Happy Birthday, ALE!

On 15 February 2011 I published the blog post New Group – Agile Lean Europe (ALE), and I launched the ALE network LinkedIn group. My idea at the time was to promote more collaboration in Europe:

Maybe we should have a European Network for Agile and Lean thinkers. Not as a replacement for anything. But as the ties that keep people in the Agile and Lean territories working together. Despite our many differences.

A few days later, at the Play4Agile conference in Germany, I discussed the idea with Olaf Lewitz, Michael Sahota, Ken Power, and various others. We tweaked and tuned the idea some more, and then we got started tapping into our personal networks across Europe, and actively reaching out to many people we didn’t know that well (yet).

The results were beyond my wildest dreams.

The ALE network group now has 1700 members, making it one of the bigger Agile/Lean groups on LinkedIn.

The ALE 2011 unconference in Berlin was organized by dozens of volunteers from all over Europe, and attracted more than 200 participants from 34 different countries.

The ALE 2012 unconference is scheduled end of August in Barcelona, and I’m sure it’s going to be at least as good as the first one. Not in the least because I will be there. 😉 And you too, I assume!

The ALE Bathtub conferences are now in their 5th iteration, drawing hundreds of listeners from all over the world. The next one is scheduled on 12 March, with contributions from Christopher Avery, Antti Kirjavainen, Stephen Perry, and yours truly.

And then there are various other projects going on, such as the ALE Book, the xALEc hangout and ALE @ University. Though it is hard for me to keep track of the status of all these projects. (But I don’t have to, because the network is self-organizing.)

The positive energy in Europe, and the eagerness of Agile & Lean practitioners to collaborate across borders, makes me feel proud to call myself a European. (After being Dutch, of course.)

Thanks to all who contributed in ALE’s first year. Let’s make the second year even more fun and fruitful!

p.s. I’m actually one day early. I’m traveling to China today, so I might not be able to publish this tomorrow. But being 1 day too early might give you a chance to buy yourself a birthday cake.

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