Things you might not know about 1st Conference 2017

We started 1st Conference in 2015, after running LAST Conference for a few years. A little while back, I described LAST as a meetup on steroids, and that it was originally designed "for people who have a bit of experience with agile". Since then it's gone from strength to strength, debuting in Sydney in 2016, with Brisbane joining the party in 2017, too.

We decided to launch 1st Conference as a somewhat more conventionally structured event for people with less experience. The way we thought about it, there are more and more businesses that are declaring themselves to be "Agile", which means that  there a bunch of people who are trying to figure out how to make this happen. 2015 and 2016 was about the first 2 years on an agile "journey". For the 2017 iteration, there has been an evolution in the intent and design of the conference that I wanted to emphasise. 

Here are some things that you might not have realised about 1st Conference 2017

Not just for newbies

With the upcoming edition, people who are starting out are still an important audience of the event. However, with the adoption of the Heart of Agile framework for the theming of the event, we think that the focus on the most important areas that really are at the heart of agile will be useful to people who have been working with agile for a while. We are hoping that 1st can be a first agile learning event for some, and that it can also be the first learning event of the year for others.

As Alistair Cockburn, co-creator of the Agile Manifesto and the creator of the Heart of Agile says:

Agile has become overly decorated. Let’s scrape away those decorations for a minute, and get back to the center of agile
— Alistair Cockburn

We hope that stepping back, remembering the central, most powerful principles of agile, will help experienced people, especially those working with less experienced colleagues.

Not just about IT

The principles described by the Agile Manifesto for Software Development predate it by many years. Much was borrowed from the car industry and Toyota, in particular.  Now, car companies are realising the need to be more agile (, and almost all companies are recognising the need to be able to change course more rapidly ( Indeed, we have been hearing much more about "Business Agility" in recent times.

At 1st Conference this year, we will be hearing from Jurgen Appelo, who talks about agile management techniques that can work in many different departments. We also will hear from Eduardo Nofuentes, with a practical example how a company that runs shopping centres are using agile and lean techniques. I'm also very keen to hear Lilly Ryan's talk about what we can learn from a spectacular failure on a project in the 1850s.

Above: Interview with Jurgen Appelo about his keynote talk at 1st Conference, Melbourne on 2 March 2017.

Gender balance

We are very aware of the issue of lack of women on conference lineups. Last year, we signed up to the Diversity Charter, as a statement of intent that we are actively seeking to improve the balance. We have got plans in place for the 2017 Melbourne edition of LAST and we actively sought to fill the 1st Conference lineup with talented women. We're really pleased that both the speaker and workshop facilitator balance is almost exactly 50:50 (it was 20:80 in 2016).

Ideas AND practical tools

The first two editions of 1st were single day. In 2017, we extended the event to two days, with a lineup of talks on day 1, and a series of 90 minute workshops on day 2. The plan is to get an overview and understanding of the ideas through the talks, and then to do some practical things on day 2, to take back to work on Monday. For those who can only spare one day, there is a single day registration available to day 1 only.

Don't miss out…

…on hearing from an inventor of agile and a top international thought leader in agile management, plus all the Australian content on the schedule. Everyone involved is really excited for this event and we really hope that you'll see fit to join us on 2-3 March. Early Bird registrations are available until midnight on Monday 6 February, so don't wait!