My Reflections on the First Ever Agile Coach Camp Denmark

48 hours ago we closed the first ever Agile Coach Camp in Denmark and my brain is still trying to compute all the inspiration I got during the three days I spend with 32 other Agile enthusiasts. At the same time, my body is trying to recover from too little sleep and maybe one or two beers too many during the evening discussions and games.

The camp was organized as a un-conference, where the participant collaborated on creating the most interesting schedule possible each morning. The only things that we as the organizer had fixed were the length of sessions and how many slots were available. If you want to read more about the un-conference format please read one of my previous post explaining the concept.

The camp officially opened at 16:00 on Thursday the 25th October 2012 at Dragoer Badehotel near Copenhagen. The first evening was spent getting to know the other participants. This was done partly through organized icebreakers and via informal networking and games in the evening. Especially the Werewolf game, where you have to lie and cheat to win, was a big hit with the “open-book/honesty/trust-preaching” agilist.

Unfortunately, I had to leave the camp two hours into it, to go present the Young Business Leader of the Year award at a conference at KPMG’s office in Copenhagen. When I returned to the camp four hours later, the atmosphere promised some great discussions the next day. People had really gotten to know each other and spirits were high.

Friday morning Mads Troels Hansen opened the marketplace and people immediately started pitching sessions ranging from teaching Agile by juggling balls over sharing your biggest coaching failures to enterprise agility. There were certainly plenty of interesting topics to discuss during the day and I started regretting I hadn’t gone to bed earlier the night before.

The first session I attended was on cheating Agile followed by a session on estimating – both great session and I was starting to feel alive again. Before the afternoon coffee break, I attended a session, facilitated by my goAgile colleague Per Beining, on how to make Agile transformations stick. We were only five participants, but we had some very interesting discussions, that will make it into a separate blog post later. After the coffee break and a short nap, it was my turn to host a session. The topic was technical debt and once again we were a small and dynamic group, which made for some intense discussions. I will definitely do a write-up of this session too.

After dinner, my colleague Kristian Haugaard had prepared an outdoor Zen audio/visual experience for us. In Denmark in October, that includes walking with a cold beer in your hand in the dark, windy and cold weather for ten minutes. Arrived at our destination we were challenged with sending candlelight powered Chinese lamps into the night sky while enjoying peaceful music and making a wish for the future. Unfortunately, the wind was a bit stronger than expected and most lamps flew more sideways than upwards. After a bit of inspection and adapting we finally manage to get two lamps off the ground saving us from complete failure. Dragoer is, by the way, the neighboring town to Copenhagen Airport and the wind blew the lamps in the direction of the landing field, so it was probably for the better, that we weren’t more successful in our launch attempts.

After some very interesting Agile discussions during the rest of the evening and too little sleep again, it was time to create a new session plan Saturday morning.

Among the sessions I participated in I want to highlight Per-Magnus Skoogh’s session on Metrification. To take Agile Transformation efforts to the next level, I believe we need to figure out some common metrics to help us better understand the baseline we are working from, what path to take and in retrospective what differences the transformation project made. Especially when we talk to senior management, who typically sponsor the transformation, tangible numbers can be a big help. Unfortunately a large part of the Agile community distrust management metrics (and management in general). I believe management is going to make decisions that influence us whether we like it or not and it should, therefore, be in our interest to help them make as an informed decision as possible. This topic definitely also deserves a blog post of its own.

The camp was closed by my co-organizers who revealed, that the next Coach Camp Denmark will kick-off on Thursday the 30th May 2013 and last until Saturday afternoon. The location will be the same and the number of participants will be limited to 50 people. It’s not yet decided when registration will open, but if the second edition will be half just as enlightening and fun as the first, then you might want to keep an eye on for updates.

Finally, if you participated in this first Agile Coach Camp, I would like to thank you for making it truly a mind-blowing experience. Also, I would love to hear your thoughts/takeaways/comment on the camp – please feel free to write a comment below.

Hope to see you in Dragoer in 2013.

Image credit:

One comment

  • Gitte Klitgaard Hansen

    October 30, 2012 at 16:50

    Attended the coachcamp and my head was tired when I arrived.. Had just been discussing agile for two days at a conference, and did not know what to expect of this..

    Decided to take an early night – which ended up by going to bed at 3 in the morning, because I fell into interesting discussions; especially with @evanderkoogh who I met for the first time – and definetly not the last 🙂

    Most of my unconference was spent in the saloon – our butterfly place; can’t help it – I am pretty and I seem to attract all kinds of interesting conversations; at least I find them interesting 🙂

    Went to some good sesssion – on storytelling, on making games, juggling, selforganization, but most were spontaneous – even more than the open space 🙂

    One thing that struck me, was that a lot of the session seemed to be about practices and management, and that for many agile seemed to be scrum.. Well maybe it is in Denmark? I feel out of touch with what is going on in Denmark and I am not sure where to get in touch..

    Really liked the Chinese wishing lamps – except that they didn’t match Danish weather – will try that some other day.. With more clothes or better weather 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *