Niels Verdonk
Agile Coach & Trainer at agile42.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Biography

I started as a software engineer and as you can imagine I have worked in many waterfall projects. Around 2001 I first heard about eXtreme Programming (XP) and read the book from Kent Beck, eXtreme Programming explained. I began to promote it inside the consulting organization I worked for and we even used it for an internal project and small client engagements. As a technical consultant and architect, I made sure there was a strong focus on quality of code and that we used automated testing practices, even when the projects were not all using XP.

After working in predominantly project oriented organizations, in 2006 I became the Development Manager of a small startup, eBuddy, to be part of real software product development. I was made aware of the Scrum framework by a colleague and after reading some articles about it, this seemed to fit perfectly. We saw the potential, but also realized we needed professional help. In 2007 we hired Andrea Tomasini from agile42 to train and coach our two Scrum teams, but also helped us implement Scrum on an organizational level.

We quickly realized that scaling teams introduced a lot of dependencies between teams, which slowed down our delivery speed. Based on the concepts I read in the book from Graig Larman and Bas Vodde – Scaling Lean and Agile Development, we started to experiment with Feature teams. Two years later we had 55 developers working in 9 teams, 43 in Amsterdam and 12 in Minsk. Most teams were using Scrum, some were using Kanban.

In 2013 I founded a Dutch subsidiary of agile42. They have offices in various locations in Europe and North-America and have coaches and trainers specialized in various disciplines, from Scrum to Kanban, Lean Start-up to Enterprise transformation and from Technical practices to Systemic coaching.

I use our in-house developed tools such as our Team Coaching Framework. My trainings are very interactive and are based on the 4C's, Accelerated Learning and Training from the Back of the Room. We apply the theory directly in team exercises and use agile games like our Kanban Pizza Game and Lego City Scrum Game. I don't use presentation slides, only flip-overs and hands-on activities and assignments. Because I combine training with coaching, I have extensive experience applying the agile practices at my clients. So next to the theory, I can share real life examples of how agile practices can be applied.

Work Experience

agile42, Agile Coach
2013-05-01 - Present, Alphen aan den Rijn, , Netherlands

The company agile42, founded in Berlin, specialises in consultancy and coaching related to agile processes such as Scrum and Kanban. Using an in-house developed ‘Agile Framework for Managers’, we are also able to familiarise those at managerial level in companies with agile processes. The agile42 team enjoys a global presence, operating in addition to the German-language area in countries such as the USA, Russia, Italy and Norway; it advises clients on the transition from conventional methods such as waterfall or V-Model XT to agile approaches. The coaching and training by qualified experts is practically-focussed and addresses the challenges facing the client in a targeted manner. The unique mix of involving all those concerned with the project, the detailed provision of knowledge and individual coaching during day-to-day working guarantees a successful switch to agile methods. 

Sordes, Agile Coach / Scrum Master
2012-07-01 - 2013-05-01, Alphen aan den Rijn, , Netherlands

I am passionate about Agile and love working with teams to inspire them to deliver good quality software and great value for their organisaiton. I am avaialble to work with organisations to make the most of their Scrum implementation, but I am also available as a Scrum Master, Product Owner or Interim Development Manager.

eBuddy, VP Development
2006-07-01 - 2012-06-30, Keizersgracht 585, , Netherlands

Lead the organization through an adoption of Agile software development Methodologies. Started with a team of 4 developers, using some XP practices, then as the team expanded, adopted the Scrum framework. Now coaching 8 teams of total 50 developers, with teams distributed between Amsterdam and Minsk.