Agile Tour Brussels 2013 Report

By September 27, 2013blog
agile tour brussels 2013

What is Agile Tour Brussels?

The second edition of Agile Tour Brussels was held at EPHEC – UCL in Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe on September 27. Almost 180 agilists from all over Europe gathered for almost 30 workshops or talks by fellow agilists. This post covers the 5 sessions I followed (choosing is always a little bit losing).

Why Agile? – Tiago Garcez

Tiago from Agilar did a refreshing talk about a.o. the real essence of agile and why agile is best suited to answer the key challenges in every kind of organization. A nice warming up. I particularly liked the fact he emphasized the sentence “we are uncovering better ways…” in the Agile Manifesto. A very good way to stress the importance of continuous improvement, also in agile practices themselves.

Another great one-liner: “Agile is not about reducing cost, it’s about value. Cost reduction has a limit, value addition does not. Agile exploits this asymmetry.” He also introduced IKEA agile. This is doing agile, but without the necessary culture change in your company. Nice concept.

He ended his talk with RIP predictive planning. The king is dead, long live the king! And extra points for pointing out this very interesting article on HBR about “The New Science of Building Great Teams“.

Our Agile Approach to Game Development – Laurent Grumiaux and Pierre Guerand

Next up were Laurent and Pierre from game development studio Fishing Cactus. A good talk on how they switched from “pure” scrum to some kind of hybrid scrumban. A little bit the same evolution as I made the last few years. Not surprising, as the issues they mentioned were pretty much the same as those in an advertising agency.

They dropped for example estimations, and do an on the fly sprint planning. No fixed timeboxes and no planning poker. No detailed buggets, but high level top down budgets. Also they pointed out their segmented way of handling creative reviews. Great insights.

The Agile and Open Source Way – Alexis Monville

I was back late from lunch, so I missed the beginning of Alexis‘ talk. He shared some insights on how he scaled agile to over 800 python developers. Not really my cup of tea.

Managing Without Authority: Lessons Learnt as a Dungeon Master – Guillaume Duquesnay

I was really looking forward to this talk. Guillaume shared his learnings after 15 years of roleplaying games. He told a number of stories about the relationship between him as a dungeon master (the game master in Dungeons and Dragons) and the player on his table. Without going into detail, I understood as conclusion that a good dungeon master tries to let the players self-regulate, so he can focus on the core of his role. Keeping energy high and telling the story.

This lecture felt double to me. On one side I was fascinated by the parallels between his stories and what you experience as a project manager/scrum master. On the other hand, he never made an explicit link to project management, except in the 5 final minutes. A missed opportunity, as I feel that he could make this a genuinely thrilling talk if he worked on his structure.

7 Types of Feedback that Helped Make a Success – Jake Benilov

I already read a lot of good things behind the agile approach that was used on the new site. This talk was a great opportunity to hear this story from someone who was actually on the team. And I wasn’t disappointment. The case is a great example in many ways.

Make sure you check out his presentation.

Conclusion? A very nice event by Bruno and his team. See you next year on Agile Tour Brussels 2014!

Image by Bruno Sbille