Archive for the ‘Agile2010’ Category


On the first day of the Lean and Kaban 2010 conference, a nice video shows that lean & Kanban idea’s can be used outside Software (offcourse, it came from outside software 😉 )

Look for Karl Scotlands short review of the proces if you want more:

What I liked:

  • Being able to design a successful process in context, whatever the nature of the work, is an important skill.
  • Clear visibility of bottlenecks (by limiting work in progress) enabled people to move around to keep the flow of material.



After last years GordonPask award there was a lot of discussion that yet again no women had won. JB who announced them has clearly said  last year that last year in the proposed people the few women had not done anything more remarking then the peopel who won. I trust JB enough to believe him.

Last year I had the pleasure to follow a coaching course with David Hussman (one of the winners of last year) and I agree his teaching style is really remarkable.

This year two women were selected. Was this a reversing, were these people selected only because they were women? I don’t think so. I think the only difference that the discussions of last year made, was that now more people were aware of the award and also thought about proposing women. I don’t think the selection process was any different. (Although I am not on the committee, I know I am biased as I know and at least trust 4 people on the committy)
When Rachel and JB talked about the winners at the agile alliance meeting, they explained why they had chosen the two liz’es. Unfortunately they did not do this Friday morning.

I had the pleasure to got to know both ladies the last year. (Although only one in person) As I don’t know what are the committee reasons I will write why I personally appreciate them. 

When I was working in Londen last year, I went to one extreme tuesday club. I had no idea who that I would meet, I ended up talking a lot with a smart women, who had some strong opinions on the Software Craftmenship. That movement had me confused a lot the months before. The discussions that lunivore did that night helped me form my opinion.  We also talked about agile2010 submissions. When I contacted her later she was very clear why she could not help me. Her answer made me understand a lot fuzzier answers(from other people).
When the timeline was enlarged, she did help me on two of my proposals. I even used her feedback to make my third proposal better.  If I got a session accepted it is partly because of her. From that evening I started following her on twitter and started reading her blog. Her agile 2010 session proposal about bdd for life was something I loved.
I use agile ideas to raise my kids. Applying something like bdd outside work, I love it. When Dan (North) first talked about bdd I did not understand nor saw much difference with TDD. I’m not sure if Elisabeth was a first follower, but she sure made BDD visible to me. (and I only met her briefly).
It takes a real leader to recognize something great and to make it grow without having the need to sell it as your own.

I was already following testobsessed on twitter when Alan Cooper posted a blogpost about a strange kind of course. I’m tempted to call it a simulation as in one week a team created a website doing everything the agile way. It’s not a simulation as it was a real website and went really Live after that period. When I read who had been there that week. I was jealous. (Those who know me, know I rarely get jealous.) It must have been awsome and hard to be amoung such a crowd. I subscribed to Elisabeths blog right away. Jb said about this that Elisabeth got Alan Cooper into agile. That event made me realize he was not into agile before, something that surprised me, as I (and a lot of others in the agile world) have been using personas ever since About face came out. For me uxdesign was one of the ways of doing agile. Although that event on its own might have been enough to get Elisabeth the GP award, it is far from the only thing she has done. By reading her blog I understood why TestObessed was a good metaphor for Elisabeth.
This ex-developer (me) who has always asked for more testers on his teams has learned a lot from her. So much I asked Elisabeth if there was a way I could join that next course year.   
What is maybe even more astonishing about both women, is that neither of them talked about themselves in their acceptance speech. They both talked about their network and how that helped them to be where they are. Accepting the award in a humble way.

I think it was great that JB announced the winners early on twitter, it really gave the chance for a lot of people to get to know both lizes during the conference… (instead of just at the announcement…)  
One last thing I learned Thursday night is that both of them (just as a lot of "known" agilist) not only love to dance but are actually pretty good at it…
Where last year people thought that you had to have a beard to deserve the gp award, I now claim you have to be a good dancer…

I know that the committee is looking to take the award in a different direction, I sure hope it is not the end…

Thanks to Ed Yourdon for the agile 2010 pics

At Agile Coach Camp Germany 2010, Marc Bless walked around and asked participants: which one book should I read. The result was this list.

As I liked this idea a lot, I did the same at Agile 2010. Only I did not say “what is the one book I should read.” Actually I asked people to give me one name of a book to put on the list. Some people asked me what the list was for (suprisingly not everyone) I gave a diversity of answers to that question (hoping for a diversity in books).

These were some of the answers I gave:

– the one book that I should read
– the one book that everyone in agile should have read
– the one book that changed your life
– the book you think is missing in this list
– …

I only had 2 rules:

– Only one book
– It can’t be on the list already

This is the list they put together:

When I write this blog post, I am very happy about the list, it contains a lot of books I like, it contains books I have sitting on my shelve waiting to read and it contains books I did not know  and look promissing…

And that while I found three book at my clients office today that should have arrived before my holiday and a kindle 3 on his  way to become mine, life is good…

Update: Thanks to JB’s comment  I now have a nicer view to these books:

I’m actively involved in a group called Diversity in Agile.

When we announced our first release, focussing on women we got a lot of strong reactions, both negative and positive.

Someone (Sorry I forgot where I read it, tell me who you are and I link back) said an interesting thing:

He said when my daughter would get an award for doing a math exercise correct, were all the boys in her class had the same result, I would be upset.

When I read it, I felt like, yes me too.  It stayed in my head.


When I was home last night, putting my daughter to bed, I realized why.

I have two boys 7 and 5 and a 2,5 year old daughter. Ever since she was a baby, my daughter loved pink. A real girl. We saw the difference right from the start. Geike will come to me every day to show her dress and ask me ‘beautifull?’ or ‘sexy?’.

I keep telling her, I find her beautiful no matter what clothes she wears. Last night she did something cleaver with a book and I told her she was smart. She did not want to hear it.

What I notice is that this little 2,5 year old, keeps asking for confirmation on how she looks, but does not like it when I give her similar confirmation on her intellect.

All that said, Geike is the most geeky of all three. She will play with phone’s, computers everything she can get her hands on.


That experience made me link 2 things:

– The report that was published yesterday: Why so few women?

– And the In Search of meaning video I posted earlier.

In the research they say that women/girls are not that much encouraged (as boys) for their math skills, but when they are encouraged, you see much higher percentage of women doing science. In the video Victor Frankl shows that you have to aim for a higher target to get where you want to be.

If I combine these two I would say, yes you need to give girls some kind of awards for doing something at the same level of boys.

Before everyone jumps all over me, I agree this sounds wrong to me.

I does show that we should be very careful at how we say things to women and girls from a very early age. I do this with my children and it is damn hard.

(It is also a reason why I will not make a comment about a new look of colleagues, even though I know some like that.)

Back to the diversity in agile project. When we prepared our first project, we had lot’s of discussion internally because we did not want to make it an award.

The first release we are executing now: interview 12 women and show these video’s at agile 2010. (We will use other media also)

Some of the other wilder idea’s are create some visual network of people (not just women) to see how is connecting to who, just an idea not yet clear how to do this, give us some iterations to figure this out.
I admit. We made some crucial mistakes when this was announced. I did not see them before. (I like to take action and adapt based on the feedback.)

We used the word nomination. It looks like most people link nomination with an award. I can see that. We changed that.

We call part of  the website YourTeamNeedsWomen. That gives the impression to some people that it is against men. I can see why.


When I take a few steps back, I see also something very funny.

– Last year, there was a whole war going on on Twitter, when the PaskAward (you can find the FAQ around the Pask Award here.) was given. Reason: again no women that received the award. The reaction from the jury was: we did not receive any candidates that did something that deserved the award.(That is what I recall, sorry if I misquote this.) I wanted to assume that was true and at the same time it was strange that for 5 years in a row, no woman did receive the award.

– A lot (all ?) of the strong reactions agains “Diversity in Agile” I see, is that people say you can’t create an award just for women.
==> See a similarity in these discussions?

We agile community we don’t like awarding people for what they do.

I know that the PaskAward committee is thinking about stopping it.

As I commented on that blog, I don’t think they should. I do think they should listen to some of the critiques they get. I will add some more energy here: Damn it, don’t give up , that is too easy.

All of this reminds me about one thing what I like about the agile community but what I see us failing in all so often.
Respect for people. This is not in words part of the agile manifesto, but I think most people would agree with me, it is there in spirit.

The principle that comes closest:

Build projects around motivated individuals. 
Give them the environment and support they need, 
and trust them to get the job done.

Me: I believe in this principle. And it might be a reason why I don’t send enough positive vibes to agile community projects I like, and I do send things I don’t like. (I want to send more positive energy, but I know I failed at that.)


I know that for the Diversity in Agile project we do want more people helping out and finding the right way to support diversity.

So if you have idea’s please join the discussions on the google group.

If you don’t have the time and energy, we still would love to hear your idea’s, but think about this principle and send us a perfection game and then let us decide what to do with it.

For the last 5 years, I was wearing my t-shirt at all the conferences I ‘m  going (as a speaker or participant). At every conference there are at least a few people asking me what PairCoaching means.

Some think the logo is about me coaching pair’s (which is logic as I do a lot of things with my father, who does that kind of work. Others think it is about me and my partner coaching people together, which is logic as we have presented together.)

It always ends in a talk about paircoaching and sometimes a few more people willing to try out to do more pairwork. Mission accomplished…

At XP2010, I wore a shirt with burned wholes in it. I received a lot of questions about that.

The shirt is publicity about the talk I’m doing at Agile2010:

What I learned from burning down my house.

When people hear about the talk, they think it is a fake story. I wear the shirt to make people aware it is a real story. 1st August 1991, I (accidently) burned down the house I was living in.
I learned a lot in the next year about myself, my parents, saw the difference between so called friend and real friends etc…

Our talk at the conference is about the book “The sense of urgency”, the story about burning down my house is our way to tell it.

If you compare a picture of me wearing the real fire shirt I wore it at xpDay Benelux last November and the way I looked in 1991, you see another difference.

I had long hair in 1991. Sometimes dedicated actors become really fat or thin or grow long hair for a movie.  I decided to do the same and let my hair grow for my talk at the conference in Orlando. It won’t be that long as in 1991, but should give you an idea.

(Please hope with me, it won’t hurt me at my current client.)

Every year there is some kind of good cause at the conference and the agile alliance hopes people will give some of their money to.

I decided I will have my hair cut at the conference (sometime after my talk).
People can cut a part of my hair if they donating money. (Something like 5 dollars for each time you cut a piece of hair and  10 if you want to take it with you;-) …)
Update: I have contacted the Agile 2010 organizers,  not only have they acceped my proposition; Bob Payne invented a cool name for it: “Locks of Love”