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Agile India 2012 Conference Feedback

Things that the participants liked/worked well:

Speakers

  • Diversity among the speakers was fantastic. (148 expert practitioners from 18 Countries)
  • Speakers from various parts of the world made the conference very rich and most of them were hands on people. discussions were very productive.
  • Good mix of presenters – experienced vs. practicing, Indian vs. International, etc.
  • Speakers mix (national and international both). Great variety of speakers
  • Great agile spirit presented in Naresh’ welcome speak :-)
  • None of the talks were marketing oriented.
  • Majority of the time, folks with Hands-on experience (and not academicians) were speaking
  • More participation from Agile practitioners than Agile Sellers
  • Calibre of local Bangalore speakers was excellent. I had no idea we had such high-quality speakers in India
  • High quality and moving key note session from Freeset.
  • Good setup for the review of speakers and the fact that speakers were chosen months before the conference started. It could have been better, but it was a good experience for me.
  • Mix of people from start ups and great organizations(This helps us understand the people with core knowledge and also the people who define the trend).
  • Good to interact with quality speakers from all over the world
  • Large number of non-Indian / non-US speakers that speaks about the diversity of Agile implementations.
  • Most of the speakers were fantastic. Frankly best technical conference I have attended in Bangalore.
  • International quality speakers (people invited from around the world)

Program/Content

  • The proper amalgamation of workshop, practice talk, introductory talk and expert talk
  • Variety of experienced topics and amount to practitioner topics where people shared real experience rather than how it should have been textbook gyaan.
  • It covered most of the Agile aspects & most of the sessions were interesting.
  • Spoiled for choice. Had a difficult time choosing which session to attend.
  • Workshops were very effective and engaging
  • No frills – No ceremonial processes such as introduction, session chair, summery etc.
  • Lightning talks gave a forum where young speakers could also get a chance to talk
  • Research Presentations and experience reports were very good
  • Conference consisting of Various tracks (Leadership, Experience..).
  • Great to hear the individual experiences(Experience report)
  • Three streams going in parallel (introductory, practicing & expert)
  • Mix of various topics from leadership to programming practices.
  • Having workshops where people could “feel” the topic and learn quickly

Audience

  • Participants across multiple cultures, countries, companies.. (750 participants from 21 countries working for 230 odd companies..wow!)
  • Quality of Audience (attracted the right mix of people – hard-core techies, managers, company owners, etc)
  • Opportunity to see what is happening outside India not having to travel outside India.
  • Lots of smart people. I was learning constantly, whether I was in a session or networking outside.
  • The volume of discussions, it’s a choice within a choice. A must have going forward.
  • Excellent selection of tracks and organization by stages
  • Excellent networking opportunities
  • Almost all the attendees were very collaborative
  • I was blown away by the passion of the organizers and participants
  • Looking at the crowd, I could not believe this was being held for the first time
  • Wide spectrum of participants brought good cultural mix
  • Excellent and very knowledgeable and participative attendees who added value to the talks
  • The crowd – amazing global audience
  • Opportunity to meet & interact with people from different organizations
  • Good Q&A
  • The speakers to delegate ratio was fantastic.

Logistics

  • Personal attention given to take care of every need of the speakers by the organizers from the beginning was something I’ve never seen in any other conferences and logistics were up to standard.
  • Great turnout – the conference is eventually known by the enthusiasm and feedback from its attendees, even more than the lineup of speakers.
  • And off-course the enthusiasm of volunteers and the punctuality was superb
  • Organizing the whole program, guess no single Talk/Session was changed, cancelled or rescheduled.
  • Attention to details – best organized conference attended so far
  • Excellent Event Management
  • Keep up the good location!! That means a lot for a conference:-)
  • Good event handling, lot’s of information everywhere. Nice location (although a little pricy for non-speakers).
  • Good website with lots of relevant information (especially the program). Good use of social media (blogs, twitter) before the conference.
  • Meticulous arrangements. Began and ended on the dot for most part.
  • Detailed Schedule Was provided to each participants, so that they could clearly schedule their time !!
  • Several tracks –so we had the chance to opt out of Non interesting sessions.
  • Thank you! I really enjoyed be part of the conference. I really appreciate: Good speakers, Friendly people around and Tasty food
  • Information flow – right from pre conference mails, to the finish. Hence, there was no confusion.
  • Simplicity of it all – the participants, the organizers, the content.
  • Choice of venue – centrally located, easy to access, spaces that were created within…be it the coffee shop, boardroom, open space etc
  • By and large, the whole event management was extremely smooth. I didn’t come across any major issues.
  • Three days was actually a good length of the conference. Agile 2011 at Salt Lake City felt long, but this was the right size. My personal opinion is to retain the format.
  • Organization – Right from the submissions till the agile program guide sent a day ahead
  • Time management – On dot start and ending of sessions.
  • Timeliness – All sessions were held as per the schedule
  • Display of Topic Info on each conference room entrance.
  • Greatly appreciate all the hard-work and passion of organizers
  • Collaboration with the vendors. The booth space could use improvement, but the ability to talk in-depth with them was helpful.

What could be improved:

Speakers

  • The star speakers with big names and titles did not offer much – they were regurgitating old stuff; whereas I found the young practitioners had more to say….
  • Time Management from some Speakers were not proper. Most of the time, because of shortage of time, the crux of the session was expedited or never discussed.
  • Some of the sessions had very open ended discussions & workshops which could be more informative & address some agile related issues.
  • Better panel discussion ( they got the right members but the discussion was not good enough)
  • Workshops conducted in the limited time were very superficial, they should be made more effective in the available time or dropped
  • There were 3-4 talks which I attended where the speaker had to rush through the slides as the initial slides took more time than anticipated.
  • Couple of speakers did not have appropriate presentation skills
  • Quality of some sessions (some sessions were particularly under-prepared, even though the topic itself could deserve more attention; pay attention to speaker quality)
  • The way some workshops were conducted. Some speakers just presented what the audience came up with suggestions without correcting those suggestions. There were totally wrong suggestions came from audience but speakers never corrected them. The bad thing about this is that rest of the audience accepted those suggestions as correct.
  • Some of the stage producers should not disturb the presenter while they are doing the presentation(this doesn’t mean that they cant share there ideas)
  • Expert speakers should talk in the beginning and in the end to hold the crowd.

Program/Content

  • Too many streams…it was very difficult to choose what to select.
  • Problem of Plenty ! It was not possible to attend all the interesting talks.
  • Too many good sessions in same slots..I could not be everywhere :-)
  • Number of tracks – every track was interesting and it was really hard to choose one for a specific slot
  • 7 tracks was not a good thing. At least not when the 7 tracks had kind of the same audience. If a conference has a track for .NET, one for Java, one for managers and one for testers it’s a different story.
  • Reduce number of parallel tracks
  • We had 6-7 parallel sessions. This made the choice of picking up the most relevant sessions a bit difficult for attendees. We need to re-look at how many sessions we should have in future conferences
  • Too many tracks; to be precise 7 tracks running at the same time. Ideally 4 would have been a good number.
  • 2 days of conference would be plenty – but perhaps 1 day extra for workshops/certifications?
  • Experience sharing sessions were boring
  • Scheduling interesting talks in the same time(although i agree about the value proposition)
  • Session duration should not be more that 45-60mins
  • Scheduling – Not having time to get between sessions
  • Some sessions could have more content & concrete experiences related to retro, planning, review etc
  • Would love to have more keynote sessions
  • Speakers and hence the contents should go several reviews. There were few sessions that were totally cumbersome.
  • Not much take-aways. Most of us are agile practitioners,so it did not help much when a few speakers just explained stuffs on Agile. Some best approaches with real-life results/some kind of workshops should be better. Research approach was good, but yet, it was more explaining again on Agile. Everyone knows a successful agile implementation needs Self-organized teams. These things should have been reviewed before are taken up in conference agenda.
  • Too many introductory talks, we would expect a large number of people already practicing agile and lean so we could cut down on that and focus on extended research on improvement and experiences with both.
  • The open space wasn’t well utilized
  • Lightning talks should have been more prominent
  • Some of the Sessions were repetitive (Ex: Track 7 – Using Lean practice in Agile Fixed Bid Project, Implementation of Lean Concepts….. An Industrial Case Study, they was just the same)
  • Not many hands-on development workshops, more talks.
  • Back to back sessions resulted in a few presenters getting less time ( a major problem for half hour sessions)
  • Selection of papers needs improvement. Some presentations were not engaging enough.
  • Lot of repetition. May be this is good for new comers. But someone like me who has been attending AgileIndia meets, found the same story being repeated for the past 6+ years
  • Coaches Corner and Open Space were a good idea, but were a little too free form which prevented consistent benefit from the forums

Audience

  • Maybe this is trivial. Maybe the Veg food was more to balance out the expenses uniformly. But i heard someone remark on only veggie food…people perceptions.
  • Audience was too noisy sometimes in most the sessions. (Specially when it comes to a workshop), I was wondering whether they understood the difference between a ‘discussion’ and ‘just talking’. This made me bit difficult to get the maximum of some workshops.
  • Maybe trim down the numbers to 600, so that sessions are not so crowded
  • Some folks from sponsor stall where quite reluctant to talk to people who might not look like their potential customers.
  • Movement of attendees from one room to another (shopping around syndrome!) – Were the speakers not doing good? or were the participants restless? Don’t know.
  • Some rooms are fully packed and found it difficult to follow what was happening

Logistics

  • Every other room than Coronet was almost always overflowing (can we view this as tremendous success for the conference??)
  • Some sessions we had to stand and couldn’t participate as much as we would like to have.
  • A small thing was the bad internet connection on the Wi-Fi. But as you said, it was arranged in the last minute. Perhaps it should have been a focus area early on.
  • Venue had multiple floors that just made things confusing
  • Bigger conference rooms
  • There were no chairs sometime and had to stand throughout the session. Seating arrangement could have been more dynamic seeing attendees.
  • It would be good to keep the conference on weekdays, leaving weekends for family time
  • The tea coupons were not even asked for. Probably, we can save printing those
  • 3 days was bit long…..
  • First day registration (tag at one place, kit bag in another place far away…) could be improved
  • Room sizes (one of the room I was speaking ‘Utsav’ was very small. People were standing for most past)
  • Some rooms ware small to accommodate the people due to the popularity of the topic (e.g. Utsav room)
  • Share presentations from the talks sooner after the talk completes
  • Conference Material in the form of url/cd will be good to have
  • Not enough breakout sessions in between the presentations to interact with other speakers or attendees
  • 5-10 mins break between sessions would help the transition.
  • Distribution of tasks for organizing – some people were overloaded with most of the efforts
  • Book stall did not have too many books on Agile. Moreover it was not there on Day 2 and Day 3
  • No time between the sessions (it can be 5 mins at-least, had to literally run)
  • I was looking for notepad, could have given with the bag
  • There was no proper common meeting space between the talks. One room was far away from the rest of the rooms forcing people to choose between the two places
  • Registration process was not at efficient, why should I register, then collect conference bag somewhere else? Then I also had to get schedule separately. It should all be in one place. First impressions last :-)
  • I had no idea where or who the stage producers or organizers, lack of visibility
  • Found that many a sessions had a lot of people (beyond the capacity of the room), I know its quite difficult to control that, but something that we can try to improve upon.
  • More Parallelization during registration of participants
  • Some people had to stand, some interesting sessions were given smaller rooms.
  • The seating arrangements was different in different rooms – will have preferred the table with 10 seats layout across all rooms to foster better interactivity between the attendees
  • Lack of immediate feedback forms for the attendees to assess whether they got value from the session they attended
  • The signage at the conference needs to be improved and in place prior to attendees arriving.
  • I want black, strong, coffee and tea without milk.
  • Internet connectivity. Wi-Fi worked well Friday PM, Saturday AM, and again Sunday PM, but I couldn’t use it most of the remaining time.

Based on this feedback, we’ve made the following improvements to Agile India 2013.


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