SPA 2009: A Retrospective

What I liked about the conference

  • Recognising familiar faces from last year’s conference and getting to know the people behind the faces
  • Seeing new faces and getting to know those folks, too!
  • Pitching Agile by David Harvey and Peter Marks – David and Peter made us think hard about what the Agile way of working brings in comparison with other approaches and how to scale the Agile Enablement in large, distributed organisations
  • Pairing: Beyond Programming by John Daniels and Dave Cleal – the session was an excellent mix of facilitation and different types of individual, pair and group activities to encourage us to develop a deeper understanding of why pairing is valuable
  • Catching up with Agilistas from XPDays Benelux and XPDay France
  • Running a followup workshop to The Business Value Game with Pascal and Vera where we learn to apply the game’s principles and techniques
  • Running the conference as a non-residential conference
  • Learning and improving: the conference has improved significantly as a result of last year’s feedback
  • SPA provides a friendly place where folks can be courageous and try things out

What would make SPA perfect*

  • Practice the Agile principle of ‘signing up for work’: Invite session presenters and shepherds to match themselves up to improve sessions together
  • Include details of the session format in the programme session description
  • Give presenters the option to present a 15-minute (abridged) version of their session prior to the conference to practice and receive feedback
  • Re-introduce Official One Minute Presentations (OOMPs) at the start of each day to help participants decide which session to go to
  • Non-residential and residential conferences provide different experiences – perhaps we could alternate between the two one year from the next?
  • Have a mix of shorter and longer scheduled sessions to increase the diversity of topics, perspectives, presenters and participants

My conference takeaway

Agile is about delivering the highest business value possible faster by focusing on people and Continuous Improvement. To change the organisations we work in (or with) for the better, the most important question to answer is this: ‘What’s the smallest action we can take as an individual to become more agile today?’

* The format of this retrospective is known as The Perfection Game. It’s a great way of sharing feedback, bearing in mind that ‘Perfect is something we aspire to, it’s elusive by design‘.

2 Responses to “SPA 2009: A Retrospective”

  1. Games Galore at Agile 2009! | Selfish Programming writes:

    […] valuable feedback we’ve had from playing with our numerous client teams, conference goers and fellow Agilistas around the […]

  2. 2009: A Personal Retrospective | Selfish Programming writes:

    […] Pairing: Beyond Programming by John Daniels and Dave Cleal at SPA 2009 – What a fun-filled and meaningful session! by Jenni Dow and Ole Jepsen at Agile 2009 which reminded me of the importance of listening to create rapport and understanding. […]

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