Roland Dürre
Friday February 24th, 2017



Many thanks to Christian&Daniel (© Visual-Braindump)

I love the agile manifesto. It always says that A has priority over B.
Here is an example:
“Individuals and interactions have priority over processes and tools“
In other words:
Perhaps the values on the right side (B) are useful, but those on the left side (A) are more important.

I will now apply this diction to my “favourite terms” and formulate the opposite (as a trigger for discussion).

  • Co-ordinate the decentralized things beats central execution
    (–> The CEO – Central Executive Officer becomes company coordinator)
  • Coaching beats Managing
    (–> Abolish hierarchies, replace managers by coaches)
  • Agile beats inflexible
    (–> follow common sense, instead of a plan)
  • Competence beats power
    (–> the future is no longer determined by a hierarchy)
  • Lean beats waste
    (–> less bureaucracy, administration and departments)
  • Common good economy beats Shareholder Value
    (–> Customers and employees are stakeholders and more important than shareholders)
  • Self-organization beats command structures
    (–> Teams, rather than the manager caste, determine how to do the job),
  • Open beats secret
    (–> free communication instead of systemic)
  • “Entrepreneurial Clarity“ beats “strategic ideologies“
    (–> traceability)
  • Social beats asocial
    (–> an end to privatizing profit and socializing loss)
  • Digital & electric beats mechanical & analogue
    (–> new work concept)
  • Informal communication beats systemic reports
    (–> knowledge is liberated and shared)
  • “Shared economy“ beats “individual property “
    (–> #newlife, “property is a burden“)
  • “Business must serve the people” beats “humans serve business“
    (–> #newwork)
  • ….

At school, I learned that everything that ends with “ism” should be handled with care. Consequently, I am glad that I never came across the word agilism. Yet I can easily imagine that some enterprises I know behave in a way that might be correctly described by the term.

I would simply say “change is the goal”.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday February 15th, 2017

Entrepreneur’s Diary #119 – Your Personnel Records

Ard Leferink for buurtzorg in Stuttgart at #fav17 (agile)..

Last week, on the Forum Agile Administration #fav17 in Stuttgart, Ard Leferink of buurtzorg was the Key Note speaker.

On the evening before, he had told me that buurtzorg has no HR-Department (human resource), just like they have no marketing department, no sales department, and, naturally, also no CRM System (Customer Relationship Management).

Well, I actually know a few companies that have no human resource department. As a general rule, however, those are small enterprises with a number of employees that does not exceed the two-digit scope. In the Netherlands alone, more than 10,000 people work for buurtzorg. Well, I guess that can be considered a little bigger, can’t it?

Yesterday, I discussed this with an entrepreneur I am good friends with. He immediately replied by asking: “So what do they do with their personnel records?“  To which my reply was the question: “What do you need personnel records for?“

I actually believed – and have believed for some time – that in an enterprise that is agile and based on trust, personnel records are as unnecessary as a personnel department, not so speak of a “director personnel”. For the administrative processes (paying the salaries, …), a list of employees with very little information would absolutely suffice. Everything else is unnecessary “overhead”.

But before I give you reasons for my opinion, I will describe for you all the things a personnel record consists of.

  • As a general rule, the personnel record is started when an employee is hired. That is old knowledge as it has been handed down over the centuries.
  • When a new employee is hired, a master data list is made. It contains all the data about the employee necessary for realizing the working procedure, such as his/her birthday, sex, social security and retirement number, religious belief, etc. The work contract is added and sometimes the (successful) application letter with the CV and diverse diploma (school, education, academic grade). And, of course, the protocols of one or more job interviews is filed here as well.
  • Then the personnel record is updated all the time by adding:
    • All extensions of the work contract;
    • All goal-oriented agreements;
    • Organisational changes,
    • Gratifications and social support (costs  for child-care);
    • All documentation pertaining continuing education;    
(the many “private educational measures” that, for instance, a software developer is doing all the time are not part of this);
    • Documentation of sickness and health insurance;    
In Germany, all employees who have been sick for more than three work-days have to bring a doctor’s testimony. To me, this looks like a method for creating work and money for doctors – I never knew a doctor who did not write such a testimony when asked by the patient,
    • Special events (change of marital status…) and activities (presentation, …) will also be written down.
    • Protocols of yearly evaluation interviews and all other relevant discussions;
    • Interim job references;
    • All “disciplinary” things such as misbehaviour and/or written warnings;
    • In former times, positive letters were also kept in the personnel record. For instance if a colleague received a special tax-free payment because of a jubilee (company employee) or the birth of a child. However, now that these are no longer tax-free, there is less motivation for the employers to pay any special gratifications.
    • Today, less agreeable data are also part of the personnel record. They suggest a strange concept of humanity. Because humans, too, are now considered a measured object. For instance, we find the results of strange tests (Score-Cards as results, for example, of the Reiss-Methode), as well as “psychological” reports about the employee’s personality and numbers that indicate his performance for the enterprise. I do not know if this is legal, but I know it is done.

(In some companies, they have agreements that state what may be added to the personnel records and what may not be therein. And the works committee controls in regular intervals).

If someone has been an employee for many years, then this report folder can become quite extensive. It might weigh a few kilograms. If you have a hundred employees, you need quite a bit of storage space. That is why you have to have a digital HR application. And, incidentally, you will also get quite some problems with “privacy protection“.

Because, by definition, IT systems are not secure. To be sure, the drawers with the personnel files in locked rooms were not very secure, either. I actually remember some creative employees who managed to get the keys. And I also remember a personnel file lying around on the desk of a “boss” overnight. But in those days that was not a problem.
In IT, you have to introduce processes that define who can read what under what conditions. It has to be documented. And again, you have one of those coffin nails that will do damage to an agile and slim enterprise and give you yet a little more bureaucracy and administration.

In other words – everything you do not really need is something you better avoid!

Incidentally, the dialogue with my friend continued. His reply to my question why you need personnel records was (after some hesitation):
“For writing references?“
Indeed. As we all know, in Germany the employer has to write a reference for an employee when he leaves (or whenever he wishes one). That reminded me of when and how I used to write letters of reference. Here is what I did:
First and foremost, I asked the employee to write down everything he did for the company and mark which of those things were important to him. Then I took this input and added my own knowledge and estimation, before finishing with one of those famous phrases taken from a book that lists all the relevant phraseology.

But I only ever took a look at the personnel folder when I needed a birthday for wishing someone many happy returns.

For more articles of my entrepreneurial diary, click here: Drehscheibe!

Roland Dürre
Sunday February 12th, 2017

The Unavoidable Unpredictability of the Future!

Many thanks to Jan Fischbach, master of agility and my photographer.

On February, 10th, I gave a presentation for the FAV (Forum agile administration) at the Stuttgart Hochschule der Medien. The audience was terrific and I would like to take this opportunity to express my special gratitude. The twitter tag was #fav17 – it is a convenient way to find more information about the workshop.

My presentation was about the “unavoidable unpredictability of the future”. The title is not originally from me – and the same is true for the following sub-title. Nonetheless, I tried to stick to the pre-defined ideas:

Agile methods are especially useful if the uncertainty about the desired goal is huge. In private businesses, uncertainties increase. Is that also true for public administration? Do agile methods really make sense in this sector?

As a service for those who watched and those who were not there: a summary of my presentation. It is a little shortened and sometimes just in catch-phrases.

I started the presentation with an outlook and by explaining terms that seemed important to me. So the first thing I did was pin a cross with five words to the white-board: in its centre stood “agile“, flanked by  “digital“, “social“, “newwork“ and “network/community“. I defined the terms and explained how, in my understanding, they belong together.

When I give a presentation, I am always a little nervous initially. In Stuttgart, I forgot the important terms lean and open. The next time I talk about “agile“ I will start with the central “smart“ cube “agile“, “digital“, “lean“  and “open“. And I will add “social“ to build a pentagram.

For instance, in #newwork I collect all the efforts we make towards giving work a more humane appearance that help us “not to suffer from burnout” even in our modern working world. It is all about consideration, cooperation, appreciation and participation. These are all values that movements such as “Augenhöhe“ (the Film), common good economy,, “democratic enterprise”, “EnjoyWork“ and others demand. For me, “smart” includes the combination of “digital“ and “social“, with digital being the basis for “network/community“ and “agility“ doubtless only having been re-invented in the “digital world“.

However, the digital change (digital) is only the logic continuation of the Industrial Revolution and consequently the ever more accelerating technological progress. The acceleration of the development is no surprise, because thanks to digitalization, we have more and more powerful tools; what follows is that digitalization is the basic cause for the very fast drastic social change.

I supplemented this image by adding the two terms “courage“ and “joy“ – as a prerequisite for a successful (work) life –, along with the two terms “give impulse“ and “inspire“ as the two central agile means of leading (see below). And then I evened it all out by adding “trust“ (left) and “change“ (right). Finally, I wrote “happiness“ and “success“. After all, it is my goal to make other people – be it audience or mentees – at least a little happier and more successful

After that, my presentation had six steps. Here is a description in catch-words.

    I introduced the “Agile Manifesto” as it has been written by software developers and talked about the influence of IT on technology and our society. It was important that it became very clear how agility is not just a method, but a “philosophy” or “way of living”.
    There is no ideological discourse about, for instance, whether “scrum” or “the waterfall method” (V model) are better. Agility is such a natural, basic and so very human concept that both methods can be useful, depending on the individual task.

    • The medieval cathedrals, as well as the Rome Colosseum were built in an “agile” way: 
Builder, master and craftsmen met (networking).
    • Not agile: Daimler Museum 
(only new computer speed made it possible to build it, otherwise the static could not have been calculated. But then fire regulations intervened).
    • How agility got lost: 
The industrial revolution changed our view of the world. After having seen the Chicago slaughterhouse, Henry Ford got the idea to produce cars, too, in the assembly line. His huge plants had a great need of workers that were not available. At the same time, many farm workers lost their jobs due to more machines in farming. However, they were “stupid”, not even familiar with the concept of “time”. Consequently, the caste of engineers had to regulate everything. This is how the “caste of engineers” developed. They had to do the mental work for their slaves in all respects. A hierarchical system, paired with extreme division of work (Taylorism) became the formative organizational structure for enterprises.
    • Example: Werner von Siemens, born 1817: he organized his enterprise (Siemens) following the model of the German Army.
    • Another factor: time is a special commodity. As soon as it is over, it is gone. Now, all of a sudden, it is measured. In units, like kilograms! 
Note: sailors knew no schedules. They were only introduced for postal coaches. Only steam ships and the railway made schedules possible. This is how people came up with requiring “shared time” in common areas.
    • Before the industrial revolution, clocks were mostly used for navigation on the ocean. Now begins the time when they dominate (rule over) life.
    • In the plants, there was a common time. To make sure the rhythm was not interfered with, you had to leave your watch at the gate. If someone retired, his farewell present was a watch. “They returned the time to the people”.
    • Before the industrial revolution, nobody had a feeling for time. As early as 1900, there were only few countries with a shared time. For planning, the parameter “time” is extremely important.
    • In an agile world, communities take the place of organizations
Example: movements such as #newwork versus unions.
    • In an agile world, the needs of the customers have priority over the contract:
Example S21 – the plebiscite was positive because the people had understood that facts had been set – simply because contractual obligations had been caused by those who had signed the commissioning.
    • Fake agility 
A good example for this is the car as master of all individualized traffic. Having a car without a driver will not make you free. What happens if all automobile drivers realize this and want to become “agile”? They say that, if that happens, the economy will collapse. However, this is nonsense, because innovation is creative destruction.
    As a general rule, agile persons are less fearful. Because fear happens between your ears. Usually, agile persons know the moment when they have to stop weighing arguments and instead should start and try things. Agile persons know that all they have is certainties, rather than truths. They are prepared to first give trust (“first give, then take”).
    Agile persons enjoy their work more and are more modest and happier. Perhaps they are also more humble and grateful. There is a rule: the more fear, the less agility and vice versa. A superior serenity is the pre-requirement for agility. It grows if you live an agile life. Consequently, agile persons are usually happier and more successful.
    In the last two decades of the last century, people and managers believed you could predict the future. All you have to have is enough information and then process it in a precise way. That would make it possible to develop valid scenarios for the future, too (for instance through think-tanks).
    And then you could come up with the right solutions and decisions in a totally rational way. 
This is how they believed an enterprise (and a public office) could become a determining system that gets input and gives output – and how the management could be controlled optimally through simply adjusting the right screws.
    What an antiquated point of view! 
The future cannot be predicted. But then, how are you supposed to plan and control the future if you cannot see it?

    • In his 1982 “Theses on Change in Management”, Hans Ulrich (the founder of the St. Gallener Management Model) states in his first thesis: “The future cannot be predicted!“
    • In St. Gallen, business scientists ask themselves how managers can ever make the right decisions à priori if it is often not possible to determine à posterio if a decision was right or wrong 
(Definition of decision: its consequences are serious and it is made under uncertainty).
    • Vuca (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) 
All of a sudden these terms appear as abbreviations for the “real world”. But has the world not always been like this?
    • Futurology: 
I, too, am guilty of having believed analysts (Diebold, Gardner), especially when they confirmed my own assumptions (prejudices). Almost in all cases, the predictions were wrong: 
Here are two examples that were detrimental for me, as well: 
Bildschirmtext (BTX) and Print on Demand (PoD). In those days, the market predictions were totally wrong. Entrepreneurs who believed in them made the wrong investments.
    • There are two personal friends of mine who are worth listening to: 
Klaus Burmester (@foresight_lab) and Lars Thomsen ( They are both probably among the world leaders in research about the future. Klaus is a twitter recommendation. (#FF). 
Matthias Horx ( is rather famous, but I do not personally know him.
    • On Lars and predictions about electro mobility: 
Several years ago, during a bike meeting in Sylt with entrepreneurs, managers, counsellors. It was about innovation and change, also e-mobility. 
Lars fascinates us all with his presentation on e-mobility. Two years later, almost 20 % of all the participants are proud owners of a Tesla, but all his prognoses were totally wrong.
    • Incidentally, the definition of futurology, according to Lars, is the extension of trend research. Based on this, futurology becomes the search for the Tipping Point ( in technologies.
    • My conclusion is: futurologists are not much help when it comes to predicting the future.
    • The innovation as advertised by everybody can best be described as “creative destruction”.
    • The reform that is so often called for is nothing other than “non-violent change“.
    • And more and more buzz words are making their rounds:
      Transition, Transformation, Revolution, Disruptive Changes, Anti-Fragility, VUCA …
However, none of those are really new and agility is the only concept that can help.
    Enterprises will die if they cannot cope with change. Especially in IT, there are many examples. Some enterprises “only” go bankrupt. Others leave behind them – even if for many years they privatized their profits very successfully – huge damage that will then elegantly be socialized (see EVUs – for many years they had been the DAX heroes – now they try to move the remaining problems, such as nuclear plants, to the public sector).
    Public office and administration cannot melt away either after having failed to adapt to change. After all, life in the community will continue. Consequently, the public offices – also due to their political and social mandate – have to cope with all change.
    But then, how is the survival of public administration supposed to work without an agile concept as its underlying idea? A concept that has an agile philosophy as its value orientation and that develops and lives an agile culture…
    The understanding that future and change are not predictable grows. Even today, planning fails more and more often, in surprising dimensions. (many big IT projects, S21, BER). You are probably correct if you assume that change will be more frequent and more intense in the future. The trend seems to confirm it. In many areas, we see an enormous acceleration, the speed increases all the time and will continue to do so.
    Some drivers of change could be:

    • What is demanded of politics/society; 
Trump, “laws” that have to be immediately put into action …;
    • Economic Change; 
Car industry, export downfall, excise tax …;
    • Infrastructure & our habits; 
Mobility consumer behaviour, …;
    • Determining factors; 
Rising interest rates, more poverty, …;
    • Disruptive events; 
Refugees, the climate (warming and cold, water and droughts,…) epidemics, war (terror)???
    • Technology;
smart solutions, virtualization, electrification, passports as app;
    • And much more.
    Digitalization as the high-speed continuation of the “technological progress” has only just begun – and the same is true for the social change caused by it. Cultural technologies, such as “being able to do calculations (by heart or on paper)” disappear. 
Machines are now “intelligent”.
    Using “intelligent machines”, we can build machines that otherwise could not be built – and they can themselves build yet more intelligent machines. Thus, the technological acceleration caused by digital progress will continue to grow. 
“Pandora’s box” is probably a nice metaphor for digital technology. The box is on the table. The table starts vibrating, the box begins to wobble. Before you know it, the lid will be askance and something crawls out of the box. Because there is plenty brewing inside the box. 
Soon, the lid will fall from the box and the box will topple over. Its content will spill all over the table. We do not yet know if all the things that spill out are caterpillars that will become beautiful butterflies. Or if they are evil worms that Medusa sent us?
    Well, my hopes are on beautiful butterflies.

That was my presentation. Since the audience seemed to like it, I will probably give the same presentation a few more times, perhaps a little modified with the focal points “agile mobility” or “agile enterprise”.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Tuesday January 17th, 2017

Prognoses are Difficult, Especially if they Concern the Future.

Complexity made by

This sentence is not only said to have been spoken by Karl Valentin , but also by Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Niels Bohr, Kurt Tucholsky (they all were rather intelligent persons). It clarifies a lot: prognoses are not at all easy – and the same is true for planning ahead. After all, planning is the little sister of the prognosis.

On Friday (February, 10th), I will give a presentation at high noon during the FORUM AGILE ADMINISTRATION 2017 in Stuttgart. The amusing title is:

“The inevitable unpredictability of the future“

Naturally, such a title was not something humble me came up with. Still, I find it suitable. After all, it sounds like the intellectual formulation of the simple truth that the future is not predictable. Just as they teach and write in the academic sociology and/or politics circles in their overblown way.
How am I supposed to plan for the future if I cannot even see the future? I will show you with a few examples how very seldom this will work.

I also would like to tell you how private enterprises will always make themselves scarce when matters get a little problematic. They are particularly keen on making themselves scarce if they managed to privatize good profit over many years and if then, as their life cycle nears its end, big deficits are on the horizon. Of course, deficits are something they want to burden society with, rather than face them themselves.

Whenever we are talking public agencies, this is not quite so easy. They have to survive disruptive situations, even in situations when a private enterprise would simply give up. Because life has to go on. Consequently, they need to maintain resilience, or do all they can in order to develop “anti-fragility”.

To be sure, resilience and anti-fragility are also just two additional buzzwords. They are supposed to make it clear that agile and flexible structures offer a huge advantage in times of change. And that strict processes can then easily kill a system.
I already have many ideas for my presentation. Now I am in the structuring and refining stage. I look forward to my presentation and my audience and would be delighted if I could welcome a few familiar faces in Stuttgart.

So here is all the information on the event. On the front page, you will find the program:


And details for the booking process can be found at the back of the page:

So I look forward to seeing you in Stuttgart.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday January 15th, 2017

PM Camp Meeting 2017 – #pmcamp – Jan, 20th, 2017

It is certainly not breaking news, but next Friday, we will have our 2017 PM Camp meeting.

Once a year, the representatives of all organizational teams for PM Camps meet. This year, the organizational team Dornbirn (Eberhard, Marcus, Stefan, Roland), are the hosts. InterFace AG supports them logistically.

Consequently, representatives of the organizational teams for the PM Camps at Barcelona, Berlin, Dornbirn, Hamburg, Karlsruhe, München, Rhein-Main, Stuttgart and Zürich will meet on Friday, January, 20th, 2017 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Unterhaching InterFace AG building.

The PM Camp meeting is traditionally where strategic questions concerning the future of the PM Camp movement are discussed. Consequently, the goals of the meeting are:

  • Looking back:
    What was the development of PM Camps over the last year? 
Reports about format experiments in 2016.
  • Status Quo:
    Where are we now? What is CURRENTLY important for us?
  • Looking towards the future:
    What do we have to be careful about and what do we need to actively promote to make sure that the PM Camp movement continues to give relevant impulses for the PM scene on the whole?

I am telling you the date because I want to enable all friends of the PM Camp movement and visitors of PM Camps to voice their opinions and ideas during the PM Camp Meeting.

If you have suggestions that might impact the future of PM Camps, please do not hesitate to send me an email. I will collect all emails and introduce the ideas during our meeting.

I look forward to many impulses by and inspiration from you!

(Translated by EG)

On the evening before (Thursday, January, 19th, 2017), those who arrived early will meet for dinner at 7 p.m. at the Unterhaching Althaching restaurant. If you feel like meeting old friends, please come and join us.

Roland Dürre
Monday September 19th, 2016

At Night: Thinking of Europe.

Thinking “Europe” at night,
gives me more than a little fright …
(Heinrich Heine)

flagge-europaeische-union-euCatalonia wants independence from Spain. Scotland wanted to leave Great Britain. After having received threats and fear having been spread all over the place, they now did not get a majority. Now they are sad because they did not succeed.

GB as a state with a great democratic tradition, on top of having been a founding member, now wants to leave the EU. However, leaving is not something they regulated in any way (this is true both for leaving the EU and the EURO). It seems doubtful if this is possible at all as far as laws go.
National and European law is too tightly interwoven. Nobody seems to know a solution – but nothing will change.

The Mediterranean countries stagger. The FRG, too, is still European champion when it comes to the federal deficit. Bavaria has not felt well in the FRG for a long time, yet they keep financing Berlin/Brandenburg. More often than not, the “coalition disagreements” look like harbingers of a “Bavarian Exit” to me.

More and more EU countries show an extreme lack of solidarity. Everybody wants to preserve what they have. At the Eastern borders, they rattle their sabres because of an (allegedly?) increased threat from neighbours. At the Southern borders, they feel threatened by refugees and solve the problem with dubious deals.

Regardless of knowing better, Europe keeps sticking to the mantra “growth”. More and more soil is sealed by layers of concrete, the individual traffic has total priority over all else and some countries actually want to return to nuclear energy. Europe is soundly in the grip of global concerns for whom the shareholder value – more than ever – has absolute priority. The enterprises are no longer here to serve the humans. Instead, the humans have to serve the enterprises. People are just a herd of consumers who can be manipulated at will through marketing.

Regardless of being absolutely against the trend, agreements such as CETA and TTIP that propagate total, world-wide and limitless competition get signed. Such behaviour is based on the division of labour and will, naturally, promote the exploitation of humans and entire countries. And the predictable conflicts are to be ruled upon not by independent courts but by courts selected by business representatives.

In the meantime, the Euro again pushes entire regions towards bankruptcy. It is all financed by a state bank that creates a huge balloon. Sooner or later, this balloon will explode – and then everybody will again start lamenting about the next world-wide economic crisis.

Politically, the concept of self-interest will lead towards more and more populist regimes that mock democracy and humanitarianism. The way people communicate with each
other has become cold. The European nations have started accusing each other of misbehaviour, the first slogans demanding that individual countries be excluded have already been heard – regardless of the fact that an exclusion, just like an exit, is not regulated anywhere and probably not legally possible. But that is not what mattes, as long as the money flow is intact.

More and more, the EU shows that it is a very un-democratic system. With a powerless mega parliament and commissioners who keep exposing themselves to ridicule. All the institutions that control Europe have become buffaloes of the concern lobby and the capital, all the powerful European bodies and associations are in the hands of capital and business. Politics have been high-jacked, the politicians have to serve their masters. The law of the moment is: you do not bite the hand that feeds you. And whenever there is a situation that might turn out critical for the “Big Ones”, then the EuGH will see to it that the laws are interpreted in a way that supports the leaders.

New legislation is passed all the time. Sometimes the laws contradict each other. Due to legislation inflation, nobody takes them seriously any more. This is how they are more detrimental than useful. The consequence is a degradation bureaucracy all over Europe as we used to know it from the “socialist countries” of Eastern Europe. It died because of its bureaucracy. Change was no longer possible and the division of labour on state-level had destroyed all diversity.

If a huge concern massively and intentionally violates a law that was supposed to protect humans against poisonous gasses and particles, then nobody is interested. Even if said concern cheated on millions of customers. The big ones will go home free. After all, you depend on them.

Once in a while, they make an example with a small enterprise. Just like the modern messengers who carry sad news, the whistle-blowers, are punished while the tax evaders go home free. Because their behaviour was “inside the law”. Regardless of the fact that they built constructs for no other purpose than tax evasion that have nothing whatsoever to do with reality. One of the reasons why they did this was that they knew how powerful they are and that nobody would dare to make them unhappy. After all, their revenge would be an existential threat to smaller countries.

The “rich FRG” heals its own financial situation through a very strange interest policy from the top but to the detriment of a doomed southern alliance. Subsidies are handed out, not just to the “system relevant” financial industry – but always at the cost of the future and thus of the citizens. The fact that this will always make the majority of the poor and of the middle classes poorer and the few rich ones richer does not interest anybody.

Much is preached about values. But nobody lives what they preach. Christian roots are preached. Enlightenment as a value hardly plays any role any more. More and more freedom is sacrificed in the name of allegedly more security.

Tolerance is demanded but not granted, solidarity called for but not given, democracy undermined and human rights reduced. They demand attentiveness and promote enemy concepts.

That is not the Europe I had dreamed of. Basically, I do not feel German, nor European. The national anthem, Federal Eagle and Black-Red-Gold colours do not give me special feelings. To be sure, the yellow stars on blue may look a little more attractive than the bland “black-red-gold”, but they, too, are not my colours. Nor do I see any reason to be proud of being German. Just like there is no reason for me to be proud of the colour of my skin.

I am a person from, in and bred by this world. Where I come from and what language I speak is irrelevant. I like and appreciate all humans equally. I am in favour of peace. I used to be glad that we had Europe, because it was my impression that Europe did a good job. Unfortunately, that is a thing of the past. What currently happens in Europe gives me pause. The trend is evil.

Since my early adolescence, I was always traveling Europe. First as an exchange student, then on vacation, and soon mostly riding my bike. I particularly liked the Mediterranean regions, such as Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus. And I always met friendly people who gave me a warm welcome – and who helped me whenever I had a problem. The same happened to me in The Netherlands and Belgium, later in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Lithuania.

That is enough reason for me to love Europe – I do not need to have one currency for this. But also outside the EU, for instance in Kenia, Tunisia or Morocco and China, Cuba and India, I had many nice and beautiful experiences. Wherever I went, the people accepted me and I felt they understood me.

As I saw it, the people were always very much ahead of their governments.

Consequently, what I would wish for is a world of connected regions, without national countries and military agreements. A world full of diversity and without levelling. A world where the useless oppositions and fear will disappear more and more, making room for the celebration of an all-encompassing friendship.

(Translated by EG)

In my next post, I want to explain to you why I like small, de-centralized systems better than the big, central ones. Especially when it comes to actually solving our problems.

Roland Dürre
Sunday June 5th, 2016

Vacationing on our Planet: the Cyclades

Today, Barbara and I woke up in Adamas, the harbour city of Milos. It was the eighth time we slept on our trip. The first time was on noisy Piraeus, then we went to the isles. We spent two nights on glamorous Santorini, three on the quiet island of Folégandros and two more on Milos. Much of the time was on the water, where we used three big ships and went on short trips on three smaller boats. Especially on Folégandros, we also did a lot of hiking.


Milos was also a place where we had wonderful hosts, which is true for the entire journey, during which we spent our time with very agreeable people. I was surprised about hardly ever meeting Germans. Yesterday, we were again the only Germans on a trip on board a ship with fourteen persons from France, Great Britain, Island, Canada, Italy, Spain and New Zealand.

Today, at 14:05 hours, we will go to Serifos, where we want to spend two more nights before going back to Piraeus and then taking the underground train to our last overnight stay in an Athens hotel before boarding our train back to Munich.

It was an agile and slim trip, with little luggage and the simple idea that we visit a few Greek islands on the Cyclades. Barbara had prepared well, but she had made no actual plans except the flights out and back in and the first hotel in Piraeus. The entire route of the journey materialized on the way. For example, when we left Munich, I did not even know that Folégandros exists. But then, the recommendation by our landlady in Santorini was so unmistakable that we simply had to go there. And as it turned out, a ship left on the next morning. …

Under the Greek sun, I had an idea. As we all know, some people call such a trip “vacation”, so here is what they wrote: “Let us meet again after your vacation “. Well, fact is that what I did here is exactly what I do at home: 
I was on the move all the time, although not with my bike. And I learned, worked, wrote articles and enjoyed life. And I tweeted. Yesterday, I spent 11 hours on my Account rolandduerre (

My life is one long vacation on this beautiful planet earth – some kind of travel&work on earth. 
#ponderings  on #the meaning of life

I cannot get rid of this idea, which is why I will now relate it to you.

Isn’t my entire life one long “vacation” on the planet earth?

It has now been 66 years for me here as a resident. I was welcomed in a very friendly manner. However, as I remember it, the next few years were those during which I was to be educated, schooled and directed towards being a good and high-performance person. I even had to sleep in a (medical) cast – in order to correct my “Morbus Scheuermann“. That was when my joy about being a child was over. I was unhappy, because they wanted to convert me into something I did not want to be and neither did I understand it. I often heard the sentence: “If you continue in this way, you will end up a total failure!“ 
Luckily, I “continued in this way” at least to some extent. And in retrospect, I should have done more of this “remaining the same”. And what followed then were fifty more or less happy years. Now considerably fewer years remain to me than I have already lived. For instance now, during our Greek journey.

I am absolutely determined to enjoy the few remaining days of my trip through the Cyclades as much as the years that probably remain in my life. But I am just as determined to use them well. For happiness and for my project PEACE (FRIEDEN).

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday April 23rd, 2016

New Barcamps is What the Country Needs!

Now I know why my enthusiasm about barcamps is dwindling …

PM_BannerDiese Woche war This week, I was invited to attend the first (!) barcamp organized by one of the really huge German world concerns in their enterprise building. The “anti-conference” was announced as an experiment and was about “modern leadership principles“.

They wanted to try something new and invited around 50 internal employees and a few external persons (one of whom was me). Almost all of the concern employees were young “high potentials”, among them many personal assistants of directors or persons responsible for a sector of product.

With respect to the degree of freedom, the barcamp was a little restricted. For instance, the “feet principle” and the roles of “butterflies and bees” were intentionally not formulated. When I asked about those, the organizers told me they had been afraid that this would have been a little too much innovation – a fear that I do not happen to

But: the event was an extremely good experience.

To me, it seemed that, after a short phase of scepticism, all participants were really enthusiastic and active. And that it was a great thing for all parties concerned. Not one of the participants had actively prepared for the event by writing a presentation or some such! Consequently, all session givers formulated their problems, anxieties and experiences spontaneously after having spent only a short time pondering. And that really found its target – in the sessions, we always worked on topics that seemed really important and very exciting.

I, too, again, learned a lot and was truly glad to have been there. In particular, I now understand far better how huge concerned work today when it comes to leadership and management. As an extra knowledge increase, I also realized that, today, it is actually no longer the rule that new products need to be found useful by the customer.

In fact, first and foremost, it is all about evaluating where and if there are under-provided sectors on the market (product-free spaces), yet where the majority of persons who have been asked think they might need it.

As soon as this requirement is met, all you have to do is come up with a good marketing strategy and a concept that will make a basic scaling and good profit (production costs / price acceptable for the buyer) possible. I was actually a little taken aback when I heard that the usefulness of a product no longer plays any role when it comes to creative planning.

However, one (indirect and), for me, very important realization was (and this is why I write this article) that this “concern barcamp” made me aware of why I get more and more tired of barcamps:

The longer you have had a barcamp, the more people come with topics they prepared at home. They no longer formulate what is on their minds spontaneously and/or in the context of what actually happens.

pmcamp3Unfortunately, this is a tendency I see more and more often in the once so much-loved PM-Camps that, so far, I have always remained true to. And when I am there, I mostly stay in the coffee room and talk to the many great persons present. Also, it seems to me that, as the years go by, other barcamps have more and more “ready-made” session, which causes the anti-conference to slightly differ only in one respect from the good old classical conference: its format-based freedom.

Here is a possible solution to the problem:

a) communicate in no uncertain terms that it is better to let the moment determine what happens on a barcamp and have sessions develop from the individual and shared situation and

b) make the planning phases more iterative and “shared” (i.e. just fix the sessions for the morning after breakfast, then reflect in the forum for a short time what is going to happen and what should be continued).

To be sure, the constant tightrope walk between individually (alone) and collectively (together) and between agile and planned in advance is certainly not something easily done. But that does not mean we should not keep trying.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday March 11th, 2016

“Inspect-and-Adapt“ Your Estimates!

td-logoI always like visiting the Munich Techdivision. For me, this event, organized by my PM-Camp accomplice Sacha Storz, is very attractive. The next event is on March, 16th, 2016, between 7 and 8.30 p.m. They finish earlier than usual, because they want the visitors to have the chance to be back home in front of their TV sets for the Bayern Soccer Game. The location is the TechDivision offices at 73, Balanstr. (building 8, 3rd floor) in 81541 München.

Here is the official call for participation:

According to estimations by User Stories, project planning still plays a central role in agile software development. Imprecise estimations will, for instance, cause higher costs than planned or a longer production time than originally agreed upon.

During a TechDivision study, we investigated the User Story Estimates in four different projects. The goal was: identify problems and propose improvements. It is a rather well-known principle – after all, there is always an “inspect-and-adapt” framework in Scrum.

But: how can it be adapted to estimates? And how are the results of the study related to the #NoEstimates discussion?

I find the topic rather interesting. After all, I am a supporter of the provocative theory: “don’t estimate“– and I can find numerous reasons for this theory. In addition, I find it quite motivating that my own son Rupert will be the speaker.

About the speaker:
imagesRupert Dürre is a consultant at the Swedish IT company Netlight. His interests are various areas of agile software development in requirement engineering and development practices, such as also the question how to organize teams in order to make an effective cooperation possible.

There is no admission fee for the event. Please register at the website: event.

Well, next Wednesday at 7 p.m., I will be at Balanstrasse and I look forward to seeing many friends!

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday March 6th, 2016


Let me cite Seneca:

Seneca, part of double-herm in Antikensammlung Berlin (wikipedia)

Seneca, part of double-herm in Antikensammlung Berlin (wikipedia)

Philosophy teaches us to act, instead of talking!

What we say should not entertain, but have an effect!

You want control, not tattle!

Seneca was an important teacher and thinker in ancient Rome. If my understanding of history is correct, then he wanted to help his students to become a bit more successful and happy in life. This is a nice goal. I gladly make it my own, both for myself and other people.

During the last year, I, again, spent much time abroad. I had a few great days when I attended a philosophy colloquium with Klaus-Jürgen Grün (Philkoll) that I found absolutely fascinating. As part of the jury during the business plan contest, I also learned many new things. On several PM camps, I exchanged experience and knowledge with many others. Many peer-to-peer meetings with friends, “mentees“, young persons who had just founded a start-up and many more were a chance for me to experience totally new worlds.

🙂 On the whole, I, again, learned more than ever before. And I am almost overwhelmed by all the things I now know. Mind you, this is regardless of me knowing that I know nothing. Consequently, I also have no idea how to best use my knowledge. That is bad news, because somehow or other I am now fed up with just thinking and talking!

I want to do something!
Together with friends, I would like to be part of a cooperative flow that actually has an effect! And that renders the right kinds of results. With enthusiasm for us and others. I am talking ideas that can actually be realized.

So here is what I propose: 
In the future, I will do no more philosophy seminars. To be sure, I return home from these seminars with a full heart, but I do not really know with whom to share all these exciting novelties that made such a huge impression on me. No more barcamps either. To be sure, I meet even more extremely nice and wise persons there, but basically, we all go back home happy because we have been reassured by all the others that what we think is the best thing to think and because of the intense feeling of togetherness we experienced. It is less about listening and coaching groups and individual persons.


Let us do more and act more aggressively!

But how?
Well, I must admit that, initially, I had no idea. Consequently,I took a closer look at my own field of expertise – remembering all the things we software workers and IT experts already managed to pull off. In the enterprises, we abolished the German formal address “SIE” and the ties. To make up for it, we introduced refrigerators and coffee machines. We invented open source and wrote the agile manifesto. We started extreme programming and mobprogramming, as well as peer-to-peer-reviews. We triggered the agile, lean and open concepts. And we created entrepreneurial cultures based on respect and meeting at eye-level, where “participation” and “error tolerance” are no foreign words.

And we also came up with the Hackathon, where industrious programmers take their laptops and meet on week-ends, build up their WLAN and write, for instance, software for an NGO. And said software will already run on the following Monday, waiting for further development during the next Hackathon.

Incidentally, this is now also something they do outside the IT sector. I know a counselling firm where the gentlemen who usually are the advisors take a sabbatical once a year and meet for a long weekend in order to, for instance, build a kindergarden under professional guidance. I rather like this!

Why not establish a kind of Hackathon in this way where the result is not some software but a great business plan? One that has two components: the business idea and its application? Maybe that would be a contribution promoting, for instance, the solution of some of the problems all these refugee seekers will doubtless bring and turning them into something positive? How about, for example, paving the way for creating “refugee enterprises”?

All you would have to do in advance is define a few important requirements.

  • The refugee enterprise must be in the common interest. After all, you want people to realize that something positive is happening – something that helps everybody.
  • The refugee enterprise must not be a competition for established structures. Otherwise, you would immediately get a huge and very productive outcry.
  • The employees must do something in the enterprise that is in accordance with respecting the dignity of said employees and…
  • The refugee enterprise must be self-organized and self-controlled. In other words, there must be no management from the outside. That means the contribution of experienced entrepreneurs and managers cannot be operative. Instead, it must be restricted to helping them to help themselves, i.e. coaching and advising.

So what can we do?

We (between 20 and 30 entrepreneurs, managers and experts) meet for a kind of “hackathon”. But instead of programming, we generate a business plan. We spend two days in isolation. On the first day, we will come up with a business idea. And no later than on the second day, we will work out how to apply it. Let us call this kind of event a StartMaker. All we need is two days – and the right kinds of people. I already know some of them. And I am sure that something great can start from this idea.

So what do you think?

(Translated by EG)