Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Agile Open Northwest 2008

Last year we held an open space in Portland at the Kennedy School focused around the theme, “Agile for real.” The response was so positive that we’re picking up the conversation again at the Seattle convention center March 18 and 19. I’m happy to get to renew connections with folks I met last year and excited to meet some new folks and hear their agile experiences. Attendance is limited to 100. Registration is filling fast. We’ve kept the price low ($100) so that even if your company can’t afford to send you, you might still attend. Most who’ve registered so far are from Seattle, but this is a northwest regional conference. So expect a few of us from Portland and elsewhere in the northwest to show up, too. And maybe even some folks from further away. We hope to see you there!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agile Open Northwest 2009.
I did not find this event useful, or good value at $125. There were a lot of unemployed people, and corporate people there seeking education, and I didn't see them being helped.

This is like an auto-mechanic's coffee-chat for auto-mechanics, not newbies, but this isn't stated. (Info covered was no better than any other techie club meeting at a pub.) Nobody has anyway to know if the other guy is a real mechanic, fake, or terrible. The event has no official speakers or experts that you can check credentials on.

Format of the event is like a massive role-playing game, at the start of the event random people off the street spontaneously declare topics, and go off and discuss. Nobody is policing massive redundancy or content quality of topics. I found a lot of redundancy, or very superficial mentions on books people had read & what people were trying at work. Very little usable information, practical steps to implement, etc.

There are consultants seeking to appear like experts and build their consulting biz, who are volunteering to talk about things. Impossible to check if they are any good.

One "presenter" had us playing a game that turned into a violent wrestling match over office chairs, and people were getting very wild, sweating, whipping at each other's faces with office chairs.

Other presentations were "trying to go Agile in a non-Agile Company", a repeated topic over and over, and they were all very vague bitch sessions.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Rebecca Wirfs-Brock said...

So one thing about an open space conference is that you get to vote with your feet. That means that if a particular session isn't intriguing, you can move on to one of the other 10 things going on. It is OK to do that. And expected. I know that when I found myself wandering, I wandered on to something else. And even though some things were repeated themes (like how User Experience design happens on agile projects), each session I went to that brough it up had a slightly different spin. I went away from AONW with a list of books I want to buy and read and a couple of new connections with folks that are going to continue. I even got to talk with soeone who was working on a DSL book at one time and is now working on facilitation patterns. Amazing to me the range of some people's interests.

Sorry you didn't enjoy the conference.

It is not a format that works for everybody. And if you do ever decide to attend another one--consider proposing a couple of sessions on topics that you have passion around. (Not sure if you did or not)

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry dude, everybody I know has to justify the time-off and expense to either a BOSS, or family & bills if they are unemployed. Serious Return on Investment, or else.
So if --after we PAY--it turns out to be: SURPRISE!! NO verifiable expert speakers, no serious implementable information that we can immediately implement at work, or the next job--just vague chatter by schmos off the street..
--Well, That can be a HUGE credibility destroyer with the boss, etc. (No, the "unconference format" not clear & upfront on the website.)
My other friends are KISSING the ground they did NOT sell this conference to a boss or take time off from work. At this time, a credibility-killer like this could make or break their job.
Yes, we did keep voting with our feet, kept looking for something seriously implementable, nothing.
We've gone to other tech-conferences & club meetings--way more useful. I think people there have more credibility to lose, so are more accountable, better presentations, handouts, websites, references.
So, if it's supposedly "purely for Agile experts", but then why are there beginner Agile topics repeatedly proposed, but dealt with so very poorly?
Hmm, Yes, if I were to propose & Host topics: it would be to repeat those failed beginner Agile topics, and then I'd have recruited (before the event) some verifiable experts, and we'd develop some Looong sessions, with presentations, references, etc. Cover bullets listed on homepage www.agileopennorthwest.com (that we believed would actually be answered!! HAHAHAHA yeah)

12:59 AM  

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