Agile Coach Camp Germany 2010

The last two days I was part of Agile Coach Camp 2010. This post is about my experience at the camp. I will write a different post about each of the session in the next days.

Camps based on Open Space Technology (See Wave Rider) have becoming increasing more popular in the last years.

They received a big boost when O’Reilly organized a “Foo Camp”. In this camp all the participants were invited. Some people (that were not invited) did not like that, and created a BarCamp. That BarCamp was an instant hit and it was replicated around the globe.

I missed the first BarCamp in Brussel, but loved the concept as it fell in sync with a lot what we are doing in the Agile world. The Belgium BarCamps I have been to, left a big impression on me. Last year there was an Agile Coach Camp in he UK, that was unfortunately on the day before a big family activity for my 6 year old son. (I already bailed out of a US one the year before)

When Deborah Preuss told me about the posibility for an Agile Coach Camp in Germany, I put it in my agenda right away.

This little introduction to say that I had high expectations of the camp. Especially as coaching can be a lonely job without much interaction with other coaches.

I was lucky that Pawel wanted to pick me up at the Frankfurth airport. Although we were late and missed he lightning talks, I had a blast talking with him about agile, scrum, lean, Xp, Kanban. Insight I learned from that conversation:

If you look at XP the way it was written by Kent, it’s much closer to kanban than to scrum.

I felt really bad about missing the first part of the conference. As a trainer I learned that for me, the first 5 minutes are the most important moment for me. I need these first 5 minutes to make connection with my students. As the opening round is so important in Open Space conferences I was afraid about not being able to make a connection with the conference.

When I came I was welcomed by Perluigi, Rachel, Joseph, John and a whole bunch of other people that I did not yet knew. I felt right at home.

When I created my position paper I wrote I wanted to listen more then talk. I really wanted to learn from other coaches. As the time came closer, I realized more and more about what I wanted to learn. So when the time was to propose session I selected 3 session from my long list. I felt guilty after that, Rachel made me realize that the fact that there where 99 cell’s and a lot of empty slots created the environment to that encouraged me.

I like the OOMPS about the sessions. I love the small perfection that Ilja did for adding his sessions. Ilja talked about one session, and then I went back to the end of the row, waited again and added another session. It made me think about a technique I like to use in a retrospectives. Thanks Ilja for showing how I could use this also in a different environment.

During lunch I had the pleasure of being at Josephs and Perluigi table. Discussions with Joseph about team dynamics, forces me to think at double speed, making me questioning everything I know about teams. Talking about moving outside my comfort zone.

In the afternoon I started to have a more detailed look at the big poster that Jens put up.

I had seen the pdf, I was happy I could see the document in a printed version.

It made me understand why agile seems so logic to a lot of people (as it has so many great influences) And at the same time, it is incredible to know that only a small portion of the influences are on it the document. It was also great to look at the document with Rachel. It made me realise she is not only THE person to contact to know about the current state of the Agile Alliance, she also is a great source to learn about the past.

In the evening, there was an agile jeopardy in the bar.

I only understood what it was when I saw it.

IT was a quiz, with some similarities to some quiz on television.

Although all the questions were in German and I could not hear most of the answers, it set the tone for a great atmosphere.

I love the format. As I told multiple people I will start using this in my courses.

I’m hoping that the source for the software will be available in Open Source anytime soon.

The next day I was lucky to be a spectator of the video that Deborah took of Rachel for the agile alliance Diversiy in Agile program.

Later I admired a great picture that will be proposed as a universal translation for the Agile Manifesto
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