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Mathilde Lelong for Agilitest

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#TestingTalks πŸŽ™ Jan de Baere

Testing Talks is a new series of interviews highlighting well-known personalities from the world of software quality and testing. In this first episode, we had the pleasure to talk with Jan de Baere.

Jan de Baere is a coach and an educator who works with industry leaders and organizations. His goal is to support company culture transformation and to create a better working world. We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his job, experience and thoughts about Agile best practices. Here is his interview with 10 questions.

Can you introduce yourself and your background?

I’m Jan de Baere, I'm an organizational coach from Cegeka. I help companies to be better organized in their current context; in a context where you have knowledge workers. Priorities keep changing and in that context, I help companies to thrive in that new context. Before that, I started as a developer, analyst and project/program manager. Now, and for the last 10-15 years, I have been a coach.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

I like to see how people, organizations or teams grow. How they craft conceptual ideas. How they combine it to create something that works in their context. It’s like an adventure on the job.

What motivated you to get into this industry?

I remember I joined a project that started too late. After a month, the manager came to see me and said: β€˜I have three questions for you. First, can you explain why the team is out of schedule.’ The second question he asked was if I could make sure that the laughter of the team could be quieter because they were disturbing the rest of the floor. And the third question was if I could get rid of the post-it on the wall because it was not looking professional. And I told him that these three things actually go together.

And when he saw the results of the project, he asked me if I could join the company. So this is how I started to be a coach.

What are the biggest challenges when it comes to agile transformation for a company?

Imagine you want to set up Office 365 - which is the newest version of Office - and you have installed a Windows XP machine, an older version of Windows. So, if you try that, the result would probably be a big error because it doesn’t fit. And that’s basically what we try to do.

If you want to try to introduce new stuff, it just refuses, it creates an error. So it’s not simply having another mindset, you have to change the operating system too, piece by piece.

You also need to be able to talk to the top of the organization but also to every person in, because you have to find a way to make them work together.

What are the main criteria to succeed in agile transformation?
The main criterion is trust. Everything starts with trust. You have to trust management and also trust people from the team to work together.

Then, there is success. You have to change something for the better, as fast as possible and in the right direction. And success is defined by people you work with.

How do you see the future of agile?

Read full interview here.

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