Mini XP Day Benelux 2009: A Retrospective

This week begins with another Agile First: the first ever Mini XP Day Benelux conference. The one-day conference is a second chance to attend 9 of the session favourites from XP Days Benelux 2008 based on last year’s participant and conference organiser feedback.

What Went Well

  • 48 participants attended the first ever Mini XP Day Benelux conference!
  • As organisers, we improved our effectiveness by using kanban boards to organise ourselves prior to the conference and on the day
  • The cheery and funny Rob Westgeest and Marc Evers were entertaining as conference hosts
  • Elewijt, the conference venue, was spacious, airy and well-equipped
  • Working smoothly as a triad to co-present The Business Value to a home crowd with Vera and Pascal
  • Trialling a number of improvements on The Business Value Game based on player feedback from the many previous sessions we’ve run
  • ‘Working with Resistance’, with Olivier Costa and his sensei Frank Vanhoeck, a beginner’s Aikido session
  • Catching up with Beneluxian Agilistas such as Johan Peeters and Xavier Quesada
  • Meeting new Beneluxian Agilistas such as Jef Cumps and Kris Philippaerts
  • The thoughtful giveaways selected by Vera
  • Belgian food is D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!
  • Being present at an organisers’ dinner meeting and conference retrospective in person
  • Running 9k in hilly Tervuren forest without stopping once!

What Went Wrong

  • I didn’t meet as many participants as I would have liked – one day is so short!
  • Long queue for buffet lunch
  • Ran out of some buffet choices for last ones in


  • If you already work well as a team, why use Agile?
  • Who learns more: the one who talks more or the one who listens more?
  • Why weren’t topics posted for the Open Space track?

Lessons (Re-)Learnt

  • When I resist, flow instead
  • Exercise is equally important for the mind and the body
  • A good teacher accompanies their student to discover the answers together instead of just giving them their opinion
  • Talk less, listen more
  • Challenge everything, most of all, myself
  • 2009 is the year of cartoons in Belgium!
  • XP Days Benelux 2009 (to be held this November in Belgium) is going to be F-A-B if the past conferences are anything to go by. I hope to see you there!

A Note about Pigeon Fanciers

‘Duivenbond’ means ‘Pigeon Club’ in Dutch. Duiven Bond is a place where local pigeon fanciers gather to race their pigeons. Many Belgian towns have one of these. As far as I understand, pigeon racing is fraught with three major challenges:

  1. Race-pigeon-doping (because some folks bet vast sums of money on races)
  2. Anxiety among owners as they  crouch in the pigeon’s cage awaiting the return of their pigeon
  3. For the competing pigeon, the threat of being turned into pigeon pie if they lose the race.

What have you learned today?

One Response to “Mini XP Day Benelux 2009: A Retrospective”

  1. Thinking for a Change » Mini XP Day Benelux 2009: A Retrospective writes:

    […] the new version of the Business Value Game with Portia and Vera. We’ll publish this new version soon and explain the ideas in the closing […]

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