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Presenting Agile Pune 2014 Conference – Nov 21st and 22nd at Hyatt Regency, Pune

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

We are delighted to present Linda Rising and Joshua Kerievsky, as our keynote speakers for the upcoming Agile Pune 2014 Conference. The conference will be hosted at Hyatt Regency, Pune on Nov 21st and 22nd.

The Agile Pune 2014 is a volunteer-run, non-profit event organised by the Agile Software Community of India (ASCI). The goal of the conference is to bring together Agile enthusiasts from around the world to share ideas, socialise, and work together on advancing the state of Agile/Lean Software development.

Simplicity, quick feedback cycles, systems thinking, mistake proofing, transformational leadership, building quality in, relentless improvement via inspect and adapt, evolutionary design, cross-functional collaboration, sustainable pace, self-organisation and safe-fail experimentation are some of the core tenants of the Agile and Lean mindset. They help teams embrace uncertainty and make them more change resilient. This conference is dedicated to deep-dive on these topics.

Agile Pune 2014 is a two-day conference, starting on Nov 21st (Friday), where experts and practitioners from around the world will share their experience on topics related to our theme, “Action Precedes Clarity”. The conference will host 3 parallel tracks. We also plan to host pre-conference workshops to help you get world-class training directly from our international experts at affordable rates.

If you are interested in presenting at the Agile Pune 2014 conf, please submit your proposals at http://confengine.com/agile-pune-2014

Super early bird registrations starts today. Register now at http://booking.agilefaqs.com/agile-pune-2014

To know more about the conference, please visit http://pune.agileindia.org

Open Submission System VS. Closed/Blind Selection of Conference Talks

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Recently, we announced the Selenium Conf 2014 to be held in Bangalore India. Based on my past experience running others international conferences for the last 10 years, I put together the following review process:

Interested speakers are requested to submit their proposals directly on our proposal submission system. All proposals will be public. Registered user of the submission system will be able to comment on your proposal. Submitters may also post comments on reviews or public comments of their own proposals to provide clarifications, explain revisions and respond to questions. Comments by public users are information that can be utilised by both the submitter and the review team. Ultimately the decision to accept a session resides with the program team, the program chair, and the conference chair.

Your proposal stands the best chance to be selected, if it’s unique, fully flushed, ready-to-go. Ensure you provide links to:

  • previous conference or user group presentations
  • open source project contributions
  • slides & videos of your (present/past) presentations
  • your blog posts or articles on this topic
  • and so on.

Following is my rationale behind this review process for conferences:

  • Fact: Writing a good proposal is one thing and Presenting on stage is a completely different thing. One could write really good proposal, but might be a poor speaker on stage. The conference attendees don’t care how good the speaker’s proposal was, they care how good was the delivery of the talk. Hence selecting proposals based on their ability to present rather than JUST their proposal becomes extremely important. I understand we want diversity and we want to give new speakers an opportunity. But do we really want a speaker on stage who has never presented anything ever? Hopefully they have presented at a local conference or a local user group or even within their company. If noting, they can do a short 5 mins screencast or video on the talk and upload that video. We want them to contribute to open source projects and write at least a blog or an article about it. My thinking is: what is the harm is asking speakers to provide us this info, so the community and the review team can make a better, more informed decision?
  • Also along with this, using an open submission & review system, has the following advantages:
    • The most important element it brings is the transparency. (Being an open community, I’m sure we all appreciate that element.)
    • It really helps create a buzz for the conference. Which in-turn helps us get really good proposals and opportunity to get sponsorship.
    • When I as a speaker, look at other proposals, I get encouraged to submit a proposal myself.
    • Also in my experience the overall quality of the proposals increase because of the open eco-system and public feedback mechanism.
    • With the help of public voting, the review team gets a good sense of which topics people are most interested. (Public voting can be gamed, but there are ways to limit it. Also we might not pick the exact proposal with the highest votes, but certainly select similar topic.)
  • In the end, if the team still wants to do a blind selection, we can certainly export the proposals into a format they want and give them just the info they need. The approach we take is more open and allows us to achieve both options.

Would love to hear your experience.

Agile India 2012 Conference Lanyard

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Agile India 2012 Conference Badge

Agile India 2012: View All Sessions Details in One Glance

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Agile India 2012 Conference Bags have Arrived

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Thanks to the Freeset Team for making these wonderful eco-friendly conference bags.

Agile India 2012 Conference Bag

Simple Design and Testing Conference: London, UK 12-13th March 2011

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Simple Design and Testing Conference is an all open space conference providing software practitioners a platform to meet face-to-face and discuss/demonstrate simple design & testing principles/approaches.

At this conference you’ll meet real, hands-on practitioners interested in peer-to-peer learning and exploration. We strive hard to avoid fluffy, marketing talks and other non-sense.

  • What: Open Space Conference on Simple Design & Testing practices
  • Where: Skills Matter eXchange, London, UK
  • When: 12th-13th Mar 2011
  • Who: Software Practitioners (Developers, Testers, UX Designer…)
  • Cost: £50.00, also (Position Paper required!)

SDT Conf 2011 is our 6th annual conference and for the first time in Europe. Check out the past conference SDT Conf 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 details.

Register now…

5th Annual Simple Design and Testing Conference, Columbus, Ohio, USA, Oct 29th to 31th 2010

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

I’m proud to announce the 5th Annual SDTConf. This year we plan to hold the conference in Otterbein University Campus Center, OH, USA.

We plan to keep a max cap of 100 participants for this conference.

As you might be aware SDTConf is a free conference and we use the concept of position papers as the price for admission. This helps us ensure the quality of the participants is really high. You can add your position papers for the conference on our wiki. Making the position papers public helps other participants gauge in advance what they can expect from the conference.

Last but not the least, since this is a community run, non-profit event, we really on sponsorship in kind to make this event possible. Here is a list of items that you or your company can sponsor to support this conference.

P.S: Please blog about this conference and/or send an email to your friends and colleagues. Word of mouth is the only way we market this event.

Subsidizing the Cost of Conferences

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Every single conference I’ve organized, I’ve made it free or almost free (by subsidizing the fee substantially.)

Recently we were planning a 2-day conference in Indore called XP Days, Indore 2010. During the planning, we had 2 options:

We could charge the following to cover the expenses of (Food, Delegate Kits, Certificates, Local Transportation, Speaker reimbursement, etc):

  1. Students 500 Rs, Faculty 800 Rs and Industry Delegates 1000 Rs
  2. Students 250 Rs, Faculty 350 Rs and Industry Delegates 500 Rs

We expect around 100 delegates in total. Based on last year’s break-up we expect. 50 students, 40 faculty members and 10 people from Industry.

Option 1
50 * 500 = 25,000
40 * 800 = 32,000
10 * 1000 = 10,000
Total = 67,000

OR

Option 2
50 * 250 = 12,500
40 * 350 = 14,000
10 * 500 = 05,000
Total = 31,500

I choose Option 2 and tried to fill the gap via Sponsorship.

Some people raised their concern saying, why are we so worried about subsiding the cost, when:

  • We can afford to pay Rs 175 for a movie at multiplex.
  • We can afford to pay Rs 200 for a pizza at Pizzahut.
  • We can afford to pay hunders of thousands of Rupees per year to private colleges and schools for the education.

My response was:

If we look around, a decent number of well know companies were started by drop-outs from school. Does that mean we should encourage all students to drop-out of school?

We don’t. We don’t because we think there are few people who can pull it off, rest of us (average people), need a degree to back us. When it comes to things like this, we try to take a safe approach. We try to take an approach that is more commonly accepted.

So sure there might be people who can afford movie in a multiplex, eat a 200 Rs pizza, etc. But what if there are some really interested students who can’t afford it? Is this a safe choice? What is the harm it bringing the cost down?

Also to add, when I was in college, every other week I had some marketing/sales people from <sarcasm>prestigious companies like IBM, Microsoft, etc</sarcasm> come and give free presentations about <sarcasm>their wonderful products and explain how their products are going to change the world</sarcasm>. At times these guys would try to chew our legs off, trying to sell their stuff.

From a student’s perspective how different are we? Why would they pay x amount to attend something *similar* when others are free?

As a student, I would rather spend my limited pocket money on Movie or Pizza, coz I know the outcome for sure. I would certainly have to think very hard before spending my money on something that I’m not sure of (esp. considering the limited knowledge about these things.)

I can go on. What I’m trying to highlight is that there is a lot of thinking the students/participants have to go thru before investing their time and money in something like this. We should try to simply their decision making process by reducing as many parameters as possible (going to their college/city, reducing the cost, etc).

Where is the real innovation happening?

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

It appears to me that the Agile Community is falling behind the innovation curve. At conferences, user groups, mailing list, etc, we see the same old same old stuff (may be I’m missing something). So where is the real innovation happening? What space should I be watching?

These were the questions I posed to the group @ the SDTConf 2009. Later, during our discussion at the conference we tried answering them. After a wonderful discussion we come up with some suggestions:

  • Web 2.0
  • Alternative Language (non-mainstream languages) space. Lot of interesting experiments going on in
    • Dynamic language space
    • Functional language space
    • Hybrid language space
  • Domain Specific Language space
  • Could Computing, Parallel Computing (Grid Computing), Virtualization space
  • Code Harvesting Space – Check out Test Driven Code Search and Code Genie as a starting point
  • Complex Adaptive Systems and its implication on our social interactions space. Dave Snowden’s work is a good starting point
  • eLearning and visual assessments (feedback) of a programming session. Check out Visualizing Proficiency
  • Polyglot Programming space
  • With Google Apps, people are able to build 100s of Apps each month and get instant feedback on their ideas
  • Social Networking and Second Life space
  • Conference: Lot of interesting experiments are been conducted in the conference space. Conferences have evolved to something very different from before.
  • Distributed Development and Remote Pairing space

If you would like to contribute to this list, please add your point on the SDTConf Wiki.

Fishbowl

Saturday, May 20th, 2006

Debates are not a great ways to communicate concrete points. Debates usually tend to get personal and emotional, leading to a destructive dialogue and indecisiveness. Fishbowls provide a good alternative to engage in discussion where people can indulge in a more creative communication or a real dialogue.

A Fishbowl is a way of structuring a discussion in a large group of people. It is suitable for controversial topics where different participants have different views.

Seating Arrangement: A small group, the initiators, (the fish in the bowl), typically 4 or 5 people, sit on chairs around a round table placed at the center of the discussion room. The audience, the other participants, is seated around the initiators in a circle.

Discusion Flow: The initiator explain the topic and start the discussion. Any members of the audience can walk up to the bowl and take a seat when they feel they have a contribution to make. When all the seats are occupied, usually the initiator, who has been in the bowl the longest, leaves making room for the new member, but this can vary. The FIFO (First In First Out) rule seems to work well to manage the participants at the bowl.

Additionally, one can seat always be left empty at the bowl. When all the seats get occupied, one of occupant has to leave. The rule to decide who leaves can also vary. FIFO or the person who feels they are contributing the least can leave.

The biggest advantage of this approach is transparency. The whole discussion is out in public. It gives a nice way to manage a large audience who would like to participate in the discussion. By letting a limited number of people talk, it helps to minimize the communication paths.

There are two challenges I have faced.

  • Since the discussion is open and others are watching, some people might feel shy and not contribute even though they have some valid points.
  • Avoiding the most vocal/influential folks from hogging the seats.

There is another variation of the fishbowl format, which I have not tried this.

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