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Agile Australia Conference Review

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The Agile Australia 2014 conference was held in Melbourne, Australia last week. Over 950 people from all around Australia, New Zealand and beyond attended this annual event.
The theme of this year’s conference was Embracing Disruption. From over 250 submissions there were 41 sessions selected, using an anonymous review process, covering five broad areas:

  • Individuals & Interactions
  • The Agile Organisation
  • Approaches
  • Measure and Learn
  • Delivery

Many of the speaker’s slides can be downloaded from the conference website.

In addition to the sessions there were five keynote talks by speakers addressing the topic from various perspectives:

  • Jim Benson, creator of Personal Kanban: Embracing Disruption: You are your process
  • Rachel Botsman, author of ‘What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing The Way We Live’: The disruptive power of Collaborative Consumption
  • Martin Fowler, Chief Scientist at Thoughtworks: Software development in the 21st century
  • Brant Cooper, author of he Lean Entrepreneur' & 'The Entrepreneurs Guide to Customer Development': Lean Entrepreneur in the enterprise
  • Enyo Kumahor, Managing Director, Pan-Africa at ThoughtWorks: Africa is rising!

In addition to the formal programme there was an Open Space area where a variety of talks of various lengths were presented in smaller discussion sessions. These sessions covered topics from assessing agile maturity to the role of the Agile Alliance.

On the day before (in Melbourne) and the day after (in Sydney) the full conference there were a series of more indepth workshops which covered topics in much greater depth than a conference session. These workshops covered topics ranging from Agile basics to complexity theory and visual management.

The event was supported by a range of sponsors who used the opportunity to connect with the Australasian Agile community. These included tools vendors, service and employer organisations.  

ThoughtWorks hosted an “open house” social event in their Melbourne offices on the Tuesday evening, which was very well attended.

On the second afternoon a student-focused event Active Agile was held in parallel with the main conference.

Activate Agile is an event where students and teachers can learn what it's like to create a killer product fast and work in a winning team. Discover what Agile organisations are really like, and how it is applied in the real world, in an engaging, fun and inspiring way.

Conference organiser Rachel Slattery summarised the conference as follows

Agile Australia is all about sharing ideas for better ways of working, and I really feel we achieved that this year - not just from sessions about creating an Agile-friendly office and understanding teams, but through the informal sharing between 950 delegates, who came from diverse organisations - from big enterprises like Telstra to fast-moving digital businesses like Envato.

A number of graphic facilitators were present at the event, which resulted in some artworks summarising sessions and events:

  • Lynne Cazaly (@lynnecazaly) combined her drawings into a SlideShare presentation. She gave a talk at the conference explaining the use of graphic tools in facilitation.
  • Marcel van Hove prepared this video of the sessions he attended, and blogged about it.

A discussion of one of the sessions regarding Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s Agile journey was published in ITNews 

The Agile Australia Blog carries posts from speakers, sponsors and interested parties on topics surrounding the conference. Their post-conference wrapup can be found here
InfoQ recorded  a number of the keynotes and sessions and interviewed some of the speakers – they will be released over the next few months.  

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