Agile2015 is next week in Washington DC so I thought I’d share some ideas for getting the most out of the conference.
I shared my 5 tips for getting the most out of the Agile Conference last year (they all still apply) so I thought I’d provide pointers to others thoughts on attending conferences and end up with some perspective on the sociology of the conference.
Good Lists of Tips
For every session or talk you attend, write down 1 action that you want to implement. This way, when you look back at your notes this one action will stand out and remind you.
This tip applies to those corridor conversations and Open Jam sessions.
Scott Belsky posted a similar list in his 5 Tips for Making the Most of a Conference. While his tip #4 Plan private gatherings with like-minded folks is a good idea, I’d encourage you to also reach out to people whom you don’t normally talk to. By reaching outside of your tribe, you just may learn something very helpful for you back at work. My goal for Agile2015 is to soak in thoughts from product management and user experience. Two areas I could use more exposure to.
Finally, Rebecca Knight explained How to Get the Most Out of a Conference in a Harvard Business Review blog. I like her ideas because they provide a lot of good advice for introverts attending a conference. Pay special attention to her suggestions of do’s and don’ts.
The Sociology of the Conference
As the Agile 20XX conference has grown, the nature of the conference has changed a bit. Chris Matts explored this shift in a couple of posts earlier this year: Communities of Need & Community of Solutions and Agile – The Broken Learning Machine. These posts rather accurately describe the nature of the Agile Conference and I understand the temptation to wistfully look back at the “good old days”. I also realize that the conference is what it is in order for the Agile Alliance to support gatherings of Communities of Need where they arise. I can accept this model because it means that the Agile Alliance is able to support smaller local gatherings (the ones that tend to embody the Communities of Need that Chris describes) without having to travel the primrose path of certification.
I share Chris’ two posts because I want to encourage you to have conversations with the other practitioners at the conference and share your stories, both the successes and the failures. Like Chris, that’s where I’ve gotten the most value out of the Agile conference in the past.
Learn. Listen. Ask questions. Listen more. At the end of the day, take in what is out there, but don’t just do it because ‘they said so’
Good advice, but perhaps even better advice is what he closes with
All you need to do is help people be awesome.
Share your successes, and what you learned from your failures. You’ll find you get much more out of the conference if you do.
Now it’s Your Turn
Let me know in the comments your suggestions for getting the most out of conferences. And if you are going to Agile2015 let me know that as well.
Here are the sessions I’m interested in (I’ve got multiple sessions identified so I can decide at the last responsible moment). Let me know if there’s a session I don’t have listed that I just shouldn’t miss.