XP Days Benelux registration open

XP Days Benelux, 23-24 November in Mechelen, Belgium

It’s time to start planning for the fall and winter conference season. As an organiser, the 7th XP Days Benelux is top of my list.

We’re finalising what looks like a great program with several sessions I want to go to in each time slot. With five tracks covering all things agile, there should be ample choice for you and our conference personas too.

We can’t show you the program yet, but you can register for the conference. Who would register for a conference without knowing what’s on the program? Lots of people it seems, as registrations are coming in steadily.

Now, that’s T-R-U-S-T, one of the essential Agile Values.

Bram goes to every XP Days

Bram goes to every XP Days Benelux

Innovation and constraints

How did we come up with the idea of registering before announcing the program? By accident.

  • Participant: “Can I get a conference ticket now? I’ll be abroad the next few weeks and I want to be sure to get in.”
  • Organisers: “But, don’t you want to see the program first, before deciding?”
  • Participant: “No, I’ve been to last year’s conference. I trust you’ll have a great program this year too.”

There was nothing holding us back from selling tickets before announcing the program. We only had this self-imposed constraint: “participants want to see the program before deciding to participate”. It turns out that this isn’t a real constraint after all. Part of innovation is letting go of those self-imposed constraints. Another part is dealing with real constraints.

How many of those self-imposed constraints do you have in your work or your life? How many times have you said “I didn’t know we could do that!” ? How often do you ask yourself “What would happen if we tried this?

That’s why I like organising XP Days Benelux: there are always people coming up with crazy ideas, trying something new and improving it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. We always try to learn. We always try to question. We don’t always succeed, but at least we try.

Try this at home

Note how often you hear this:

  • That’ll never work!
  • They won’t let us do that!
  • That will never happen here!
  • Yes, but…
  • There’s no budget for that!
  • That’s just silly!
  • or any other Idea Killer

Now, take one of these instances and instead of  shooting the idea down, start looking at the hidden self-imposed constraints:

  • It’ll never work? In what circumstances would it work?
  • They won’t let us do that? Why? Have we asked?
  • That will never happen here! Where would it work? What would it take to transform here into a place where it works?
  • Yes, but…? Yes, and…!
  • There’s no budget for that! What small part of this could we do for free? How much value could we create? Could we use that value to fund the next small step?
  • That’s just silly! Less silly than what we do today 🙂

It just takes a bit of courage. Try something, one small step. Collaborate with people who can help you. Get regular feedback to improve. Instead of “doing agile” (or worse, trying to get others to “do agile”), be agile.

You are an innovator. You are creative. It’s as simple as that.

Come to XP Days Benelux to see what crazy stuff we’ve cooked up this year. If some people get their way, it might involve dancing, martial arts, art and philantropy. Now, that’s just plain silly! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Persona created with Janina Köppel’s South Park Studio.