Why the project metaphor doesn’t fit software development

In 2009 I hired a building contractor to build a house. Together with an architect and the contractor I worked out the features. We wanted a basement, we carefully picked the materials, the location of the windows, the placement of the rooms, the bathroom, the attic and everything the contractor needed to come up with a price and a delivery […]

Failing fast

There is an intriguing question that pops up frequently in organizations developing software in projects: when is a project successful? For sure, one of the most (mis)used resources on the subject is the Standish Group. In their frequently renewed CHAOS Report they define a project successful if it delivers on time, on budget, and with all planned features. For a […]

Agile anti-patterns at CodeMotion Madrid

Many organizations turn towards agile to escape failing traditional software development. Due to this increase in popularity, many newcomers enter the field. Without the necessary real-life experience but proudly waving certificates from two days of training. During a challenging talk I did at the CodeMotion conference in Madrid, in October 2013, I tried to show what happens to projects that […]

Offshore Agile Software Development: Does It Work?

Due to the ever-rising demand for seasoned software developers in the nineties, offshore software development became a compelling alternative to in-house development for many organizations. Despite the cultural, language and time differences and the geographical distance involved, more and more projects were executed with offshore development and testing, benefiting from lower rates of cost and the high availability of people, […]

What could the Dutch football learn from agile?

After a series of very disappointing games the Dutch national football team was eliminated during the preliminary rounds of the European Championships. Comments weren’t mild. The most heard comments largely focused on the lack of team spirit and mental fitness. Not uncommon to Dutch national football teams. Earlier this week an interesting broadcast of the Dutch sports program Studio Sport […]

Evolving agile

Without any doubt agile is the biggest evolution in software development approaches since the introduction of waterfall back in the early seventies. And yes. Agile is an evolution rather than a revolution. The best practices and techniques in agile didn’t just pop-up. Rather they emerged from years of hard-working, real-life experience in succeeding and failing in projects. So working in […]

Flower-Power Agile Fluffiness

To all the dear people in the agile community and to the faint-hearted: this will not be an easy blog post. There was a time when being a software developer was a decent craft, requiring decent craftsmanship and yes also a lot of creativity, some communication, some collaboration. Still it was a decent craft. The waterfall-ish methodologies we used weren’t […]

Scrumdamentalists and crusaders

After having promoted agile and iterative approaches to software development projects for over a decade, I finally find that, like Bob Dylan says, the times they are a-changing. And for the better. Many small and large organizations and enterprises are now turning towards agile approaches, often to compensate for years and years of failing projects. You might suggest that all’s […]

Spring 2010 speaking engagements

Again doing a lot of talks this spring on a wide range of subjects, from new technology, via enterprise agile to model driven development, but also about smart use cases, domain driven design, UML, and software architectures, design patterns, frameworks and .NET. This season’s highlights? Not a difficult choice: doing talks both at Microsoft DevDays and TechEd North America is […]

Amsterdam, The Netherlands. October 26, 2009. Software development methodologies and techniques through the years (Vrije Universiteit)

Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. Earlier this year I was invited by prof. Arno Oosterhaven to do a series of lectures on software development at the post-doctoral program IT Auditor at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. The audience of IT Auditors is very mixed, ranging from accountants to actual software developers, which makes it difficult to address all interests of the students. […]

Diegem, Belgium. December 10, 2009. Agile development in everyday practice (IT Works)

IT Works, Hotel Pullman Brussels Airport, Diegem, Belgium (www.itworks.be) Although agile software development approaches, principles and techniques are slowly becoming more mainstream, it is still necessary to promote them for the larger part of the IT community and organizations. Together with my Belgian guest speaker Stefaan van Royen (now of BoonDoggle), who can talk very lively on implementing Scrum and […]

Hilversum, The Netherlands. October 15, 2009. Agile software development in everyday practice (Array Seminars)

Array Seminars, Hotel Amrath Lapershoek, Hilversum (www.arrayseminars.nl) Although agile software development approaches, principles and techniques are slowly becoming more mainstream, it is still necessary to promote them for the larger part of the IT community and organizations. Together with my Belgian guest speaker Stefaan van Royen (now of BoonDoggle), who can talk very lively on implementing Scrum and Smart, I’ve […]

Some of my talks in 2008

Smart use cases. Past present and future Keynote at Smart Use Case Conference, Capgemini Conference Center, Utrecht, Netherlands, May 28, 2008 Capgemini has organized an inspiring conference on the subjects of smart use cases. This event took place at Capgemini’s conference center in Utrecht. The large number of delegates witnessed talks on smart use cases, smart estimation, smart use cases […]

Agile and Scrum anti-patterns. Wildcard proposal DevDays 2009

After a dozen years of promoting and evangelizing agile software development in the current years of economic unpredictability a breakthrough in applying agile processes and techniques is emerging. But with the rising popularity of Scrum, MSF Agile, OpenUP, Smart, XP, Lean, FDD and the likes, it’s not only success stories any more. Similar to failing traditional waterfall projects there patterns […]

Hoe we herdefinieren herdefinieren [in Dutch]

De voorpagina van de Computable van 20 maart is opgesierd met een prachtige foto van een uit een witte limousine stappend bruidje in een even witte bruidsjurk en prachtige borsten. Nieuwsgierig geworden naar het bijbehorende artikel, kom ik al snel tot de teleurstellende conclusie dat dit weer eens gaat over het mislukken van de gemeentelijke basisadministratie, dat ondertussen toch wel […]

So much to write, so little time

It’s too bad there’s only 24 hours in a day. There are so many ideas in my head that I still have to write down, that I have to make a (short) list now to keep my head from exploding. So here it is: White paper on how to do agile SAP projects using smart use cases. Article on applying […]

Javapolis (Antwerp, Belgium. November 2007)

This is the video from Parlays.com that presents the talk I gave at the last JavaPolis conference in Antwerp, Belgium. During the talk I ask myself the question how everybody in their own role can attribute to making our project fail, as it is far too complicated to make your projects succeed. The talk presents popular anti-patterns I’ve gathered over […]

Why Newton was agile and the Titanic was not

Let’s be perfectly clear about one thing: 2009 will not only be known as the year the financial crisis hits in hard, it will also be known as the year everything turned agile. Please allow me to explain. The times when banks, insurance companies, car industries and the likes could start up multi-million software development projects of titanic ambition, with […]

Agree or disagree, if a team/firm can’t work well under a waterfall or v-model life cycle they won’t be able to work in agile?

On LinkedIn I stumbled over this interesting question (posed by Tony Bruce). Well, I clearly and loudly have to disagree. Having guided several organizations from waterfall to agile, but also from chaos to agile I would definitively say that it is easier to transform a company without rigid methodology to agile, than to convert a waterfall styled company to agile. […]


Vanmorgen bracht ik met mijn jongste zoontje Boet – net drie – een bezoek aan de dichtstbijzijnde kinderboerderij. Zijn eerste bezoek aan een kinderboerderij. Een openbaring. Toen ik hem na afloop, vlak voor zijn middagdutje vroeg of hij het leuk had gevonden in de kinderboerderij, antwoordde hij heel gedecideerd: “Ik vond het niet leuk in de kinderboerderij. Er waren geen […]