Agile @ Ardatis

An afternoon off


Yesterday afternoon I went to a seminar on “Agile Development in the large”, organised by Ardatis. Johan Lybaert (Program Manager) and Jan Van Reusel (Development Manager) of Ardatis presented how their company has been using Agile Software Development techniques. They use a combination of XP and Scrum, modified to their own circumstances. Three developers gave a hands-on demonstration of extremely fast test driven development, not only of business objects, but also of their user interface.

Ardatis was assisted in the transition to Agile by Jutta Eckstein. Jutta co-presented the event, often in dialogue with Jan. As the team consists of 60 people, Jutta’s experience in large agile projects came in handy.


The presentation was very clear, with plenty of metaphors, funny bits and practical advice. I particularly liked the “Rules of the Game” sections. There were only a few, simple rules but these lead to complex behaviour. One of the key requirements for successful agile development they pointed out, is a high level of discipline in following these rules.

The presentation was interspersed with short video fragments. At the end, Jan seemed reluctant to show the last fragment. I’m glad he did. In this short video we saw the teammembers smile and laugh. They were having fun at work.

Enthusiastic about a methodology

Have you ever heard people talk enthusiastically about a methodology? I have, yesterday.

It’s happened to me a few times before. Customers who got more than they expected, in record time. CEO’s who quickly saw the results of their IT spending. IT managers who felt they really managed their projects. Sceptical users who, after using the system, asked to use the system sooner than planned; and “when can we have the next version?”.

I’ve never seen anybody get excited about waterfall, RUP or any other method. This only happens with agile software development. With non-agile methods, people were sometimes pleased about the result, but never about the way we got there.

It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing!

There’s a bit of discussion about the “watering down” of agile. Everyone is using “agile”. Agile is good. Agile is the new apple pie.

Isn’t there a danger that people will get confused? How can we make the difference clear between “real agile” and the pale copies?

It’s simple: look for fun, enthusiasm, happy people. You can’t fake that.

Agile Development doesn’t need any marketing budgets. Just make your customers, managers and teams happy and enthusiastic. And let them talk.

Who have you made enthusiastic today?

Tags: agile

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