‘The best teachers make the best students.’
In my experience, personal agility is rarely tested in a corporate environment. That’s why we need conferences to help us grow. Conferences are an ideal way to learn because they combine theory with practice in an unfamiliar environment. More importantly, they force us to exercise our Agile values: Communication, Simplicity, Feedback, Courage and Respect.
Type 1: International Conferences – Agile 2008
Agile 2008 is a set-based conference with a breadth of topics and renowned speakers such as James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds. Whether you’re a novice or seasoned Agilista there’ll be a great choice of sessions to suit your interests and learning style.
Type 2: European Conferences – XP Days Benelux and XPDay London
The Beneluxian crowd are well-known for their friendliness, inclusivity and innovative approach to session topics, formats and social events. First time speakers are strongly encouraged to submit. The XP Days Benelux Committee prioritises sessions from first time presenters to help grow the Agile Community. What a great idea!
XPDay London will consist of predominantly Open Space sessions this year. It’s a way of injecting innovation into one of the longest running Agile conferences. Watch this space.
Type 3: Technical Conferences – QCon and JAOO
Both QCon and JAOO attract an impressive array of reputable speakers. The majority of sessions are usually in the form of presentations rather than more interactive alternatives such as workshops. Tutorials are available at an extra cost.
Type 4: Conferences in a Foreign Language – Université du SI
Mainstream Agile conferences are becoming multilingual. It’s great news because it increases our sources of learning and appreciation for different cultures. Agile 2008 has an entire track in French this year.
Université du SI is a conference with the most impressive lineup I’ve seen this year to date. Speakers include Neil Armstrong, Bjarne Stroustrup and Eliyahu Goldratt. It’s the conference I’m looking forward to most!
Type 5 – A Random Course or Conference of Your Choice
It’s good to mix things up a bit. Pick a course or conference you wouldn’t normally attend and go. Treat yourself to some real options. Give yourself a chance to learn the unexpected. Most important of all, have fun!