfaces?


Hi Brad. I’d be sorry if you were not to attend the “Sydney Lean Coffee” meetup anymore. :sob: You are a great contributor to the group.

I would first create a meetup group located at Wollongong. See who joins and then message them directly to see their interest and expectations. You can then setup meeting events at a place that suits all with the first set of members. Then take it from there.

Checkout meetup pricing (basic organiser was limited to few members but used to be free):

Also ask yourself how often you want the meeting events. Weekly? Fortnightly? Monthly?


I was thinking more of as adendum to the lean coffee in Sydney. I love the discussion. I’m surprised there is nothing at home. Never fear, you are rid of me yet :smile:

I’m still working my way through the idea.


Brad - I took a similar journey to what Jen described. I started Agile Orlando with 2 others in 2008. We had to reboot a couple of times and the most successful things we did were: 1) start with lean coffee to find out what interests people have; That will help you figure out what else you might offer down the road. 2) make sure you always have a co-host in case you have a schedule conflict, illness, etc. 3) keep it fun for you and your co-host. 4) reach out to other groups to see what they do.

On that last point, I started local. That ended up becoming the Agile Florida network of user groups. There are others. But we wrote up our experience for Agile2015 and you can read it at

This ended up becoming an initiative through Agile Alliance where we connect user group leaders for advice, help with funding for Meetup fees, conferences, open spaces, etc. If you want more info, go to

If you join our Slack community there, you can connect with group leaders world wide to find out what they do. Here is who we have participating currently

Hope that helps.