Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Agile 2011 – Salt Lake City




Back from agile 2o11, long flight back home and still I cannot sleep. I think I’m seriously jet lagged or tired. So I thought to write a small note on what I’ve experienced.
I like the venue, the hotel Grand America and Little America. It’s an extremely nice place. Salt Lake City was a very nice place to cruise around after the sessions with lots of local bars, restaurants and unforgettable local coffee places.

The conference organizers mentioned that there were 1600 attendees from 48 countries around the world this year. Of course it’s huge. Organizing a conference in this scale could have been really hard work.

Talking about the main part, the sessions:
I honestly think the number of parallel sessions could have been lesser than what we had this year. In most the sessions I noticed that there were very minimal attendees, the rooms were empty. By reducing the sessions, they could maintain the quality of the sessions too. Still I know some may not agree with me, as there are more options and topics, attendees will have a better choice to make.
I enjoyed all most all the sessions I attended, there were quite lots of useful things to learn. Most sessions were very interactive. Looking at some of the sessions, I still feel its better if they try to go deeper in to the subject matters instead discussing the problems what everybody knows about, because the agile users have matured over the years. I felt this in some of the sessions such as performance appraisals and agile coaching. This is something that review committees should discuss next year.
Incremental budgeting was one of the sessions I really expected to turn out well.
As a general comment from attendees, what I heard was that the technical sessions delivered met the expectations of the attendees compared to the sessions of the management track. Still, agile contracts and agile decisions were some of the good ones that I attended in the management track.

My session this year was about KANBAN and use of it in the organizational facilitating functions such as HR department. Its an experience stage presentation, so most the work had to be done before the conference. The paper is published in IEEE and it’s included in the conference CD with loads of other conference papers. Actually there are pretty good papers I spotted in this CD, I need more time to read them.

One of the highlights this year was 10-year anniversary of the signing of the Agile Manifesto "Park Bench" event where most of the original signatories presented in one stage, answering the questions from the attendees. I think that was an inspiring moment to agile enthusiastic.



I enjoyed the round table discussion by agile thought leaders. Once again I got the opportunity to enjoy listening to Dave West, a speaker I admire the most. His true passion, natural style and humor makes him an awesome speaker (that’s my personal view anyway :) ) However thanks to the lady who asked the question about their new research areas, I heard a lot of new stuff which I need to Google and learn more. What excited me the most was to know that use of agile in operational management was one of the new research areas they do (they mentioned some acronym which I cannot remember) My experience report this time was related to that, may be I need to work more on the same paper and practice it for one more year to advance it to the next conference. I don’t know.. Its just a thought..
Out of all 3 key note speeches, I managed to listen to only one which is about psychology: positive thinking.

Conference party was quite a nice experience. I think most the attendees had lots of fun.





I heard there were some really cool sessions in open Jam, one of it has been to present a technique to learn foreign languages without using translations, I wish if I could be in the session, but thankful to my friend who taught me about the technique later. I wish if I could catch up Norwegian language a bit using the same technique.

Using the conference for marketing activities has tremendously increased from last year to this year. Sometimes some of the agile coaches overselling themselves were quite disturbing.

Anyway it was a great conference. This is where I really absorb energy by meeting lots of passionate and enthusiastic people. I really enjoy it. I heard that next year conference chair is Mitch Lacey, Im sure he will do a great job and I look forward to agile 2012 in Texas.


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