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Navigating your way through Agile2015

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Is this your first time going to Agile2015? You’re not alone – it’s my first time too – but from what I understand this isn’t your mother’s tech conference.

So I asked Agile consultant and author Linda Rising, who’s speaking at the conference and is a veteran, for some advice for first-timers.

Don’t overthink it

If you’ve never been to an Agile conference, her best piece of advice is to just throw a dart (metaphorically of course) and go where it leads. Too much studying the schedule and planning out your time is kind of anti the whole Agile mindset, she said. “There is intense competition to speak here and all of the panels have been heavily vetted,” she explained. “You really can’t make a bad choice.”

Expand your horizons

Even if you’re a tester, don’t go to panels just about testing, she suggested. “Just go to one and then count on serendipity to get you where you need to be,” she said. The whole point of this conference of 2000 people is to have the “chance encounter” where you’ll learn something unexpected and meaningful.

Expect the unexpected

Because this is an Agile conference, it can seem a bit like a free for all to the uninitiated, she warned. But that’s kind of the point. “It’s in a big open space with people coming and going, someone’s coaching over there, someone’s joining a session late, someone’s leaving a session early,” she explained. “This is not a normal conference. Anybody can do anything and that’s kind of the idea.”

Get your game on

Games are a big part of the whole Agile experience so expect that in almost any session you attend there will be a period when a game is proposed. Part of the reason for that is to keep people engaged, Rising explained, and part of it is to tap in to our “right-brain creativity.” I’m not sure I have much/any right-brain creativity, but I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

You’ll want to download the app

Or, maybe you really shouldn’t download the conference app (here’s the link for the iphone version), Rising said. “All of that planning and scheduling – and an app – that just doesn’t seem very Agile to me. You should be agile and not over think this.”

Personally, I’m downloading the app (!) because I am paid to over think this. As for the rest of you newbies, I’d go with Linda’s advice.

Let me know if you’d like to meet up for an Agile chat – and I’d particularly like to meet other first timers.