Looking back at Agile 2009
Another conference has come and gone. I’m home. I’m exhausted. I’m glad to have good internet connectivity again, and time to sit alone with my thoughts.
I had a fabulous time. Through conferences such as this one, I now have dozens of friends from around the world that I rarely get to see. I really enjoy getting together face to face. Missa vitussa se poro on. (I hope I’ve spelled that correctly.) And I spent time with friends that I previously only knew from Twitter and email. And I met new friends that I’d not known before. All of that was thrilling. (I also didn’t get a chance to talk with some friends whom I know attended. Life is like that.)
I attended some great sessions. I attended some sessions that were less great, but very interesting to me. I attended some sessions that were great, but less interesting to me. I didn’t attend any that were terrible. I suppose there might have been some bad ones. I heard rumors of such, but I’m not sure whether that’s an indication of the session or the expectations of the person reporting it. I also didn’t attend sessions. I didn’t attend some sessions because
- there was another session I attended instead,
- the session was full,
- I thought that I’d done something similar in the past,
- it was a “talking head” presentation (which I have a prejudice against),
- I wanted to give some energy to the Live Aid project to support Agile Philanthropy,
- I wanted to chill out in Open Jam and relax with casual conversation, or
- I forgot until it was too late.
I didn’t maximize my time. There is no optimization for life. Instead, whether doing something that seemed important or something that seemed trivial, I merely tried to be in the present time, in the present location. “Be here, now.” Or, as Lyssa Adkins said in Build Your Team’s Collaboration Muscle, “be in present time.” I left Slack for myself, rather than fill every moment with The Most Important Thing. I highly recommend this technique.
I could talk about specific sessions and events I found enjoyable or helpful. I could talk about things that I found annoying. Certainly not everything was perfect. It’s a human endeavor, after all. Instead, I’d like to talk about what can be done to make Agile 2010 even better.
Jim Newkirk, the Conference Chair for Agile 2010, invited me to the conference retrospective. This was mostly populated with stage producers and stage assistants. I had been merely a stage reviewer, and was initially hesitant. I was happy to find that I could add a little value to this retrospective, and I found that there was a topic about which I was passionate that was important to many.
There were many concerns about the session selection process for this year’s conference. I had concerns both from the vantage point of a reviewer on the inside of the process, and from the vantage point as a session author on the outside. Finding that others had similar concerns, and different concerns about the same process, I volunteered to collect some of those concerns, organize them and summarize them, and report them to Jim for use in planning Agile 2010. I also want to collect suggestions for improving the session selection process. Please send your concerns and suggestions to agile2010 -at- gdinwiddie.com or you may leave a comment on this blog posting.
Thanks for your help.