Teamtrip to London 2019

This month Organize Agile celebrated her 5th year anniversary. Our founders decided to take the team on a trip to London. It was filled with inspiring visits and meetings with interesting people, for me a great opportunity to get to know the team better.
2 July 2019
Saskia Vermeer-Ooms
Team Organize Agile

A bit of history

Last year the team also went on a company trip, it took them to the city of Rotterdam. One of their stops was a visit to my former office at Coolblue. One could say this was the start of a mutual interest in each other. I showed them around the office and they shared their views on improving the employee experience. I had just started applying the agile mindset outside of IT and had read their Agile HR book for inspiration. Later in the year Nienke came for another visit to interview me for her Agile Top women series. Several other encounters with Organize Agile colleagues sparked my interest in this company and since May this year I can proudly say I am part of these ‘organization sillies’.

Since then, it’s as if I have boarded an exciting roller coaster ride. No week has been the same. My new colleagues have done their best to make me feel welcomed. I have been able to join them during regular visits to clients and have also been able to provide trainings and workshops with them. The first part of the celebration happened in the first week of June, when we had a big party to celebrate this milestone with clients, family and friends.


Saskia Vermeer

As the newbie, I got the honor to cut the cake (with a sword…)


The trip

We continued the celebration last week with our visit to London. It started really early on a Thursday morning. Everyone managed to arrive at the airport on time so we could catch our 7.20am flight from Amsterdam. After we dropped our luggage at the hotel we made our way to the Mayfair area for some coffee and window shopping. Our first appointment was a lunch date with some of the folks of The Culture Trip. After some Japanese soul food at Bone Daddies we headed off to their offices for a meet and greet with some more colleagues.

The Culture Trip had asked us to do an item on Agile Leadership. We had prepared several workshops which split into break-out sessions, after Minke gave a short presentation about our vision on Agile Leadership. The Culture Trip was also host for the London Agile Coaching Circle Meetup, which I facilitated together with Carmen. We decided on an open space format, which allowed us to gather topics from the participants and also bring our own topics to share with the group. It was an interesting evening with lots of engagement from the participants. We also held a short ‘survey-game’ to visualize the differences between the state of Agile in London vs that in The Netherlands.

On Friday morning it was time for our quarterly strategy session. As a big fan of Liberating Structures I had the opportunity to facilitate an Ecocycle Planning session. It gave us some good insights into the different phases of our activities, which encouraged lively discussions within the group. After lunch, we met with Ryan Behrman who gave us some personal insights from his talk How to run an Agile Transformation (in 10 easy steps). My big take away from this conversation is to start small: decide which part of the organization you can ring fence, which allows you to experiment. And then take it from there.


Riccardo in front of his ‘Restaurant to AWESOME!’ Scrum board


For me, the biggest highlight of this trip was a visit to Riccardo Mariti’s Italian restaurant ’a taste of Tuscany’. Riccardo has managed to run his restaurant by using Scrum. He gave us a tour of his office and kitchen which was filled with whiteboards and post-its. His staff members had enthusiastic stories and clearly enjoyed working there. The food was also delicious, I was really impressed by Riccardo’s inspiring stories and his hospitality. 

Bucketlist Light

After dinner it was time for the ‘Bucket List’-light nominations. Everyone in the company keeps a list: what things would you like to do, have or experience? Light, because it must be feasible and affordable. You nominate one colleague: who do you think deserves to complete something from his/her Bucket List light? What did he or she do for the organization in the past period?

Beautiful speeches were delivered and several tears flowed. I heard a lot of new things about my colleagues for the first time. It was special to witness some of the intimate stories that were told. 

Michiel was the clear winner this night and after a group hug it was time to play the Company Quiz which was delivered with huge energy by Bart and Brenda. It’s clear to me that we have a lot of competitive people in this company. The energy can be quite intense, but seeing all these fanatic colleagues explode in their enthusiasm made me giggle.

Sightseeing and clubbing

After an interesting club on Friday night (I don’t even remember the name of the place) it was time for some tourist activities on Saturday. We enjoyed a (competitive) city trail in the Shoreditch area. After which, we played several nerf games on the Powerleague Shoreditch football pitch. We took time for some good conversations over Indian food at the Dishoom Shoreditch. And for some dancing, we ended up at the Ballieballerson club.


Organize Agile

The pink ball pit at Ballieballerson


I realize I’ve only been with Organize Agile for two months now. This trip to London has helped me connect with my new colleagues and understand the stories behind these wonderful people. 

The decision to leave my previous team wasn’t an easy one. However, the experiences and encounters with my new colleagues acknowledges the fact that I’ve made the right decision to join Organize Agile. Looking forward to changing the future of work together with them.

Saskia Vermeer-Ooms

Agile Coach