Agile Tour Toronto 2012 is probably the first Agile conference I attended fully aware of my purpose to learn, share, steal ideas and use everything I could hear around.
One year after, I decided to attend as a speaker. I submitted two sessions and one of them got selected, the one where I would present solo. The idea I had submitted was not new and for some, the concept of T shaped people was quite familiar. I had about 2 months to prepare the slides and refine the game I had in mind to play. The very fist slide I created for this presentation had this picture.
I find this photo very funny but also captures the message I wanted to pass to people that are "thrown" into Agile teams and feel like they lost their identity by becoming "just" a team member. And off course I was tweaking the deck till last minute, trying to make it better. I am pleased to report that the session went well and I got some really good feedback in the grade of "9 out of 10". Off course some criticism too, but nothing lower than "6 out of 10".
What made a difference this time, was that I changed my participation from "Attending" to "Presenting". I also decided to help with reviews of the submissions, twitting about it, paired up on CoachClinic, etc. This year I wanted to make Agile Tour Toronto better experience. What I learned, in no particular order:
- It is pretty much a full time job to put together an event like that. Considering that the guys and girls doing the work are volunteers, Kudos to all of them for the extra time, effort and passion they put into making things happen!
- Gift bags have awesome chocolates! So good, I didn't want to share them with my family
- It's a great event to hang out with other Agilistas in Toronto. I feel now part of this "Agile family" where a number of familiar faces have found ways to stay connected and have a beer together once in a while.
- There is always something new to learn. Not just for beginners, but also for the experienced ones. The trick is to use it right away when you go back to work.
- There are quite a few technical people in Toronto and together they make a fine group of Software crafters
- Projectors of the hotel do not work with my laptop. I really appreciate the previous speaker in my room and also my colleague Gino Marckx for leaving his laptop back so I could use it for my presentation.
- A good keynote speaker sets the stage properly and pumps up the blood in the right way. Gojko did a really good job with his "Make impact" message.
- The number of people that want to participate on these events gets higher every year.
- Sponsors on booths are not all about selling. Some want to "buy" you
- There is always room for improvements
- There are about 5 Firkin pubs downtown Toronto and sometimes you might book your event on the wrong one (or they might forget that you booked)