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How to Get the Most Out of Agile2017

Summer heat not hot enough for you? Let’s head to Orlando, Florida for Agile2017!!

It’s that time of year again when the top minds in the Agile community from all over the globe get together in North America to cover the latest trends, news and techniques in the Agile world. The Agile Alliance has set up an amazing set of keynote and session speakers who are bringing the absolute latest concepts surrounding Agile delivery and helping make users great. This year there will be some added “next-level” twists from a content perspective. So in keeping with the theme from last year’s blog on what to know and do in attending the conference...read on!

How to Get the Most Out of Agile2017

Plan Ahead of Time

There is simply no way to attend every session at the conference no matter how hard you try. Each day there are dozens of valuable sessions. Try this technique: Review the schedule in advance and mark the sessions that appear to interest you the most. If you are representing an organization who is working to become more Agile, think of the areas you feel they could use the most help and try to zero in on the sessions that fit that criteria. If you are representing a solutions provider, you are generally looking for the latest concepts, techniques and trends. Look for sessions that appear to provide the latest content on Agile techniques and you might just learn something new in addition to finding a possible partner in delivery.

Create Your Own Custom Schedule

If you go to the conference website, you can sign up and create your own catered schedule which also allows the conference to know how popular a certain session might be in case they need a larger room. This can be loaded on your smartphone and becomes very convenient when determining where you need to be, when and how to get there. Don’t lock in on only one session. These sessions fill out fast and people get there upwards of 30 minutes before the session to secure their seat. Due to fire regulations, they HAVE to lock out the room at a certain headcount. So...either get there early or have a backup session you can get to; perhaps a couple backup sessions (never a bad idea in case the session you thought was interesting turns out not to be). As a last resort, if everything is either not what you expected or filled up, head on over to the lightning sessions that go on during various intervals while main sessions are running. You can often get great little tidbits from those 15-minute lightning sessions that could make the entire conference worth the money.

Say Yes to Social Events

After each day of activity, there are numerous networking opportunities available. From vendor sponsored events to conference sponsored events, there is no lack of things to do. Ask around and find out who is sponsoring these after-events and visit the booth of the company sponsoring it. Often you will receive an invite to a great event and you might even find a new partner in Agile delivery either as a client or a provider!

Fill Your Bag with Swag

My favorite part...swag. I’m a swag junkie. My kids are walking billboards for ALM tool companies and consulting firms. I personally come home with as much of it as I can and pour it all out in front of my kids like a conference bag shaped piñata that just burst open. They love it. I love it! As much as I may have a less business focused reason for visiting all the booths (raffles and prizes), inevitably I find myself talking for hours with different companies about what they do and always come away with a handful I plan to follow up with because it makes sense for both of us to find a way to work together. Try to stop by and see everybody, and find out what they do. There are some places I planned to swoop in unnoticed like an eagle diving for its prey in order to grab that transformer pen\robot thingy at their table only to find myself standing there receiving a valuable education on the latest ALM tool I know would make life easier for a specific client of mine. (Caution: Shameless Plug #1) Swing by the MATRIX booth to speak with our folks and play our Plinko board to win some pretty awesome prizes, including a Google Home. You won’t regret it!

Finally, one of the hits of the conference last year was the addition of the Future of Agile track. This track was dedicated to concepts surrounding what the future holds for Agile methods in the eyes of the people who work to have their pulse on that very subject. This year, there are tracks and sessions dedicated to not only The Future of Agile but also The Future Agile Company. (Caution: Shameless Plug #2) Tony Shawver and myself will be tag-teaming this very topic during our session Tuesday morning entitled Holistic Agile: Developing the Future Agile Company. If you’re interested in hearing about the concept of a holistic approach to organizational application of agility and the principles\techniques that would support such a change, swing by!

For the Agile community, this is the conference we look forward to every year. Oh sure, there are regional, organizational, process oriented, etc. conferences around the world about Agile. But this is the one everyone wants to get to. It is attended by 45+ countries and last year was the largest Agile gathering ever. If you’re planning to attend, swing by the MATRIX booth and say hi. We look forward to seeing you there!

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