Lion van Koppenhagen


About this site
This blog — sometimes known as my "Braindump" — is my platform for experimentation and community interaction. It is a way of offloading thoughts.

Agile and scrum are crystallisations of a mindset and a way of working. You can have that mindset and work a certain way before it is given a new shiny moniker.

Coming from Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences in the same year as Arie van Bennekum, co-author of the Agile Manifesto, his role in the Manifesto is no surprise to me. We were educated to focus on delivering solutions with the freedom to use whatever platform we found appropriate in order to provide working prototypes. The mantra was to write self-documenting coding to allow for as little documentation as possible. We learned to embrace change (in technical possibilities and in stakeholder wishes) as a natural state.
It is not that difficult to find the 4 Agile values there and to derive the Agile principles.

Very early on we learned to design small functional bits of software with a teacher that hammered the following quote in our heads:

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”

We learned to put all the stuff that we wanted to design and develop in a Javelin sheet (a very old spreadsheet solution), discuss the amount of work it would be with the team and then prioritise and distribute the work. Every day we would align on progress and every week we would evaluate if what was in the pipeline was still valid. Looks rather a lot like Scrum/Kanban don’t you think?

My biggest disappointment came when I joined the SVB and was pushed back into SDM and other painful ways of the old. That’s when I decided to do a KeyNote at a Clipper developer congress about customer oriented software development and shortly thereafter I was hired by the founders of Centric, Cock Mudde and Albert Oegema to start working that way at the Volvo Truck Corporation.
From then on I have been able to take those practices and work with an Agile mindset in a Scrum manner.

And so to conclude, this is how you can be Agile and work in a Scrum way for 25+ years.