Sept. 22, 2016

3 major trends at Agile Open Holland 2016

We discuss the three major trends we observed during the Agile Open Holland conference of 2016: agile in non-IT environments, large full-organisati...

People lining up for unconference slots at Agile Open Holland 2016agile42 Nederland visited the Agile Open Holland conference again in 2016. This long running conference is held in the centre of the Netherlands, and many agile practitioners from Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands find their way every year. This year saw another great turn up with a great mix of experienced agile coaches, trainers, agile practitioners and people new or even unfamiliar with agile.

During this conference, these are 3 major trends we observed:

  • Agile in non-IT environments
  • Large, full-organisation agile transitions
  • The rise of agile coaching

Agile in non-IT environments

Quite some attendees of the conference came looking for answers on how to apply agile in the domains neighbouring to IT, such as embedded development, Human Resources and Marketing. Now that agile processes such as Kanban and Scrum are well established in IT, other departments are taking notice. Some of the people were looking for adapter patterns to align their work with IT, while other were looking to adopt agile practices themselves. 

Large, full-organisation agile transitions

Mostly in conversations with other agile coaches it became clear that many of them are involved with full-organisation agile transitions. A couple of things stood out with these transitions:

  • all of the organisations discussed were in traditional industries such as finance, energy and manufacturing
  • initiated by top-level management to deal with long-standing organisational issues
  • most were rolled out big-bang, across the entire organisation
  • most were inspired by the Spotify case study, some by SAFe and oddly none by the LeSS framework

What stands out is that many of these organisations seem to copy the tools, not the principles. It will be interesting to see how they fare on their journey towards agile. Even though there is no one-size-fits-all solution, it is our experience that organisations who take deliberate, incremental steps in adopting agile might seem to start slower but get their faster.

The rise of agile coaching

A lot of Scrum Masters were looking to improve their agile coaching skills. The reason for this seems related to the previous trends: more departments of organisations are looking for assistance in adopting agile, and the maturity of Scrum in many IT departments sees Scrum Masters evolve from trainers/mentors to coaches. If are a ScrumMaster or leader and want to take your coaching skills to the next level, we offer an Advanced Team Coaching Course as part of our Coach the Coach program and Team Coaching Framework.

A darker side of this trend is that the term 'agile coach' in some cases simply replaced the term 'Scrum Master'. This seems to be side effect of organisations that copy the Spotify model instead of understanding it, then making their own journey towards agile.

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Garbrand van der Molen

Garbrand van der Molen is an Agile Trainer, Practitioner, and Coach based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In this role, he helps guide companies and teams in their pragmatic adoption and organizational shift towards Scrum and other Agile methodologies and practices. Prior to coaching, he was CTO at Informaat CXP.
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Image of garbrand

Garbrand van der Molen

Garbrand van der Molen is an Agile Trainer, Practitioner, and Coach based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In this role, he helps guide companies and teams in their pragmatic adoption and organizational shift towards Scrum and other Agile methodologies and practices. Prior to coaching, he was CTO at Informaat CXP.

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