Archives for the ‘Conferences’ Category

Agile 2010: Session Materials

How do you represent Business Value?

We’ve had lots of fun at Agile 2010 and here are the materials for our two presentations. Download and have fun!

– Portia and Pascal

Agile Fairytales visits Disney World

You’re a mischievous wooden little boy who dreams of becoming a real manager. Now that your dream has come true, you find yourself stuck inside a whale’s stomach, stewing in a jacuzzi of digestive juices. The satanic little voice in your head says everything will be ok, but your protruding nose knows otherwise.

Welcome to Pleasure Island - the homwork-free place full of candy

Join us in the latest Agile Fairytale being told this Tuesday of ‘Pinochhio – On Becoming a Lean Leader’ at Agile 2010.

You’ll embark on an journey where you’ll encounter two types of characters: the Baddies, such as Gideon and Foulfellow, who will try to lead you astray with temptations, and the Goodies, such as Gepetto, the Blue Fairy and Jiminy Cricket, who will help you find your way back to your goal.

You’ll get the chance to put the tools into practice and come up with 3 actions to take away to try out back at work.

The Lean Leadership Tools we’ll share with you are:

  • Visual Controls – Use simple visual indicators to support Flow and Pull
  • Leader Standard Work – Adhere to work processes as a discipline
  • Daily Accountability – Use Visual Controls to improve process focus and drive Continuous Improvement
  • Leadership Discipline – Set clear expectations and maintain process focus on a daily basis.

Including those of a Learning Organisation:

  • Nemawashi (Decisions based on Consensus) – Make decisions slowly by consensus then implement decisions quickly
  • Hansei (Relentless Reflection) and Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) – Do regular analysis to establish a stable process and make incremental improvements.

All of which are guided by:

  • Long-term Philosophy – Grow and align the whole organisation toward a common purpose that is greater than a purely financial reward.

Join us to acquire these Lean Leadership tools and give your story a Happy Ending with the help of talking animals.

The session will be held at 13.30 – 15.00 in the Southern Hemisphere IV/V (Lobby Level) of the Dolphin Hotel in Orlando. I’ll be co-presenting this interactive session with Pascal Van Cauwenberghe.  Come early to get a good seat!

We’re off to see the Wizard in Paris!

Dorothy in Paris

The Agile Fairytales will be making their second ever appearance in Paris next week. Join us at Agile France (formerly known as XPDay France)  this Tuesday, 1 June 2010, for an adventure on the Yellow Brick Road to learn about Peer Coaching (‘La Route de Brique Jaune – De nouvelles manières de penser grâce au co-coaching’).

Places are limited to 18 so arrive early to get your place!

Mini XP Days Benelux 2010: The Perfection Game

Dawson's Creek in Eindhoven?

What I liked about Mini XP Days Benelux

  • Pre-conference dinner on conference eve – this is a great way to get to know participants before the fun starts on the day of the conference!
  • Olivier’s Aikido morning meditation session. It’s unsettling how it’s so much harder to be still than it is to be engaged in constant activity.
  • Learnt at least two new recipes using white asparagus (a regional speciality).
  • The remarkable enthusiasm for the twists and turns in Agile Fairytales, an Agile retelling of stories you’ve grown up loving!
  • Nicole and Marc’s pair conference opening and closing – what a team! By keeping the ceremony short, sweet and simple, they made everyone smile and kept us all engaged.
  • Fresh local food and healthy, too!
  • Kappellerput is a breath-taking venue, with rooms titled ‘Challenge’, ‘Collaboration’ and ‘Reflection’ in a setting surrounded by a forest. It even has it’s own human bird house, this is a hard venue to beat! You really must come see for youself at XP Days Benelux on 25 – 26 November!
  • The fanatastic organisers for their sense of team, fun and always remembering to put the participants at the heart of everything we do.

What would make it perfect

  • A greater selection of hot meal options at lunch time.
  • I wish I had spent more time getting to know the first-timers at the conference.

Lessons (Re-)Learnt

  • Observers often come up with better questions than an interviewer because they suspend judgment long enough to listen and respond with another question to clarify or deepen their understanding of what’s being said by the interviewee.
  • To be a good coach, talk less, listen  more.
  • Great sessions, such as Pierluigi Pugliese’s session on ‘Solution Focused Agile Coaching‘, require practice, feedback and continuous refinement.
  • When you specify a maximum number of attendees for your session, stick to it to ensure you preserve the overall session experience for the attendees.
  • Presenting a session is one of the most effective ways to learn. It gives you a reason to research and get creative about a topic you feel passionate about and one that others are also interested in, too. It’s also the most direct way to get feedback on your presentation style and practice your public speaking skill. If you’re serious about learning, then do consider submitting to XP Days Benelux this year! Look out for the call for sessions here.

The secret is in the watching and learning

We hope to see you at XP Days Benelux, 25 – 26 November in Kappellerput in a sleepy town called Heeze (with a popular ice cream bar) in Eindhoven.

Thanks to Tjakko for the great close-up of the Observer role card from The Yellow Brick Road Game on Agile Adoption Through Peer Coaching!

On the Eve of Mini XP Days Benelux 2010

Welcome to dinner on Mini XP Days Benelux Eve!

‘Tis the eve before the second Mini XP Days conference and I find myself thinking back to the first time I came across the XP Days Benelux conference. It was around 2 years ago. Pascal and I had just begun pairing on conference sessions and he happened to mention that XP Days Benelux as something he was involved in.

Needless to say, I had lots of questions such as ‘What makes the conference different from other conferences? What value could I add? How could I contribute?’ To which Pascal replied in his usual matter-of-fact way, ‘Vera and I started the conference because we needed a conference we wanted to go to near where we lived. You could help by making it a conference you want to go to, too.’

I accepted the invitation and began to contribute with baby steps, first by reviewing conference sessions, then by submitting my own and by helping out on the days of the conference. I’ve learnt so many things through helping out over the years.

What makes a high value conference?

1. A conference tells you a lot about the people who organise it. It’s difficult to distinguish between the organisers and the participants at XP Days Benelux. This is intentional. It highlights the fact that we all have something to learn from each other. Some presenters say that the feedback they get from the participants go a long way to amplify and accelerate their own learning.

2. Effective learning begins in an environment where everyone can be courageous. Many of the participants are equally as helpful and enthusiastic as those who organise the conference. It’s this sense of camaraderie, willingness to muck in and courage to expand one’s comfort zone, that has made this conference the kind of conference I thrive on participating in.

3. Self-organisation is a key characteristic of a successful team. I was able to witness self-organisation firsthand by working as part of the group of diverse volunteers. I noticed there was no one telling the others what to do. When I mentioned this to Pascal, he said, ‘It’s up to all of us to decide and agree on what we want to get out of the conference. Then we can decide how much and what we put in.’  That’s when I realised that there isn’t just one leader in a group. Everyone’s a leader. To be a good leader, you have to lead yourself first. It sounds simple, but it’s not easy.

Nicole and Vera know to take a look from the other side

A Gathering of Adventurers

Participants of XP Days Benelux share a few common traits:

  • Open-minded – ‘Aikido breathing exercises to start off the day? Go on then, I’m willing to give anything a go!’
  • Good listeners who question everything – ‘Will you qualify your approach? What makes you describe people as “blockers”? What can you do to help?’
  • Continuously Learning – ‘What works well? What’s going wrong? Lessons Learnt? And puzzles?’
  • Continuously Improving – ‘Thanks to our conversation at the last conference, I’ve helped introduce pairing to my team. What else can I do to improve? How can I add more value?’

If you’re ready for this kind of learning, we hope to see you on Monday and, of course, at the 2-day XP Days Benelux conference on 25 – 26 November!

SPA 2010: 16 -19 May 2010

SPA 2010 will take place once again in Covent Garden, London. It’s a 4-day conference running from Sunday to Wednesday jam-packed with sessions from London agilists and those from Europe and beyond! What better way to enjoy London than to combine the visit with an Agile conference?

Pascal and I will be co-presenting 2 sessions this year: “Solve Conflicts Without Compromise with the Conflict Resolution Diagram”, and “Pinocchio – On Becoming a Lean Leader”. We hope to see you there!

Make It a Happy Ending!Tickets are still available for 1-day, 2-day and the full 4-day conference. Buy them here!

Deep Agile 2010: 15 – 16 May 2010

Play two games from!

The theme for this year’s Deep Agile conference in Boston on 15 – 16 May is ‘Empowering Teams with Agile Games’, a marvellous idea thought up by Brian Bozzuto and Michael de la Maza.

This will be the first ever Agile conference dedicated to the application and invention of learning games to help us all learn, improve and work.

I’m really looking forward to making new friends and exchanging ideas with the conference organisers in person!

I’ll be presenting two games from the Agile Coach Toolkit: “The Yellow Brick Road – Agile Adoption Through Peer Coaching” and “The Bottleneck Game – Process Improvement with the Theory of Constraints”. Is it possible to have so much fun under one roof? We’ll have to wait and see!

There are still some tickets left for this 2-day weekend of fun in Boston. Sign up quick before April 16 to qualify for the Early Bird discount! I hope to see you there.

Mini XP Days Benelux: 26 April 2010 – SOLD OUT!

 A Production of Fun and Learning!

Mini XP Days is an action re-play of the favourite sessions from XP Days Benelux 2009 as selected by you, the participants and the conference organisers.

This will be the second ever Mini XP Days conference thanks to the resounding popularity of last year’s conference! This 1-day conference will take place in the inspiring and beautifully architectured country estate of Kappellerput in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

You’ll also get the chance to refresh your body and your mind with a set of Aikido exercises in an enchanted forest led by Olivier Costa.

I’m looking forward to faciliating “The Yellow Brick Road – Agile Adoption Through Peer Coaching“. My favourite bit has to be the telling of this Agile Fairytale based on the Wizard of Oz!

Read more about the conference from Pascal here.

XP Day Suisse 2010: Edition Francophone

Dorothy in a Spot of Trouble

Salut le monde! After a most enjoyable experience with the participants at XP Day Suisse 2009, Pascal and I are back  in Geneva to co-present at XP Day Suisse 2010 this Monday.

We’ll be co-presenting “The Yellow Brick Road – Agile Adoption Through Peer Coaching” (“Apprenez les techniques de coaching avec le magicien d’Oz”) for the first time en français followed by “Agile Project Management in Practice” (“La gestion de projet agile en pratique”) a brand new presentation on the fundamentals of Agile Project Management based on our experience.

Apprenez les techniques de coaching avec le magicien d’Oz

Pour pouvoir aider les autres (et soi-même) avec du co-coaching il faut mettre en pratique quatre activités : Poser les bonnes questions Écouter ce qui est vraiment dit Observer ce qui se passe vraiment Donner le bon feedback au bon moment Le coaching est simple, mais pas facile. Quelque soit votre rôle dans l’équipe, ces techniques seront utiles pour améliorer chaque jour. Apprenez quelques techniques de coaching et mettez-les en pratique. Les personnages du Magicien d’Oz vous aideront sur la longue route de brique jaune vers la Cité d’Émeraude.

Redécouvrir les leçons que nous avons apprises pendant l’enfance mais avons oubliées depuis longtemps avec Agile Fairytales (les conte de fées agiles) dès demain. La limite est 30 personnes pour cette session. Venez un peu un avance pour garder votre place!

Mettez le co-coaching en oeuvre avec l'aide des agilistes!

La gestion de projet agile en pratique

Est-ce qu’il y a des chefs de projet dans un projet agile ? Qu’est-ce qu’ils font ? Quelle est la différence avec un Scrum Master ? Quelle est la différence entre la gestion de projet « agile » et la gestion de projet « normale » ? A travers des présentations, jeux et exercices nous vous proposons un ensemble d’outils et techniques que vous pourrez appliquer dès demain pour améliorer le déroulement et les résultats de vos projets.

A demain sur la Route de Brique Jaune!

Turku Agile Day 2010 – A Retrospective

Make the Most of this Very Journey of Yours

It was great to be back at university and learning last week alongside 150 participants at the second edition of the annual Turku Agile conference, jampacked with interesting workshops and presentations.

The conference was divided into 2 days of events. Day 1 began with workshops followed by a more classic format on Day 2 featuring presentations sandwiched between an opening keynote and a closing keynote.

Pinocchio – On Becoming a Leader

This was the first time we’d showcased an Agile Fairytale as a keynote with a twist. Pascal and I transformed the usual passive lecture keynote into an interactive session with our signature style. The session was an unusual combination of fairy storytelling, action replay and 5 exercises. We got everyone moving and chatting, learning from one another and learning together.

One participant said, ‘You’ve got the interactive keynote downpat! You can scale it up to 500 people if you wanted. It was fantastic!’ Another participant described the keynote as ‘gentle yet deep and meaningful’. We got everyone thinking about and practising goal-setting, committing their goals and moving towards them. We did this by using  Marshall Goldsmith‘s Feedforward Exercise combined with Test-Driven Living. We also asked participants to begin with the end in mind: ‘Imagine. You’re 95 years old. You’re surrounded by friends and loved ones. What are the things you’re most proud of having achieved?’

Based on the checking off of acceptance criteria for the keynote with a show of hands, more than 90% of the participants had fun during the session while around 70% of participants learned something meaningful about themselves. Now that’s what I call a job well done – one with clear goals and acceptance criteria.

What’s more, Thank You! for all your feedback. You’ve given us great ideas for improving the session and turning it into even more of a show! You can learn more about the Agile Fairytales community here.

Timeboxed Thinking – How to Make More of Your Time

Timeboxed Thinking is a simple way of structuring our thought process and getting things done. It combines timeboxing, an iterative scheduling process, with the Modal Thinking Model, to turn jumbled up thinking into a discipline. The result: clarity of thought, things getting done and being in control of your time.

Just when everyone thought they couldn’t have more fun in one day, Staffan Nöteberg and I got our afternoon audience of around 100 people to sing along to the all time classic of ‘Heads-Shoulders-Knees-And-Toes’ with motions to match. Oh yes. The sing-along-and-stretch-it-out was designed to illustrate ‘Free Play’, one of the 5 modes in the Modal Thinking Model. It was a well-earned break after the various teams had all built old Tom McDonald a brand new farm (are you humming the tune yet?).

Staffan helpfully pointed out afterwards that I got the melody wrong for the first two verses. Fortunately, that didn’t stop everyone joining in and singing along. *PHEW* I’ll be sure to practice some more before the next group performance!


Firstly, a BIG Thank You! goes to all the student volunteers who’s professionalism, hospitality and collaboration helped to produce an exceptional conference.

Secondly, a BIG Thank You! to Aki Salmi, the conference leader,  for being the epitome of servant leadership, consideration and thoughtfulness. I look forward to exchanging more innovative and fun conference ideas with Aki at XP Day Benelux 2010! And, of course, Thank You! for inviting us to present the keynote and a session to boot.

Thirdly, a BIG Thank You! to the folks at BrainTrain London where a bunch of enthusiasts get together to trial new sessions and improve existing ones.

Where can I see all the action?

The keynote was filmed by the very talented ICT-film students at Turku University. The video should be available soon. The Timeboxed Thinking session was voice-recorded, so we look forward to hearing the podcast soon, too!

I’ll be blogging more about the key morals from Pinocchio an Agile Fairytale and the theory and practice of Timeboxed Thinking shortly. Watch this space!