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5 years ago

Agile Conferences: Look To No Epiphany

If we think about conferences in general, the traditional understanding is: people come together to share their knowledge, to learn, to discuss, to network etc.  Some people expect that if they attend a conference they for sure must learn something totally new, something that will change the way they work or even their lives.  Some people come to see who’s out there, to network and to have some fun. In a nutshell, as many people as many reasons to attend conferences :)

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I tend to think that with all the  information we’re consuming, it’s very hard to come up with something totally new to a thinking and knowledgeable audience. If you’re engaged in agile community, and if you’re a thinking person, you thrive in the blogosphere and you practice agile  – it’s hardly that something will be totally new to you (“totally” is the keyword).

Recently we attended Agile Central Europe conference in Krakow. I’d say that my #1 enjoyment about this event was live cross-twittering. Broadcasting Agile CE to the Twittersphere has really been fun. I liked tweets by Andy Brandt, Marc Loeffler (aka scrumphony), Pawel Brodzinski and Robert Dempsey (for the two latter, it’s not only tweets, but their presentations that I enjoyed) .  As opposed to most attendees,  I didn’t very much like the closing show by Gwyn Morfey and Laurie Young. The guys have done a great show, but it was more about dramatic presentation of what’s going on in any dynamic agile team :) I’ve seen a bit of those “paper sword fights” :)

After attending Agile 2009 in Chicago, I’ve really got a little bit skeptical on the conferences overall because what I’ve seen was people talking about simple truths but with such an air as if they were uttering epiphanies. So, when going to Agile CE I wasn’t expecting epiphanies. It was more about going out there with our team, watching people and taking every opportunity to enjoy everything that comes up on the way  (including live jazz night in Krakow).

This approach worked better than huge expectations. Strangely, this small cosy conference has become an unexpected source of inspiration.  In a sense,  that it’s not always you have to come up with an excellent new topic or idea no one else knows about. The main thing about conferences is confidence and freedom to express yourself, share your personal experience and absorb experience of others. Somehow someone will find it useful. There’s no need to be afraid to appear too simple. People will listen and admire  even if this is your first experience as a speaker.

And.. it’s great that there’re many more agile conferences to come :)

  • lisacrispin

    Great advice to not be afraid to appear too simple. We all go to conferences to learn and share ideas.

    I also like the “small cosy” conferences the best, though big conferences such as Agile 2009 have their small cosy moments. When I go to a conference, I end up feeling inspired as much or more by the participants I get to talk to casually as I do from presentations – though there are sometimes inspiring presentations.

    There might not be any truly new ideas under the sun, but sometimes when I hear an idea in a new context or from a new perspective it suddenly becomes useful to me.

  • http://blog.adsdevshop.com/ Robert Dempsey

    Great points Olga. It was great getting to meet you at AgileCE. Perhaps I'll see you at Open Agile Romania?

    I've had the same experience as you when it comes to conferences, and I've seen speakers yell at attendees for not “doing Scrum correctly,” which as we know is a load of crap. Anyhow, I digress.

    AgileCE was a great experience for me as well. I learned a lot, met a ton of awesome people, and formed solid relationships. It was very different than many conferences I've attended. I hope to experience this again soon.

  • http://twitter.com/dinaddan Marcin Niebudek

    I agree with you Olga to some point, but would like to stress one thing. Especially in our region (Central and Eastern Europe) conferences like AgileCE, AgileEE or OpenAgile Romania created a great set of small and (what is very important) affordable agile events.

    I would expect that those conferences will be attended not only by experienced agile practitioners but as well by those who just started their experiments with all kinds of agile flavors. So for them such conferences may be full of epiphanies.

    So I agree that we don't expect most of the conferences to bring some groundbreaking discoveries, however if I listen to any conference talk and I can say that I'm left with at least one idea or thought that I should look into after such a talk, then it was worth listening even if most of the things were not so new to me.

    So with epiphanies or not… we want them more :-)

  • indigo777

    agree on small cosy moments for Agile 2009: to me one of those moments were Jurgen Appelo's presentation and Jared Spool's ending key-note (not that small and cosy, but head-blowing :)

  • indigo777

    You're right, Marcin. Experience agile practitioners should make something like “conferences within a conference”. For the above mentioned Agile 2009, it's been done by breaking down presentation based on the level of knowledge. For small conferences, this can be done as lightning talks or jam sessions for agile connoisseurs :)

  • indigo777

    It's been a pleasure meeting you, Robert :) I wouldn't be able it to make to Open Agile Romania this time. Look forward to reading your blogs posts and tweets about this conference :)

  • Olivia Jennifer

    Certifications will definitely increase the
    salary significantly. For project management professionals, I would suggest
    them to attend any genuine agile scrum
    certification
    courses (eg. Scrum
    Master Certification
    ). If not anything, at least it will give a boost
    to your career and salary.

  • Olivia Jennifer

    :- After thinking over for quite a while
    about whether to go for PMP or SCRUM certification, I opted for a PMP prep course ,
    Instructer was too good and I passed with relative ease. Looking forwards to
    apply what I learned in PMP classes in
    my company.

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