London, 8th and 9th October 2014
Review of the 2014 Agile Business Conference – A new venue, a new frontier…
Having attended all the Agile Business Conferences in the last 5 years, would this year’s conference leave me eager to return for more next year?
Held in a new and larger venue, and packed with enough presentations and workshops to keep you more than busy throughout the 2 days, would I learn anything new this time?
The first keynote presentation “The digital transformation of public services” from Mike Beaven hit everyone with a bang; how so many government websites, which were previously full of ‘too much’ information and not immediately intuitive to follow, have been transformed to be much simpler, clearer and faster to use, and how adopting an agile approach was at the heart of this impressive transformation.
This set the tone for the rest of the event, and what followed were some really great sessions covering all aspects of agile. From looking at what makes a team ‘great’, tools and techniques that help achieve successful on-time delivery of projects, to what your users and customers need.
One track that really caught my interest was an interactive workshop run by Matt Roadnight. This showed how to slice your requirements to make more sense of them and for members of your team to gain a common understanding of them. As an interactive session, we weren’t just there to watch but to take part too; and you soon realised it wasn’t as easy as the presenter made it look. However, by using proven techniques such as Matt’s ‘Slicing Grid’, the results suddenly materialised.
Another session saw the conference’s first real live Olympian, Daniel Hunter, present to us about similarities between Olympic and Agile teams working together to achieve their common goal and how they must be adaptive to change in order to succeed. Whilst I won’t become Steve Redgrave in the men’s Olympic rowing team overnight, it certainly left me with lots of inspiration and realisation that you can’t just achieve greatness on your own or through one individual – you need a ‘great’ team around you, motivated and disciplined to achieve.
Dan North was another favourite of mine at the event, delivering a great presentation based on how, in recent times, it seems we may be deviating from the original agile manifesto path and how our agile principles can be cleverly equated to an asymmetric equation.
So, was there enough diversity of information being presented? Were there enough interesting and informative sessions to capture my interest and leave me wanting for more next year? Well, with hands-on practical sessions, some excellent speakers, and enough collective knowledge amongst the several hundred people there to share and tap in to, I’d say it was a resounding ‘yes’, and I now look forward to taking the learning forward in my every day work, and eagerly awaiting what next year’s Agile Business Conference will bring!