Agile in Europe

Can the various European Agile User Groups benefit from working together? I am cautiously optimistic.

At XP2011 this week, Jurgen Appelo has taken the initiative to launch the Agile Lean Europe network. This is an initiative to bring together representatives from 17 European countries. Sergey Dmitriev and I will be representing Norway. To what end? I’m still not sure.

There is no doubt that there is much Europeans can learn from each other. For example, Norway has long had several active user groups (Oslo XP meetup, Oslo Lean meetup, and Oslo Coding Dojo are my personal favorites). The biggest of these groups gather as many as 100 people on a monthly basis. We have also hosted a local, Norwegian language conference for four years. Last year, the conference had over 400 attendees.

Norway has also had several large public sector projects adopting Scrum, driving the commercial adoption of Agile.

Our “sweet brothers”, the Swedes, on the other hand, don’t seem to have any user groups on the same scale, but they have a local, somewhat smaller Swedish sister conference to Smidig 20xx.

However, the Swedes have several very high-profile speakers, like Marcus Ahnve, Thomas Nilsson, Staffan Nöteberg, Henrik Kniberg, and several others. In Norway, we practically only have local speakers.

Also, the Agile Sweden mailing list is very successful. We have made a few attempts in Norway of getting an online community going, but it has never taken off.

It seems clear to me that there is a lot we Agile Europeans can learn from each other. Exactly what remains to be seen.

What do you think is the future of the Agile community in Europe?

About Johannes Brodwall

Johannes is Principal Software Engineer in SopraSteria. In his spare time he likes to coach teams and developers on better coding, collaboration, planning and product understanding.
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5 Responses to Agile in Europe

  1. Hi Johannes. Wish I could join you!

    Agile has crossed the chasm in many European countries and I guess it is time to take the next step. A lot of organisations has adopted some agile thinking and practice, but not many are truly agile. It is 10 years after the manifesto and we should probably emphasize on
    experiences more than selling / convincing people. We must share the success stories and try to understand what makes some companies truly agile, while others are agile only by name.

    Exchanging experiences works best between neighbors. The cultural and business differences and are small and in my opinion the credibility of an experience report is higher. And we have better chances of meeting face-to-face of course. The stories coming from big US companies was important in the beginning, but may be less important in the phase we are entering now.

    So, I hope you will manage to create a Strong ALE (like in English Strong Ale;))for the future.

  2. It would be nice to have more high-profile speakers, especially Norwegian ones. I also hope it will become more of a norm for “average agilists” to exchange agile knowledge across borders.

  3. Interesting read, I didn’t know it was this different. Maybe we should invite people from “Agile Lean Europe” as guest speakers at Smidig2011?

    I agree Geir Amsjø, we should focus more on experience sharing. What have we learned from our failures and successes? What does it mean to be agile?

  4. Lisa Crispin says:

    As someone fortunate enough to get to participate in agile conference in Europe, I can attest that there is a strong and active agile community there. I always get new ideas and perspectives when I talk to practitioners there. I’m excited to see this new network, I think no matter where we are in the world, it will benefit us.

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