Conference survival strategies

Tuesday, August 5, 2008 – 4:31 AM

This year’s agile conference is bigger, and better than before. This leads to the problem of what the hell to go and listen to. Here’s my strategy for the week…

1) Select some key topics you want to learn more about and prioritize. For Agile ’08 I’m looking to learn more about:

  1. Distributed agile teams
  2. Large scale agile projects
  3. Better development practices
  4. Lean

The first two are things I’m committed to delivering some guidance in the distributed and large scale agile implementation space. I figure as the p&p Development Manager I should probably have something to say on number three and four is there because I keep saying I should know more about this.

2) Pick out the most interesting sessions of the day then then prioritize. You’ll end up with more events than you can go to. De-prioritize sessions if you can get the information elsewhere. If the session is being videoed or the speaker has a good book.

Today I’m skipping Alan Shallaway’s session on Lean, not because it’s not going to be any good but because I’m half way through Mary’s book on Lean.

3) Ask other people about the speakers. Ask other people if they’re heard a particular speaker before and what they were like. This can help you waste time in sessions that probably aren’t going to be that good. Let’s just leave it at that.

4) Don’t just go to talks. At a talk you get to hear on person’s point of view. If they know their stuff this will be an aggregation of their learnings from many other people. If not well you just spent 90 minutes listening to one person who may or may not have experiences that are relevant to you.

I’m going to a workshop this afternoon on “What Makes Distributed Agile Projects Succeed (or Fail)” because I’m hoping to learn from lots of different people not just one.

5) Hang out. I’ll be hanging out in the open spaces, not just the Open Space. Conferences are about making contacts and just talking to people about what they do and what you’re doing. You both might learn something and too many talks and workshops will burn you out.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.