Review 12.5 years AGILE in the Netherlands

Xebia published an interactive e-magazine Agile NXT12.5 years AGILE in the Netherlands – more than a decade of agile captured in compelling stories and next steps for the future’. In total seven interviews and five articles.

  • The first interview and 5-minute video is with Jeff Sutherland talking about the future of agile organizations, the importance of leadership and the use and impact of Scrum and Scrum at Scale (“It’s all common sense with an uncommon level of discipline” – Jeff Sutherland).
  • The article Structuring agile; paradox or silver lining by Thijs Wesselink talks about his balancing act between providing autonomy and creating structures when transforming organizations.
  • An interview with Bert Voorbraak (Raad voor Rechtsbijstand) about leading change within large enterprises, in this case the transformation within ASR where he opted for a holistic, integrated and step by step approach based on people, processes and leadership.
  • In the article Creating sustainable growth by investing in the workforce of the future by Riët Broekhuizen and Marianne Pot shows that that approach is much cheaper, helps your business to perform better but will also attract the talent you need tomorrow. Building communities of practice, using serious gaming and blended in-company learning journeys will encourage your workforce to learn.
  • The interview with Ron Kolkman, Director Joint IT Command Ministry of Defense, emphasizes on his pioneering experience with agile transformation leadership at the Dutch Kadaster (land registry) where the ‘us and them thinking’ disappeared and intent and purpose became key.
  • Rik de Groot and Daria Nozhkina explore the future by explaining the three steps that provide clarity to leaders in an organization, reduce the risk and increase the succes rate: 1) Digital & agile assessments, 2) strategic advice & design and 3) strategic exploration & preparation. 
  • The interview with Maarten van Beek, HR Director ING, is about trying and pioneering, fintech and bigtech as role models. It all started with the agile transformation in 2015 at ING Bank in the Netherlands where they moved away from functions and function houses, and match craftsmanship with the organizational strategy. He doesn’t believe in agile leadership exists. It’s all about situational leadership and a greater focus on results. It includes a link to the customer story Agile transformation at ING.
  • Keeping a grip on large international projects through transparency is the title of a next interview with Stan Bentvelsen, Pieter van Braam van Vloten from Nikhef and Theo Gerrits from Xebia discussing the agile transition within Nikhef by using agile principles instead of sticking to a standard methodology or framework. It includes a link to the customer story Agile culture change at Nikhef leads to more transparency and efficiency.
  • The interview with Martine Zeegers, HR director Unilever Benelux and Riët Broekhuizen, Xebia, describes the agile transition at Unilever Benelux as pragmatic, not too rigid, and a lot of experiments. It is the mindset that counts and not the method. Some teams only work with the mindset and some agile tools and other teams went all the way to the top. It includes links to the article People as the beating heart of change and the Unilever customer story.
  • Michael Maurer and Daniël Burm discusses in their article the data native organization (data quality, means to monetize, organizational capability, technology platform and governance to compliance are all in place) and the first iteration of the Xebia Data Native Organization Framework including a value circle and target operating model to become a data driven company. It includes a link to the article ‘Big data, but little value? How to embed data science in your organization?’
  • The interview and two-minute video with Charl Vermeer, IT Manager Dutch Kadaster, is the second interview regarding the agile transformation at Kadaster. In this interview the focus is on integrating IT, agile, cloud and data and the use of so-called culture guards.
  • In the last article Marianne Pot and Rik de Groot explain serious gaming and the impact of serious games during transformations. There are three types of serious games: problem based, trial and error and scenario-based games. It includes a link to the paper ‘Serious gaming’ from the same authors.

Conclusion. Definitely worth reading. Inspiration, insights, lessons from real life agile transformations and state of the art developments like the Date Native Organization Framework or serious gaming.

To read the e-magazine go to

One response to “Review 12.5 years AGILE in the Netherlands

  1. Pingback: Overview of my year 2021 book reviews | Henny Portman's Blog

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