Kick off TechWeek with Agile Intensive w/ Michael Feathers

Jun 22, 2011

Okay, Agilists: This is it. One of THE training events of the year and a great way to start Chicago TechWeek. It's a day that will open your eyes and expand your brainpower and indelibly change the way you think and work.

Agile Intensive Training with Michael Feathers

Friday, July 22, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Learn Agile principles and values from the master! Michael Feathers will review how Agile came to be, introduce you to practices that work, dive into Agile team building and planning methodologies, and lead hands-on exercises. The workshop concludes with a session to tailor what you've learned to your individual situation and reflect upon all you've learned.

It's held at the ITA headquarters at 200 S. Wacker Drive, 15th Floor.


This is a highly popular course that brings new meaning to the word "intense!" 

There is NO better way to kick off Chicago TechWeek.

An Awesome Story from Denver Startup Weekend

Jun 22, 2011

A dramatic tale of perseverence, strategy and underdog victory unfolded at StartupWeekend Denver June 3-5, and Obtiva's own Ryan Briones played a co-starring role in it all.

Aaron White showed up to Startup Weekend Denver Friday night with an idea for a new wedding website. Unfortunately, his pitch to the group went over about as well as Arnold and Maria's marriage, and his idea was not selected as an official team for the weekend competition. Disappointed, Aaron returned Saturday with the intention of just watching the other teams and helping out as needed... until his friend and designer Antoine Valot stopped by. Antoine agreed that Aaron's wedding website idea was cool, Ryan joined in to help out with the back end Ruby code, and they were off and running.

Fast forward to Sunday evening, and the trio had a great finished product,, to showcase to the panel of judges. The team narrowly beat out the other competitors to take home first prize.

Aaron wrote a great blog post about his experience -  check it out, and keep an eye on the website, which launches soon. Next time you see Ryan, give him a high five for stepping in and and providing vital development work that helped earn top honors at StartupWeekend Denver.

If you're wondering, gives couples a professionally-designed web page to showcase their new life together to family and friends.

Fifty-plus people took part in the Startup Weekend Denver, and we thank Jon Rossi for all his hard work in organizing the event.

A Don't-Miss Event: Michael Feathers at APLN June 23

Jun 21, 2011


"The Slight Mistake at the Heart of Agile."

This is the topic that Michael Feathers, Agile scholar and Obtiva Chief Scientist, will tackle June 23 at the Agile Project Leadership Network (APLN) meeting

He'll discuss the history of Agile and reveal a key insight that all of us seem to have missed early on. In the decade since the creation of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, Agile has spread throughout the industry and become mainstream rather than an upstart movement. However, it's evident that the enterprise transition to Agile is not always simple. And instead of just "trying harder," we need to take time to question why difficulties have arisen and consider that there may be a fundamental reformulation or change in emphasis that can sidestep the difficulty. 

If you want to deepen your understanding of the nuances of the Agile movement, this is a great opportunity to do so. Michael Feathers has practiced and analyzed Agile methodologies for years and has built an etensive knowledge base that he will share with meeting attendees. This event is part of APLN Chicago's "Expert Series" that brings some of the top minds in Agile, and it's sponsored by Obtiva and Solstice Consulting.

Thursday, June 23
6:30 p.m. pizza and networking
7:00 p.m. program begins
Tooling and Manufacturing Association
1177 S. Dee Road (near the intersection of the Tri state Tollway and the Kennedy by O'Hare)
Park Ridge, IL 60068
APLN Chicago Members: $5
Non-Members: $10
Register to attend here!

Ready... Set... TechWeek!

Jun 10, 2011

As summer heats up, we're buckling down getting ready for TechWeek Chicago. July 22-29 is going to be an exciting, event-packed week that will introduce thousands of people to the latest and greatest technologies and technology companies here in Chicago. There are already more than 300 organizations involved!

Obtiva has some great stuff planned for TechWeek. We are the power behind the TechWeek technical training track and will be offering a special curriculum of courses for TechWeek attendees; details to follow. We hope that you'll also be seeing an Obtivian or two presenting talks at the conference.

In addition to the main conference and expo at the Merchandise Mart, there are 60+ independently organized events like workshops, product demos, lectures, launch parties and roundtables taking place all over town. In fact, midVentures, the team behind TechWeek, is encouraging others to organize their own events. There is no charge to host your own event and they welcome your (tech-related) ideas. It can be held in your office or at another venue. Email them at to discuss ways you can participate.

There's an amazing lineup of TechWeek partner events taking place that week - the synergy is going to be huge. Already lined up are midVenturesLAUNCH, S.P.A.R.K.TiE Midwest, TedxWindyCity, Ignite Chicago, SPARK Women, CodeRetreat, Chicago Start-up Weekend, Entrepreneurs Unplugged and EO Chicago, to name a few.

We send big-time props to the team at midVentures that conceptualized this great event, and look forward to a spectacular week.



Lone Star Ruby: The Best Little Ruby Conf in Texas

Jun 10, 2011

So, who's heading to Austin for Lone Star Ruby Conf this summer? Obtiva will be there, and we hope we'll see some of you there too. 

Trust us, the caliber of this event far outweighs the thought of Texas in August. The content, workshops and keynotes are so primo that you won't even notice that 95 degree heat: keynoters are InfoEther's Chad Fowler, Obie Fernandez and programmer James Edward Gray.

The website and agenda are still taking shape, but get this on your schedules now. Check out the tweets @lsrc to stay up to date as it progresses. 


Cory & Nathan Hit the Stage at BoulderUX

Jun 08, 2011

Obtivians and web development gurus Nathan Koch and Cory Flanigan have earned speaking slots at the BoulderUX conference coming this September in, well, Boulder.

Nathan's going to be talking about dataviz in the browser using Processing.js. Have you met Nathan yet? He joined Obtiva as a senior developer in February 2011, coming to us from Leo Burnett, where he spent three years building apps for brands like Purina, Whirlpool and Altria.

Cory, one of the driving forces behind the Obtiva Denver office, is presenting a talk on refactoring.

BoulderUX is daylong event that delves into all things Javascript, Prcessing.js, CSS3, HTML5, ExtJS, and OpenSocial. Check it out on Twitter and read all about it at

Matt Puchlerz Scholarship Awarded

Jun 06, 2011

Obtiva lost a dear friend and a great professional when our colleague Matt Puchlerz passed away suddenly in September 2010. This spring, friends, family and one of Matt's teachers from his high school (Starpoint) in New York established a scholarship in his memory. They set a goal to raise $5,000 to be given to a Starpoint graduate who will continue his or her education in the field of web design or digital media arts.

Today, the first scholarship was awarded at a ceremony at Starpoint High School. It went to graduating senior Angela Fletch, whose father is a software developer. Her passion is the art and design side of web development, and she'll be continuing her studies with the help of the scholarship. 

Below is a photo of Matt's parents, Roberta and Dennis Puchlerz, with Angela. 

We send our congratulations to Angela and our love to Matt's parents. This is a beautiful way to remember Matt. We know he would approve.

It's Code Camp Time

May 12, 2011

Hey, campers! Sew your nametags in your shirts and hightail it over to the Western suburb of Grayslake, Illinois for Chicago Code Camp May 14, 2011.

Held at the College of Lake County, this will be an outstanding day of learning and pushing your boundaries. 

Magic awaits: 

There's an A-MAZ-ING lineup of speakers and sessions - 35 in all - led by incredibly smart, accomplished people. Seriously, the caliber of these sessions is world-classs, and the variety of subjects hold broad appeal to every software geek.

The sessions are targeted toward beginning, intermediate and advanced coders, so you'll be learning at a level that's tailored to your level of expertise. 

It's FREE. Unbelievable. I know. 

Dave Hoover and Chris Powers of Obtiva both are among those selected to present at Chicago Code Camp; they join a lineup of speakers coming in from across the U.S. for this. 

Register for Chicago Code Camp now and we'll see you May 14 in Grayslake. 

We Make Clients Happy (just ask ConnectedHealth)

May 10, 2011

We're busy spreading more of that Obtiva joy, this time with our client ConnectedHealth.

See, the good people at ConnectedHealth had an idea. A brilliant idea, in fact, but one for which they required additional technical manpower to bring to life.  

Enter Obtiva. We brought the the ability to solve complex problems, the budget-mindedness and the developer team that ConnectedHealth needed to take their idea from concept to completion, in a hugely successful way.

Watch as Tracy Heilman, ConnectedHealth Vice President of Product Development, talks about her experience in working with Obtiva.

We love lots of things in this world, but making clients happy has to be one of our absolute favorites. Thank you, ConnectedHealth. It's a joy working with you.


Hey Denver! Get Ready for StartupWeekend June 3-5

May 04, 2011


StartupWeekend Denver is June 3-5, 2011 and Obtiva is hosting an Agile training session with Michael Feathers on June 3 to coincide with the event.

Michael's daylong Agile training course will let you understand how Agile practices let you deliver working products quickly, respond to customer needs, and balance flexibility with stability. Learn more about Obtiva's Agile training and register here. A whole gaggle of Obtivians will be in Denver for the training and StartupWeekend - Dave, Andy, Tyler, Michael, Ryan, Kat and Kevin.

StartupWeekend events are held 'round the world and are a high-energy, whirlwind 54 hour event where entrepreneurs, developers, designers, marketers and everyone in between get together to build out a business concept during the course of a weekend. It starts on Friday at 5 p.m. as participants get together and discuss the kinds of projects they want to create, then pitch their product ideas to the group. Then, teams break out -- typically, about nine teams form during the weekend, each creating their own company and their own product or application. By 9 pm, teams have begun to solidify their concepts and create an elevator pitch, and each group breaks off to conduct its own in-depth discussions and begin to prototype its product or app. 

Saturday morning, work begins in earnest on strategizing, planning and coding, and continues through Sunday evening, when each company presents its concept to a panel of judges and a winner is declared. 

Sooooo: Dave Hoover is one of the judges, while Andy, Ryan and Tyler will be working as technical advisors for the participants.

This is going to be an exhilarating, inspiring, fun, and yes, exhausting weekend that you won't forget. And the Obtiva training with Michael Feathers June 3 is the perfect introduction to Agile skills you can use during StartupWeekend and forever more in your career.

StartupWeekend Denver is organized by Jon Rossi and takes place at WorkBrite in the RiNo district. Registration is open now! 

Twitterheads, follow the discussion on Twitter and use hashtag #swDenver.

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