Thank You, 2011!

2011 has been an awesome and truly transformative year for me, maybe the most important in my life so far. The primary reason was that a number of new real options emerged that gave me opportunities to create value for myself and others in ways that I wouldn’t have expected one year ago. I’m very happy with what I achieved this year, and it’s time for a few Thank Yous.


Some of My Influencers of 2011

The biggest change in my life this year was that I joined agile42. This move created learnings, opportunities, connections and friendships that deserve their own post. Thank you, agile42!

I’ll go along the timeline of this year and reflect, that will lead to one possible, sensible order… which does not reflect importance. I can’t possibly cover all the people I’ve met, and I will intentionally omit some personal stuff. So if you are not mentioned in this post and feel you could be, it’s probably because your contribution to my life has been too profound or personal to share in public.

One person that earned her place outside, above and beyond my timeline of 2011 is my wife, Christiane. I couldn’t have done anything of what I did this year without your love and support! Thank you so much.

How My 2011 Started

I was exhausted after a very busy year, having made the hard decision to leave the company I’d worked with for more than eight years to join another one. That meant changing from the most senior and respected expert to the newbie, the beginner in a team of awesome agile coaches. I was excited, and a bit anxious.

Over the past one and a half year, starting with the ScrumGathering in Munich 2009, I had built a lot of strong connections in the agile community, and finally, at the age of 40, found my tribe. So, before I start with the timeline, a huge thank you to all the readers of this blog and all my followers on Twitter.

My Followers

Thank you all for following!


In January, I visited Norway for the first Norwegian CoachCamp that I had organised with Sergey Dmitriev, Ivana Gancheva, Geir Amsjø and a few others, meeting my friends Ken Power, Rachel Davies, and one of my new colleagues, Ralf Kruse. I met influencial thinkers and practitioners like Niklas Bjørnerstedt, Jon Jagger and Johannes Brodwall. A recurring topic of my year, LeanProcrastination, got a major boost in an open space session and through feedback by the real options gurus Chris Matts and Olav Maassen.

In Febuary, our first Play4Agile unconference brought together playful minds from many countries. Ellen Grove and Michael Sahota came all the way from Canada, inspiring me greatly. I’m especially great they joined the StrategicPlay crowd, just as Juliane Conradt and Thorsten Kalnin… Thanks our amazing StrategicPlay mentor, Katrin Elster! Ken Power was there, and Ole Jepsen, who’s work I admire since then. And I met Jurgen Appelo, we started to develop a plan for the ALE network… And he gave me feedback in a signature which I’m still thankful for (see picture below).

On my way home from Play4Agile, I learned that the ultimate change agent had taken one of my best friends.

In March, I started working with agile42. Wow, so many new inspirations… That kept me intellectually busy in a way that before had only happened “after work”…

In April, Ralf and I started the Awesome Coach of the Week blog series. Although we did not post every week, it’s one of this year’s endeavours that I’m quite proud of.

In May, I attended the XP2011 conference in Madrid and we created the vision for the ALE network. We started organising an unconference in Berlin… I met Liz Keogh, who’s been a source of inspiration since she taught me to write Haiku in 2009… This time, we built a vision in Lego together and I learned her model of Feature Injection in her BDD Tutorial. It’s been altering my work…


Liz building Chris Matts building a Network

I finally met JBrains and Michael Feathers, paired with Matt Wynne to finally learn Ruby, got to know Brian Marick and Esther Derby… (Thank you, Brian, for the chance to tango with Esther!) And the change agent hit again: This time he chose a car crash to take the father of one of my closest friends. Only the good…

One awesome sidetrack that happened while I was in Madrid deserves its own paragraph: I was contacted on Twitter by Pascal Pink, whom I did not know at the time. He wanted to know if I intended to come to the American AgileCoachCamp in Columbus, Ohio, in September … I said it’d not be on my way, and he replied, that would be sad, as so many Americans wanted to meet me and it might be easier for me to come over than for all of them to come here… I was flattered but still said I didn’t plan to go. He asked what kept me, time or money? I said, a bit of both, as to come over for just on weekend would be a bad use of time, and I didn’t know how to pay the flight. He suggested I could come over to LA for a few days, give a talk at an LA meetup and visit one of his clients with him, so that I could learn how they worked in the US. Afterwards, he would go to the ACCUS with me and pay for all my expenses, as part of his sponsorship for the event… I couldn’t believe it at first but he was serious:-) So it happened that one of the three invitations to the US I got this year actually came true.

In June, the ALE2011 organisation started for real, I still haven’t completely conceptualised how we let such an awesome outcome happen by applying anarchy with a purpose… Also in June, I attended the German AgileCoachCamp which I had co-organised and which was sold out in 18 hours… Meeting many awesome friends and getting lots of energy and insights from the community, especially from awesome coaches as Jens Hoffmann, Pierluigi Pugliese, Marc Löffler and Andreas Leidig… And I met Gitte Klitgaard, who’s been joining Twitter in the meantime, leading to lots of awesome conversations with Katrin and my dear Lady of Astonishment. And she’s helped me focus on commitments for this blog…

In July, my wife and me flew to Brussels to attend the amazing wedding of a friend, one of two short holiday trips we had time for this year… Thanks for the invite!

In August, I did my first Kanban trainings with Franz Ivancsich which were well received and we will definitely do more of… ALE2011 organisation took more and more of my time, leading to me not attending Agile2011 although I was one of the few Europeans whose session got accepted. My fellow ProcrastinationCoach Marc Bless played the LeanProcrastination Last Responsible Moment Game with my colleague Dave Sharrock instead, I heard it was well received…

One huge and huggy Thank You needs to go to all my fellow ALE2011 organisers, Marcin, Franck, Oana, Marc, Ivana, Sven, Catia, Jule, Mike&Mike&Mike, Monica, Christiane, Eelco, Ken, Jurgen, Sergey, Yves… We’ve been through a lot. We achieved greatness. Some of us became close friends.

September was easily the busiest and most awesome month of my life. It started with the ALE2011 conference… I met Stephen Parry, who amazed me with insights, a level of thinking I seldom have seen in our community and quotes like “Agile and Lean done wrong only show our clients how to do the wrong things righter”… The most lasting gift he gave me was a signature in his book (next to the one by Jurgen I mentioned above):


Awesome Feedback in Books

The event was a blast. An amazing mixture of innovative talks, open space facilitated by my amazing friend Mike Sutton, and lots of hugs.

Later that month, I went to LA and Columbus, as described above. Gave my talk about LeanProcrastination and played the LRM game, told Pascal’s client about Feature Injection, played our brand-new agile42 Kanban Pizza Game and met inspiring people at the CoachCamp. Siraj Sirajuddin, Pascal Pink, Mike Hill (whom I’d met in Madrid), Paul Boos, Michael Sahota, Mike Cottmeyer, Sameer Bendre and his lovely wife Meghana, Derek W. Wade, George Dinwiddie… Three people I was especially fond of seeing: Angeline “AgileMeister” Tan—it was awesome to finally meet you in RL, Tobias Mayer, a constant source of inspiration, and Matt Barcomb—I seldom made a close friend so fast. Looking forward to the chance to work together next year!

One unexpected gift I got in Columbus was the outcome of a long chat I had with Pascal, where he told me a few things about US culture and how that influences agile coaching, and explained to me why he had invited me in the first place… A topic for another post.

October and November have been comparably quiet… December started with the XPDays Benelux where Nick Oostvogels and I hosted a Coaching Dojo session. I met Ole Jepsen again, who ran a great session on Human Nature and Agile, and Portia Tung, who inspired me greatly with her Tribal Leadership session

The closing event of my professional year was the agile42 coach camp last week, which like the ALE2011 gathered some of the most important people in my life in one place of awesome collaboration, challenges and new horizons… Thank you Andrea, Marion, Mike, Ivana, Gaetano, Ralf, Franz, Nusco, TaZ, Hugo, Dave, Lasse, Sergey, Benjamin, Geir…

And, to end with where I started: Thank you, Christiane, my Love.

We’ll rock the world in 2012! I’ll do my best to astonish and surprise you. Merry Christmas and God bless ….

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