ALE Network – first ideas from AgileStammtisch Düsseldorf

Posted by on Apr 8, 2011 in Agile & Lean, Community | 3 Comments

It seems like yesterday that Jurgen Appelo started the Agile Lean Europe group on LinkedIn. I noticed it because I follow Jurgen on Twitter, and because I knew him from the XPDays Benelux last year. I didn’t really care at the time (I think it might have been early February) as I thought, “not another discussion group on Agile…”

Then we met again at the Play4Agile conference which I organised with a few friends. One evening at the bar, we started talking about his ideas for the network and my vision of an IdeaFarm (you can do a perfection game on my vision using the link). We immediately found matching ideas and started to develop the plan with the big list, small list and tiny list… the envisioning workshop before the XP2011 conference in Madrid and the session he wanted to do there. Facilitated by Michael Sahota, we further designed the plan he published afterwards.

We created a group of organisers to get started, with Ken Power (who was at Play4Agile as well), Sergey Dmitriev, Vasco Duarte, Jacopo Romei and myself. The ideation turned into design… and a plan. The next step was to entice the local communities in all European countries to come up with ideas and expectations which could then be integrated into a vision to be discussed in a World Cafe session at the XP2011. I volunteered to facilitate and organise this for the German community.

During the last weeks, I got in touch with people I know in different local user groups and published the plan to peers and newsgroups. People volunteered to bring this topic into user group meetings in Düsseldorf, Munich, Karlsruhe (committed) and possibly Hamburg und Berlin. Yesterday, Marc Bless and Andreas Leidig discussed the ALE network idea in the SUGKA in Karlsruhe, and tonight Andreas Ebert-Karroum and myself did the same at the Agile Stammtisch Düsseldorf, hosted and organised by codecentric (including food and beer, thank you!).

After a short introduction to the topic (including parts of the story above) I asked the people present to write down their ideas on cards, and gathered those to be included in a MindMeister map I created to prepare for Madrid (give me a note if you want to be invited to that, via comment, mail or Twitter). I want to share some of these ideas here…

  • Connecting to other EU people made me realise we are part of something bigger
  • I want to visit a local user group while I am on vacation
  • Think global, act local—why get ruled by the US?
  • I need speakers for my local Agile/Lean meetup! (we’ve run out of talks:-( )
  • “Journeyman swaps” to balance out cultural and country-specific strengths and weaknesses
  • Central register of events and groups
  • Recognise our cultural deficiencies and understand when we need to leverage the diversity found in other EU countries
  • I’d like a vast library of success AND failure stories, i.e. “we had problem X; we tried Y; it did[n’t] work. In hindsight I’d say it did[n’t] work for reason Z.”
  • EU loves to live at home. US are used to travel. Concentrate on ideas! Transport ideas to regional areas.
  • Not building a network will make us irrelevant.
  • McFlurry ice cream flavours differ in every country in Europe.

We also gathered things we don’t want to see:

  • No board
  • No subboards
  • No committees
  • No certifications

More about this topic will follow. Stay tuned!.


  1. Marc Löffler
    April 8, 2011

    Hi Olaf

    Thanks for the summary of what is going on in the ALE network the last weeks. I also want to participate and help to grow the network. Please invite me to your MindMeister map.

    – Marc

  2. Agile Lean Europe « Kurt’s Blog
    April 9, 2011

    […] other blog posts about the talk we had in Düsseldorf have been written by Olaf Lewitz and Maurice le […]

  3. Michael Keeling
    April 20, 2011

    “Think global, act local—why get ruled by the US?”

    I agree 100%. As a software engineer from the USA one of the things I have always valued is how cultural differences (even just between Europe in general and the US) lead to different perspectives on how to build great software. There’s a lot to be learned from seeing the world through someone else’s point of view and software development is no different.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing what you guys learn! Let’s lay an agile transatlantic telegraph wire!


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