Valuable experience at an interactive (Un-)conference

interactive (Un-)conference

Valuable experience at an interactive (Un-)conference

At the beginning of September, 130 agile professionals met up at XP Days Benelux. On location in Luxembourg, for two days they focused on sharing practical knowledge, real-world experience, and the active participation of everyone. Nicolas De Greef, agile consultant at Equalminds, attended the conference. Discover his valuable experience at this interactive (Un-)conference.

“As a first timer, I won a free ticket,” laughs Nicolas. “It was all a bit last minute, but it seemed like a great opportunity to me.” Nicolas changed his work schedule and went to Luxembourg for the two-day event. “I didn’t know what to expect,” he says. “But I immediately met two people I know: both worked on a project together with me.”


XP Days Benelux profiles itself as a conference created for and by the agile community in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. It’s anything but a classic conference. “There were five parallel tracks running over the two days,” explains Nicolas, “each with concrete workshops.” He attended sessions on how to give a debriefing, how to organize a workshop, and how to evaluate staff and projects. “It was all very interactive, in a very creative way.”

The organizers of XP Days also created a lot of room for interaction. “It’s very exciting to get to know new people and to hear about what they’re doing.” The conference continued this approach in its evening program. “That was fun,” says Nicolas. “The evening activities weren’t fixed at all in advance. Instead, the organizers gathered ideas from the participants and so the program — in a very agile way — took shape step by step throughout the day.”

WILDER field of view

Looking back on XP Days, Nicolas is especially enthusiastic about the broad content of the conference. “I was introduced to new insights, new technologies,” he says. “In the agile world, there is an enormous variety of tools and methodologies available. The conference gave a good overview of the current state of play in that area. This gave me much more insight than sitting in a classroom would have done. For me, XP Days really broadened my vision of agile.”

During the event, Nicolas took part in several practical exercises. “One of the assignments was to reduce a backlog that would require a budget of €2 million to a backlog of €5 million. How do you handle that? How do you get started? I thought that was a fascinating exercise.” This example shows how XP Days focus less on classic case studies and more on interactive sessions and learning from each other. “After the exercise, there was an extensive evaluation. I really learned a lot from that.”

To learn from each other

It’s typical of Equalminds to offer its staff the opportunity to attend innovative conferences such as XP Days. In October, Equalminds will for example attend Agile tours in Brussels.  “I’m glad that there’s room for that,” says Nicolas. “I found it a very valuable experience: two days immersed in an environment where everyone speaks the same agile language and you learn a lot from each other in an informal way. That’s exactly what Equalminds stands for.”

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