Integrating Agile 2009: A Retrospective


What Went Well

  • Henrik Kniberg‘s opening keynote on ‘The Thinking Tool Called Agile’ reminds us that Agile is a tool and therefore a means to an end. It shouldn’t be a goal in itself.
  • Rob Westgeest promoting XP Days Benelux 2009, the most fun-filled and educational Agile conference I know.
  • Pair poetry writing with Pascal – we wrote a haiku to capture the lifelong journey towards achieving Flow.
  • Rob Thomsett‘s curious and entertaining closing keynote about IT teams from the perspective of Management which made me laugh out loud lots!
  • Co-presenting a session on The Toyota Way and how to make Lean and Agile endure with Pascal Van Cauwenberghe, featuring Snow White and the Seven Dwarves implementing a kanban system and applying Pull!

What Went Wrong

  • Only session titles were available on the programme – there weren’t any full session descriptions to provide details on what the sessions were about.
  • The nightclub setting and poor lighting made it difficult for participants to focus during presentations.
  • The programme didn’t cater for interactive or experiential sessions to promote active learning.
  • One day conferences are too short when there are so many folks to meet and learn from!
  • Pascal and I didn’t attend any sessions because we wanted to rehearse our session some more, face-to-face.


  • Is the Toyota Way easier to implement in Japan because of the hierarchical nature of Japanese culture?
  • And so what if this is the case? Is it reason enough to not practice the Toyota Way simply because it’s harder if you’re not Japanese?

Lessons (Re-)Learnt

  • The Toyota Way in a nutshell: Think ‘Long-term’, Respect for people, Continuous Improvement.
  • The Agile (XP) Values complement the principles of Lean and enable us to make a mindset shift based on long-term philosophy.
  • Continuous Improvement is about being better than you were yesterday everyday.
  • The importance of taking responsibility for our behaviour and what we do.
  • Miyamoto Musashi, a famous seventeenth century warrior who lived to a ripe old age, says the secret of his success is: “Do not develop an attachment to any one weapon or any one school of fighting’ – it’s about mixing and matching your tools according to the context. There is no one tool that fits all. Magic bullets don’t exist.
  • I have much to (re-)learn.


  • Many thanks to the organisers for looking after us during our brief stay in Amsterdam!
  • To the enthusiastic participants who attended The Toyota Way session and their subsequent conversations about how we can help teams grow.

2 Responses to “Integrating Agile 2009: A Retrospective”

  1. XP Days Benelux: The Toyota Way Management Principles | Selfish Programming writes:

    […] Agile at XP Days Benelux this Monday. We’ve presented this session twice this year, once at Integrating Agile and once at Scan Agile. The presentation has received great feedback – including feedback […]

  2. 2009: A Personal Retrospective | Selfish Programming writes:

    […] and participants at a myriad of Agile conferences including Agile 2009, XPDay Switzerland, Integrating Agile, ScanAgile and of course XP Days […]

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