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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ALE Network in active discussion in the Agile Finland mailing list



Last Friday looked to be normal day. Too much work, too little time. But then it got better.After I sent an email to the Agile Finland mailing list announcing the Helsinki event to discuss the ALE Network vision, a lot of replies came in. It was a very active discussion.

Below is my (necessarily) short summary of what I saw and learned from that discussion.

Many issues were discussed in that email exchange from Motivations to how it can help energize the Agile Finland community. Here's a summary of the topics discussed as well as my view on how ALE network can help us in the European context:

What are some of the motivations for ALE?


As is to be expected in any network or community of people, there are wildly varying motivations. As we start to discuss the importance/significance of ALE for each of the local communities as well as for the individuals many view points surface.

I'd like to express my motivations: I see that we have many thriving Agile communities in Europe. I've been in direct contact with some of the nearby communities such as Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Sweden as well as Spain and Portugal. I see the huge amount of energy and willingness to explore the Agile values and principles in real Software work.

I also see many people that are extremely eager to learn and have a lot to share. These same people, for many reasons, are not traveling around Europe and learning from others outside their local communities. They participate mainly in the local events, get together in User Groups or local Agile community meetings (like we have the Agile Dinners in some Finnish cities).

These are people that want to be in contact with people outside their local communities but cannot do so for a variety of reasons. ALE can help bring these communities together, help people bridge the border gaps and get in touch with other practitioners to share and learn about their different experiences.

In Agile Finland we have had the luck of having people who have successfully helped our community bridge this gap, specifically through organizing the Scan-Agile conference. Together as a Europe-wide network we can do the same for the other local communities. How? Here imagination is the only limit :)

What is ALE's Vision?


Right now there are many different Visions for what ALE should/could/must be. In Helsinki we will talk about these different views on April 20th. Check the info here and remember: RSVP is mandatory!

While I do believe that the main focus of ALE should be to help the local communities thrive, that can be done in many ways and with different Visions.
I explicitly choose to listen to how our community's Vision develops. My goal is to help us collect that as a common Vision, one that we all share to some extent. Hence why I've decided not to write about my Vision at this point. I will of course talk about it at the event on April 20th along with all of those that can make it.

What is the link between Agile Finland and ALE Network?


The links between these networks are people. The people that participate in both networks are the effective links between these two networks.

In my view Agile Finland (AF) has a place as a stand alone organization, it is not dependent on ALE Network, but the people in AF can actively contribute to the ALE Network in many ways, and some of us are already active in the European scene.

As far as I am concerned ALE is an independent entity from Agile Finland, but benefits from the effort and contribution of the Agile Finland members that participate in both networks.

Purpose of the Open Space session on April 20th


On April 20th, our goal is to stimulate a face-to-face discussion about the possible contribution we can make as a community to the ALE Network, as well as what we think ALE Network should focus on.
What I would expect to see after the April 20th session is a collection of ideas of what we want ALE to be as well as what we don't want to contribute to. These ideas will then be discussed by a group of people from all over Europe in Madrid during XP 2011, where the ALE Network Vision will be iterated.

Interlude


These were only some of the many topics we discussed in the Agile Finland mailing list. The discussion was long and active. You can check the full archive here.

No doubt we will talk more about ALE network and the role of Agile Finland community, that dialogue is needed. We are a community after all: "one for all and all for one"!

Photo: Achraf AMINE @ flickr

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Friday, April 08, 2011

What would a European Agile comunity look like? #ALEnetwork



Many of us have been involved in many different communities. Agile Finland for a start. But also other communities: our local kindergarten or school parent's group, the school or kindergarten itself; the local neighbors; the apartment building executive board ("hallitus" in Finnish), etc.

In fact, if we look back in history all of our history has advanced due to the association of different people, sometimes with similar goals, but much more often with different and sometimes only slightly related goals. The greatest example of all is our very own society which exists and evolves because of the myriad of small communities that interact with each other to achieve a quasi-infinite number of goals.

Why do we need an European Agile community then? Aren't we already in so many different communities? Why one more?

There are many answers to these questions, but perhaps one that is interesting because it is a true story is the story of Peter the Great (or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov for his friends). Peter went around Europe as a young man collecting knowledge, although his initial intentions were to gather support for war (who didn't, in those times?) he finally ended up touring Europe to learn. He worked in Shipyards, visited Greenwich, learned how to build cities by visiting Manchester (no kidding!). Peter's journey was one of learning by sharing. He learned by interacting with others, collecting knowledge from many sources and ultimately creating his own view of the world which he implemented back home. Some of it was cargo-cult, but some of it led to lasting changes that we can still see today.

The core of Peter's story, however, is that he understood that the world was larger than his own Empire, he understood that he had a lot to learn and took a step (literally) towards the communities that were surrounding him. Learned from them and became a better person for it.

How about you? Do you want to become a better Agilist? Join us in the ALE network Vision Helsinki event where we will explore the questions above and more! Check out the details and register here. NOTE: registration is mandatory and seats are limited.

Photo credit: ibnhusin @ flickr

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