Archive for the ‘XPDay’ Category

Today Emilie tagged me in an answer to a tweet from Maria Kedemo

I’m always flabbergasted when I’m tagged as an answer to a conversation. Especially when it’s a conversation between two smart people like Emilie and Maria. I have been following both of them for a while. If you are not following them on twitter, stop reading and follow them. I’ll wait.
Done? No, I’m serious, please go do this, it will make your live better.

yes I understand Maria’s concern. I love feedback after a talk. I need feedback to improve. Yet just a score does not help me.

At least 10 years ago the xpday benelux conference, started to use the core protocol: perfect game as a feedback mechanism of the conference.

The agile program board of #xpdays . The card double as feedback forms...

On this picture, you can see the full schedule of the conference hanging as cards on a board. At the front of the card, you have a description of a talk.


People were encouraged to take a card as a kind of entrance ticket for the talk. For each talk we had a maximum number of cards as the session could host people.

Yet the most genius part was the back. It had a perfection game on the back.  


I don’t have a picture of such a feedback form. so this is a picture of how the perfection game works.

For those who want to learn more about where the perfection came from, you can read an article I co-wrote on methods and tools about the core protocols.

  • I read a lot of books, I always have.

As a coach, I decided some years ago, that the books I read as a coach, I want to have in my possession. I decided this because I try to learn something from every book I read.

The number of books that I really have to say, I did not learn anything from is very very low.
During my coaching, I referred people to the different books I had read.
I know that not every one likes to read as much as I do, yet in every organisation there is at least someone who loves to read.

And gradually I began to bring books to the clients I was coaching.
Every company/person has their own proces for lending books.

I call my proces: the library of trust.

Here is how the Library Of Trust works:

  • You select a book you would like to read
  • You take a picture of you with the book
  • You send this picture to my work and personal e-adres (a bookfie)
  • You read the part of the book that interest you (mandatory)
  • You bring the book back
  • You ask me to take a picture of me with the book and send it to you (important, that way I have a trace it’s back)

I get two kind of reactions to this proces:

  • Wow cool proces
  • How many books have you lost already?
    Ah that last question is interesting. I also bring my books to the XPdays conference and I leave them in the hotel lobby.
    There I lost 2 books in the last 10 years. One of them came magically back the next year at the conference.
    So I lost 1 book in 10 years.
    The reaction of one of the people that asked me this question. Wow we have a very rigid proces and we loose about 1 book a year. I rest my case.

My friend and colleague Franky Redant said that the SCARF model kinda explains why. Something I let you figure out on your own.

This year we celebrated the 10 anniversary of  XP Days Benelux.

I know that being from Belgium and the fact that this was my first agile conference makes me biased. And one thing I know about being biased, is that knowing you are biased, does not help …

Let me tell you a bit about one of the aspects that makes XP days benelux so unique.

OOMPS, or fully “Official One Minute Presentation” (sometimes replaced by OHMP, I let you figure out the difference on your own)

I have no idea who came up with the idea and only a small idea from where she or he stole it. I vaguely think it was a Dutch person, yet does it really matter? (It’s probably a person that will refuse a statue anyway.)

At the start of a day, the organizers ask all participants of the day to come forward an do a one minute sketch. A sketch to promote their session of the day.

Now over the years, at XPday benelux, this has turned into an art itself.

What else can you say about people that:


Crazy? probably, so what?

Informative? Year after year, the sessions with the best OOMPs, are sessions I love. (remember I said I was biased)

Serious? Yes, distilling a 1 hour session in 30 seconds of fun is hard work. And yet is wurth it.

Fun? oh yes

If you help organizing a conference, come have a look at xpdays and steal their OOMPS. If you can manage to recreate a similar atmosphere around it, you have just made your conference X times better.

At Xp2010 I missed the my agile suitcase presentation. I heard it was one of the best sessions at the conference. So when Martin & Ole proposed it for XPDays Benelux I voted for it. To my surprise they asked me to be part of it.
I created the talk on the train on my way to Agile Tour Strasbourg. I looked for pictures on my way back. I have annotated the presentation, so you can understand it without me doing the talking.

Crucial confrontations

View more PowerPoint from Yves Hanoulle
At Xpday Benelux in November 2011 , our session was selected among the 12 best sessions.
So Christophe Thibaut and me, we were asked to redo our session at Mini XPDays benelux 2012.
It was as fun as in November. As we warned our participants we had one exercise too much (we were still hoping we could do this, but we should have known better…) Anyway here are our slides.
As we said, we give Free Life time support.
The technique that was most appreciated was the click protocol

I’m happy to announce todays WhoIs: the Nicole Belilos. Nicole is very active in the Agile Benelux Community. She is one of the people that when she does a session I want to go it. I remember her playing our “Help My Team is at War” session at XpDay Benelux, she was playing a women that had to undergo the meeting.  Her bodylanguage was fantastic, her whole body was shaking, but she did not say anything (relevant) in the meeting. (As she was requested to do.) This year I was happy to see that at XPdays Benelux she did a session that was related to that session 5 years ago.
One of the reasons I like Nicole, is that she is not afraid to push me. When she disagrees with me, she will tell me. And I will listen.

What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?

I studied Math at Bryn Mawr College, in the USA. Bryn Mawr was, and still is, an all women’s college. Having spent four years among highly intelligent and motivated young women has influenced me a lot. It gave me the conviction that women can, and should, shape their own lives the way they want to. I also became very interested in cultural and gender differences in different societies and communities. For example, why is it that at Bryn Mawr the percentage of students studying Sciences was a lot higher than at coed schools? And why do so few girls in Holland choose a career in IT, while in other countries this is very common?
In my daily work, I see how we work more and more with international teams, with a varying mix of men and women of different nationalities. All these teams have different dynamics, which is fascinating.

If you would not have been in IT, what would have become of you?

I would probably be a translator or a teacher. I actually did both for a couple of years. I worked as an independent translator and was specialized in translating user manuals from French and English into Dutch. I have also taught French evening classes to adults who wanted to learn some basics to go on vacation in France. My challenge was to make these classes fun and interesting, so that people stayed motivated throughout the evening. Do you know which sentence they always wanted to learn first? “ Je ne parle pas français”.

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?

Playing all the different roles I have in life, and still staying sane. I am passionate about my work, but I also have my family as well as many other hobbies and interests, such as theater, sports and travel!
There simply isn’t enough time to do all the things I want to do. So I have learned that I need to set priorities and make choices. As I am a perfectionist, I still learn every day that things don’t have to be perfect.

What drives you ?
I get a lot of satisfaction out of doing things well. I seem to also have to challenge myself regularly. When things become smooth and easy I get bored and need to find a new challenge.

What is your biggest achievement?
It’s really hard to point out the biggest achievement. Professionally, I think it would be the Agile rollout I did at Ericsson. This was one of the first end-to-end rollouts at the Enterprise level in The Netherlands. At that time, there wasn’t much literature yet about Agile introductions or coaching. Intuitively, we did what we thought was right and learned from our mistakes. It was very challenging and therefore also very rewarding.
But in general, I believe that life is full of challenges and many small achievements lead up to a big one. Every time I challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone and do something I don’t really dare to do, I think that’s a big achievement.

What is the last book you have read?
Professionally, I have read “Liftoff: Launching Agile Teams and Projects”, by Diana Larsen and Ainsly Nies. I was honored to be one of the  storytellers in their book.
I also recently read Kluun’s book ‘Komt een vrouw bij de dokter’ (In English called: Love life). It’s about a young woman’s fight against breast cancer, that she eventually looses. I cried from beginning to end. Currently, one of my best friends is fighting breast cancer. I admire her strength; it’s such a horrible disease and such a tough treatment. I therefore support fund raising initiatives like Alpe d’Huzes and Pink Ribbon.

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?
What’s so special about the XP Days Benelux conference?

It’s the atmosphere! The community feeling, the energy, the fun… It’s so different from any other conference I have been to. Take a look at his video, you will understand what I mean.

For me, as a co-organiser, it is also the opportunity to work on an Agile team of volunteers. We are a truly self-organizing, international, distributed team. For us, XP Days Benelux is a yearlong event, from the first reservation of the premises, through the call for sessions, the reviews, the program selection and finally the 2 days themselves. And the moment the XP Days are over, we start to plan the Mini XP Days!
At times it’s a lot of work and I ask myself why I got involved. But then, when the conference is running successfully, I get so much in return!

Who do you think I should ask next?
There are so many wonderful people who should be part of your Who Is series!

First of all Vera Peeters. I bet that world wide thousands of people have played the XP Game that she has developed together with Pascal van Cauwenberghe. She deserves to get a lot more attention and credit for that achievement!
Then I’d like to mention Portia Tung and Jenni Jepsen, whose workshops at the XP Days are always refreshing, energetic, interesting and… sold out.
And finally Dusan Kocurek, who is a true Agile evangelist in Eastern Europe. I had the chance to work with him last year. He taught me a lot about the cultural differences between Eastern and Western Europe and how it affects the Agile communities.


Soft Skills Essentials for Software Craftsmen – Mechelen Mini XP Days 2011

Last Friday I did a talk with Pierluigi at Mini XPdays Benelux. We were both honored that our talk was selected among the 12 best sessions of XPDays Benelux 2010. This are the slides we used.
Pierluigi also posted a bibliography.  I have one book to add to that.
A book about Transactional Analyses that I heard my parents propose to tons of people. I’m OK, You’re OK. It was written in a moment that TA became very popular and after that period people took TA less serious. (The book TA Today that Pierluigi advises proves that TA is still valuable today.)
If you want to give us feedback on the session. Please use the improvement protocol

Promovideo XP Days Benelux 2011 from Seek You Too on Vimeo.

This video was shot by Peter Doomen at XP Days 2010

This video is temporary put of line seems that there were still people on it that wanted not to be seen online.