I propose we replace Best Practise by great practise

I moved this post to my new blog




Happy New Year 2009 Video Card


The Smartest way to resolve a conflict: the Listen protocol (a better Indian talking stick)

I have moved this post to my new blog



XP Game Players LinkedIn group

Doing planning & estimation is never easy. When I started doing agile, doing agile planning & estimation looked even harder.
That was until I played the XPGame.
Vera Peeters & Pascal Van Cauwenberghe created the XP game years ago (the first use of the game I know was in 2001, but I know it was already played before…)

For me the game is the best way to learn about agile planning and estimation. The XP Game was played all around the world

There is a chapter about the XP game in the purple XP book. (Extreme Programming perspectives)

The XP Game is also part of PairCoaching.net’s Agile kick start course, where I play this together with Vera.
I like it so much, that today it is part of my standard coaching package.

You can download the xp game for free. I would advise to have one coach per team, and that coach should have played the game before.

Because I know a lot of people have played the game on their own, it is kind of hard to see the impact of the XPGame on the agile community.

That is why I created a XPGame player LinkedIn Group.

If you have played the game feel free to add yourself to the group using this link:


I am Yves Hanoulle, your virtual Project Coach and you can reach me @ Yves at my agile training company .net


Win een huiskamer concert van THOU

Thou heeft het 4de gedeelte van hun ‘This is not a record’ serie op ITunes gezet. Hoewel ze alle vier als ep werden gereleased kan je ze nu ook samen als CD kopen. Om dit te vieren geven ze een exclusief living concert weg via hun MySpace.

Als u Thou nog niet kent, kan u hier luisteren naar Thou’s backcatalog.

XP Days France 2008 – Paris, je t’aime…

On Monday 05 may & Tuesday 06 may my father and I were in Paris. Instead of visiting this beautifully city we enjoyed the people from the French Agile community.

Although the organization before was rather chaotic, XPDay.FR 2008 itself was splendid.

The first thing I noticed when we arrived was the Job Board. Hey that’s new. I haven’t seen that at another unconference.

We should do that at all Barcamps etc….

Or maybe the fact that I am available as project coach makes me more sensible for things like this.

As announced, we did two sessions.
I also followed Pascal, Bernard and Portia’s excellent 9 boxes session. I have never been to a bad session with Pascal. And looking at the number of participants I think nobody ever has. I won’t describe the session as Dave has already done a perfect job with his post.

They did it in a fully packed room. And it worked. Not only is this a great session,  it is also designed to scale. Thanks Pascal, it made us think about scaling our sessions. If we ever redo the leadership game, we now know how to scale it.

Just before that session we did our Communication Game in the same room. We designed the game for 22 people max. As Laurent told me the day before we had 43 people interested in the session, we looked for a solution. Which we found in Bernard Notarianni. So we could scale to 33 people. (11 per trainer.) That was a bad decision. 1 evening  preparation by skype for a new trainer is a very bad idea.

Our workshops are always written out completely. So for someone familiar with the way we are working picking up is pretty easy, at least that is what we though. We still have to do our retrospective but while I was delivering my part, I realized, we set up Bernard with an almost impossible task. Both my father and my students were happy. I did not have feedback from Bernard’s students but I know he was not happy himself. Sorry Bernard; we have learned from it.

We still had more people interested in the session. I promised that we would redo the session an evening at OCTO: et voila: here is the announcement of our communication game at Paris the 22 may. Before the session we will also talk about how to use The Core Protocols.

We did the The leadership game for the third year in a row. We knew people were still interested. From the participant survey we heard 16 people would join the game; So we wanted to close the room at 20. So from nr 21 we told the next people coming in they would only be able to observer as 20 is the maximum to have a good feedback round (the most important part of the game).

Some people left the room when I told them. We ended up with 26 people. After the 2nd second game, my father and I decide we would still let everyone participate, and would have 9 observers instead of 4. (We had done it before with 24, 26 would be almost the same.)

When we held the general feedback round we saw to our surprise that we had 32 people in the room. So another 6 people sneaked in. (Probably after/during the break)  So we kept the feedback round much tighter as usual. It felt a little bit awkward, but the applause at the end made us realized we delivered another great session.

This brings the total number of people that followed this workshop in Paris to 76. Bernard has asked me to redo this session also once at OCTO. (As preparation for Agile 2008 in Toronto.) In the next weeks I will make the leadership game available as download. (Just like the XP Game)

On top of that Els & me are going to deliver another version for Essap in Varesse (Italy), so it is really spreading.

After this session I had the feeling that Paris loves us to.

Unfortunately we had to run as I had to pick up my kids from school and I had a psychology exam the next day.

Next to our session both my father and I had again great conversations. A big kudos to the organization team. We understand your pain with our sessions. We will design our new sessions to scale. (And have already realized how we can do that with the leadership game.)

Update: we already have another session in mind for next year, and it will scale too.

I have uploaded my pictures of XPDAY.FR 2008 to Flickr

If you are a linkedin member feel free to join The XPDay group http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/36977/648E9F253AC7

If you were in my session feel free to connect with me on Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/yveshanoulle

I am Yves Hanoulle, your virtual Project Coach and you can reach me @ Yves at my agile training company .net

Tips for/from FP: Famous Partners

This weekend at the end of my GTO weekend, the partners were invited for a small session.

During the first 2 years of the gestalt therapy training, we focus mainly on personal growth. (And trainers show us how to work the gestalt way.)
This means that these 16 people that follow the training talk alot about their personal life, our orginal family (gezin van herkomst) and also current relations.

For the partners this personal work feels sometimes like an intrusion in their personal life. Combine this with all the time this training takes (1 weekend every month, writing the reports about the weekends, one housework evening, reading of several books, 1 exam psychology, several theroretical days a year) and this makes it very hard for partners.

So when this saturday the partners where asked to sit down together and talk for 20 minutes about the impact the training had on their families.

One thing that struck me was:

“When I came in, I had a strange feeling.  I did not know anyone, but I felt that all these people knew me. Like I am a Famous Partner(FP/BP Bekende Partner). Like I am a little article they have read.”

Other feedback our partners gave in the big (30 people) group:

  • They see the difference in us.(Wahoo!)
  • Sometimes the weekend can become very emotional. When we come home it is not always easy for our partners. One time we want to talk about it and our partner wants to sleep (The weekends end Saturday 22 hour, it can be 1 horu later before we are home.) the next time we feel to confussed to talk about it. This can also feels strange to our partners.
  • The investment is high
    • The time
    • The money

I was part of the group talking about the impact the training had on our life and our partners.

Things we came up with :

  • the time we are away from our family. Oh yeah we know this
  • the money can not be used to do fun stuff with our family
  • the time constraints: because these weekends are planned so long in advance, we sometimes miss the opportunity to do fun stuff with our friends and family
  • We now see things easier and we can not not see something. We don’t know yet what to do with that new knowledge. When we want to change our behavior (our =both me and my partner) then we get the remark: “don’t be my therapist.”
  • The difficulty about privacy.We have promissed the group to keep everything what is said inside. (Which is the only way to create a safe environment.) This sometimes internal conflicts when we want to talk about it at home.

(Reaction of the trainer: you are not allowed to talk about what someone else did in the weekend, but you can talk about what it did to you. “When a certain person talked about her father, it made me think about my father and my relation I had with my father and…”)

This small session really was a good idea. It helped our relation and the tension there was about my training. My partner know nows better what she can expect from me. We also talked a lot about it after words. Some of the tips really helped me to know what to share and when.

I kept the best tips for last:

When you come home from a training: the partner first shared his/her day (with the kids), and only then the trainee tells about his/her weekend.That feels very familiar to me. It is talking stick for people that go to a training.

I am Yves Hanoulle, your virtual Project Coach and you can reach me @ Yves at my agile training company .net