Those of you who read my blog, or follow my twitter account will have seen that I co-run a meet-up called Agile on the Bench. This summer we are taking the idea forward to a one day conference in a campsite.
A conference has always been in the back of our minds as to where we wanted to take the idea. Early on we talked about what the minimum requirements of a good conference were, now things are going well with the lunchtime event, we have taken those requirement to create the minimum viable conference. The most important things for me were:
It’s accessible – both financially and by location (to London)
Many conferences are expensive and often prohibitively. If you don’t have a large training budget to call on, or an organisation that will pay your travel fees and accommodation (on top of the ticket), then you just can’t go. We made it so this conference was inexpensive, just £35 and aside from finding a tent, there are not additional accommodation requirements. We’re doing this through keeping the costs low, not making any profit (or fees for ourselves) and gathering some sponsorship. We’ve also kept it close to London and on the central line, so for those in London, travel is just a tube fair.
It’s got some great content and people will learn
Our talks at the lunch time events have been really interesting, there is often different takes on what agile means, e.g. how transparency helped turn around a pasta factory or how the making of Blondie’s parallel lines is like an agile project, we are asking that speaker proposals are equally as interesting. We are also sticking firmly to our no slides rule, so it really is all about the talks.
It’s good for networking
Most conferences are great for networking, so there isn’t much we needed to do extra here. We are keeping the conference small and friendly and giving people lots of opportunities to get up and talk or share a beer around a campfire.
It’s easy to organise
This is really important to me, both David (my co-organiser) and I do a lot already. We both work, run meet ups, run businesses, I’m writing a book, David has 2 children… you get the idea. We’re also not making any money out of this, so it’s important that we are able to fit in the conference around our existing work so we can enjoy it too.
It’s camping, that is fun!