Every year I look forward to the annual Agile conference. I enjoy going - meeting new friends, catching up with old ones, and learning so many new things. I think I missed a couple of years here and there, and I regretted it. I felt like something was missing that year. Each time I go, I bring back new ideas to work with my clients and ways to be more Agile.
Last year was the first time I got to speak at a big conference - and I was so happy I got to speak at Agile 2014! And I'm feeling so thankful and blessed to be able to present again (Here's my session and here's a blog post about the theme - UX, Agile and Virtual Teams).
But the learning, friends, and speaking opportunities aren't the only reasons I keep coming back.
It's the personal growth opportunities that come from the energy there.
Personal Growth Opportunities
Believe it or not, it was at an Agile conference where I met a woman at a UX vendor booth (my now friend Janet), who later encouraged me to start writing articles and keeping a regular blog. From there, I aspired to speak at Agile and eventually write a book (I hope that dream will become a reality soon). I never viewed myself as a writer before then, and if I didn't attend the Agile conference that year, I may not have started down that path.
I have also been inspired to experiment with new ideas - learning and using innovation games (which was always a hit! Even on phone calls and in virtual sessions), sketch noting (which has proven to be a great skillset), setups for Agile teams, and ways to better interact with teams and team members. I've implemented these ideas at different client sites and in projects. I am able to stay innovative and current with the flood of ideas at each conference.
And from these experiences, I've been inspired to write new articles and pieces on my blog and stay current on Agile perspectives. And it's from the energy and the ideas that are flowing during those 5 days.
There is an air of informality that invites friendship and comradery balanced with an air of formality to learn how to get things done better. You can have conversations that go on for hours about the benefits of Agile, better practices, or the successes and challenges of various Agile organizations - and it's the energy of the participants and their passion for Agile methodologies that keep you engaged, listening and contributing to the conversations.
Last year, I had a great conversation with some guys from Intel, who were using Agile for hardware development. At that time, I wish I knew some hardware guys at HP to share the Intel guys' passion, insights, and knowledge about making hardware products Agile. I also learned how some other software companies implemented Agile, the challenge project managers can face with it from executive structures that just don't understand what self-managed Agile teams are and how a scrum master guides them without an iron fist. And of course, I had some discussions with UX professionals about what their teams face when engaging with the business and developers and being Agile.
I am very thankful and grateful for this conference, the community it attracts, the knowledgeable people who are willing to share their experience, and the friends I met.
I can't wait to see what this year brings!