This week I’m at Agile 2017, both as a speaker and as an attendee. Since I’m having such a great time I thought I’d share some of my experiences from the conference.

The conference

Agile 2017 takes place in Orlando, Florida this year and is a 5-day event with agilists from all over the world gathering to share experiences and learn.

I’d like to start off by highlighting what an open and welcoming conference this is. While I haven’t been to hundreds of these things, I have seen my fair share and Agile 2017 is unique in several ways. It’s a big conference to start with, with over 2200 people attending this year. Even with that large number of people, it’s surprisingly low-key. People are open to chat and mingle, are kind and show lots of respect. Finally, even though there’s groups of people from a large number of companies, they’re all very inclusive and open to others joining them. I’ve never before experienced this kind of atmosphere, not even at smaller conferences.

Major highlights

The major highlights from the conference so far were the keynotes from David Marquet and Jez Humble.

David kicked off the conference on Monday when he spoke about his experiences from his book ‘Turn this Ship Around’. It was an inspiring presentation about self-organization and leadership and engagement at every level of the organization.

Jez spoke about continuous delivery and while interesting to see up-to-date facts and figures (like that Amazon releases every 11.6 seconds on weekdays) most of it was familiar to me. Until he started with his bonus material: a 15-minute session in which he totally annihilated James Damore’s “manifesto” and highlighted some of the most important contributions women have made in IT. The audience was in full and total agreement, having given several rounds of applause and leaving some in tears.

Speaking

I am a speaker at this conference, which I consider to be a great honor. Wednesday afternoon (3:45pm) was my turn and even though it was the third day of the conference at the end of the day, a sizeable crowd showed up to my presentation. The presentation went reasonable well (I made some last minute changes which, at certain moments, made it a little uncomfortable for me as I had to look up what I had planned next), interaction was good and I got some great feedback to improve the presentation even further for future speaking opportunities.

After having lived to this moment for months, after it being over me and a colleague celebrated (he had become a PST – Professional Scrum Trainer – that day) with a nice drink in the bar. Major milestone reached, up to the next one!

Closing

The conference is still ongoing with at least two great sessions still coming up. The sponsor area has just closed, which is a shame really as it was a great place to meet people and talk about this, but with the conference party coming up later today there should be no shortage of opportunities to mingle.

Once the conference is over I’ll share part two, so stay tuned for that.