Agile India 2014 Recap – My Impressions

tl;dr: Thank you for making Agile India 2014 (AI14) a grand success.

Slides: Several speakers have already uploaded their slides. They are available via http://present.agileindia.org/schedule/agile-india-2014. Rest will upload their slides in the coming days.

Videos: If you like to get a copy of all the videos from the conference, you can purchase the entire DVD set here: http://booking.agilefaqs.com/agile-india-2014

Feedback: Anyone who attended the conference would have noticed that the conference doesn’t provide any feedback forms. How bizarre is that for an agile conference? Let me tell you something, asking attendees to fill out feedback forms at the conference when there is so much going on is very ineffective. Have you ever wondered why after filling all those feedback forms or taking customer surveys things hardly change?

At Agile India, we take feedback very seriously and hence we believe in talking directly with you. If possible, we try and implement your suggestion right-away instead of waiting till the next conference. I’ve personally collected face-to-face feedback from over 300 attendees. However we were not able to talk to everyone and as a fall back option, we would encourage you to visit http://bit.ly/1nrjpVn and submit your valuable suggestions. The top 3 suggestions, selected by our program committee, will stand a chance to win an iPad mini or a free pass to next year’s conference. However please read the entire email, before you jump off.

Long Version:

As we are wrapping up the last few tasks from AI14, I would like to take a few minutes and share my reflections on conference and the growth of agile community in India since we started in 2004 (10 years ago.)

First of all, thank you for participating in our largest conference ever! We were happy to host 1236 Attendees from 28 different countries. We had attendees playing 342 different roles from 226 different companies: http://blog.agileindia.org/2014/03/04/agile-india-2014-conference-final-attendees-profile/

For 10 years we’ve been running these conferences and every year the community-feeling keeps getting better. This year, finally one could sense the true spirit of large scale community at the conference. It was not a one person show anymore. Also, it was amazing to see how well folks were networking and learning from each other (peer-to-peer learning.)

This year we got tremendous support from a diverse set of companies sponsoring the event. Many people appreciated that the conference was not only supported by Agile tools & consulting companies, but was also supported by companies like JP Morgan and Siemens. This clearly shows that the industry believes in the agile movement and wants to invest in nurturing our budding community. I greatly appreciate the support from our partners.

Another thing the participants really appreciated was, how inclusive the conference program was. In the early days of Agile India, we were very heavily influenced by eXtreme Programming. But over the years, we’ve tried our best to be more inclusive of other methods (Scrum, Kanban, Lean Startup, DSDM, etc.) and frameworks (SAFe, DAD, etc.) We strongly believe that our job is to create an equal platform for everyone, get the best in the industry and let people decide what makes most sense to them, in their context.

As you might know, the entire conference program was put together by a committee of volunteers (http://2014.agileindia.org/organizers/), who are selected via a nomination process. Also anyone is allowed to put in a proposal via our open submission system (http://present.agileindia.org). We got 263 proposals for talk, out of which 64 proposals were selected.

You might not be aware, how much blood and sweat goes into putting together a conference of this scale. Every single person, who helped us with the conference is a volunteer. People who have regular day time jobs, just like you. Our team has spent many sleepless nights starting from June 2013 to Feb 2014 (9 months.) It is a big commitment. I sincerely want to thank every volunteer who made this possible.

We encourage you to participate in this process as well. There are 3 level in which you can participate:

  1. Join the Program committee (chairs, core members and reviewers)
  2. Share your experience by putting in proposals for talks you would like to present at the conference
  3. Give constructive feedback via votes and comments to other proposals, to refine them.

Please follow @agileindia on twitter to get updates. We’ll have a call for all of these (May time-frame.)

Quick note to presenters: If you would like to present at the next year’s conference, start now. Start by presenting inside your company. Then at a local user group. Then at one of the regional conferences. Agile India runs many regional events every year: http://agileindia.org/events Also consider pairing with an experience speaker. There are no shortcuts to presenting at our annual, international conference.

Dave Thomas Keynote:

After signing the Agile Manifesto, this was the first Agile conference in 13 years that Dave Thomas was attending. I think this is special. Many attendees told us that Dave’s keynote was the highlight of the conference. Dave can tell you, how much I pestered him to accept our invite. We always strive to bring you the best.

Paid Workshops:
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Unlike last year, this year we got a really good response for the paid workshops. Just the workshops attracted over 300 people and the feedback from the workshops was very promising. The paid workshops not only gives you an opportunity to spend quality time with an expert, but it also helps us to cover some of the speaker expenses and attract more experts to the conference. If you were to attend the same speaker’s training outside the conference, it would cost you at least 3 times more. The conference, massively subsidies the cost for the greater good of the community.

Food:
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Overall the feedback on quality & taste of the food was very positive. Many attendees commented that they hate hotel food, esp. since it creates a burning sensation after eating. But they were surprised they did not have any such problems. Nor did the food make them sleepy. We know that food is a big part of the conference experience. And hence I had personally tasted and selected the entire menu. So if you did not like something, blame me.

Some tweets from the conference:
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#AgileIndia2014 – an awesome conference and one to consider adding to your must-attend events.

As world conf traveler, I can say #AgileIndia2014 is 1 of world’s top Agile confs;

Leaving #agileindia2014 – what an amazing time! Thanks to @nashjain and everyone else who made it happen 🙂

It’s great to hear “understand the problem you are trying to solve” as a common theme from many #agileindia2014 speakers.

Our team had a wonderful learning experience at #AgileIndia2014. Congratulations for organizing such a brilliant event.

Few other things worth highlighting:
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First Registration Slab was sold out in flat 7 mins. This was even before the conference program was available. Trust me, this is unheard of in India. There are at least 200 people who’ve been attending Agile India conferences for more than 3 years and they mostly pay out of their pocket to attend. To encourage such passionate folks, we kept a super-early-bird registration slab. We believe they are a key part of our community.

Experience Reports and Case Studies:
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As you know, this year we’ve focused a lot on getting as many case studies and experience reports at the conference. To further maximize your learning from these sessions, we’ve published all these reports here: http://2014.agileindia.org/program/reports/ These reports will continue to be freely available for anyone interested in learning.

Lightning Talks:
============

Lightning talks were very well received. Many people having great ideas to share. Next year we plan to structure them little better and make them more visible.

Not everything was perfect at the conference, however the attendees did a great job in cooperating with us. It was amazing to see them take ownership of the conference and work patiently with us.

A few unexpected things worth highlighting:
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Different floors: Original plan was to have all the 3 parallel tracks on the same floor, but only 3 days before the conference the hotel told us that the divider in the grand ballroom, which is used to split the grand ballroom into 2 halls is not working. We had to shift one of the tracks to Sigma hall (which was 2 levels above) and move the paid workshops elsewhere. I could see the frustration in people trying to find Sigma hall and move between floors. But hardly anyone complained. They gave us the benefit of doubt. Thank you!

Speaker Dropouts: We had a few speakers (including a keynote speaker) dropout last minute. We tried our best to cover up the slots with something equally interesting. IMHO this is true agility in action.

Cramped Hallways: The hallways were quite cramped esp. during the breaks. We had not expected such a great response from sponsors, when we originally planned the conference. Other than the hallway, we could not find an alternative, central location for the title sponsor stalls. The stalls certainly added to the space constraint in the hallway. But it was also fun to have some ongoing action in the hallway.

Registration process on the first day is always challenging. We had so many last minute changes (attendees swapping names and days) which makes it extremely hard to streamline the process. As far as I’m aware, we embraced it and accommodated all the changes. Our team of volunteers did their best to make it as smooth as possible. Next year we are planning to revamp the whole registration process by using RFIDs and other technology solutions.

Wifi Connection: Internet Wifi connection is still extremely expensive (~ 10 Lakh Rs.) for conferences. So we get it sponsored from Airtel. But there is only so much we can demand when we get something sponsored. Having said that, compared to last year, this year the wifi connection was much better. We had 5 routers and few of them were constantly overloaded. With over 200 people trying to connect to each router, there were moments when new connections could not be established. Whenever we noticed something like this, we tried to reset the route, but all of this took time and I could see some people unhappy about it.

Few things we tried for the first time:

Agile Art!
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During all the three evening receptions, the participants created a visual art piece together with the help of Richard Kasperowski and the team from McAfee. This helped the participants to create new connections and build/reinforce the community of Agilists in India and around the world. On the fourth day, we displayed our art, which was a big hit. I saw many people posing in front of the art piece for pictures. Finally, we invited attendees to take pieces of the art as gifts as reminders of our potential to create greatness together.

Book Signing and Book Store
=======================

Every year Agile India attracts top speakers from around the world. Most of these speakers have a track record of writing very influential books. To enable the fan/follower of these authors, we set up a book store at the conference and had book signing events where attendees were able to get a personal autographed book by the authors. Many folks appreciated this initiative. And we plan to make it even stronger next year.

Agile India Webinar Series
=====================

We invited many speakers to the Agile India 2014 Conference. However due to travel constraints or other conflicts, they were not able to make it. However few of them agreed to do an exclusive webinar (Google Hangout) with us. The recordings of their webinar is available at: http://2014.agileindia.org/program/webinars/

Agile India Job Fair
===============

Agile India was happy to host the world’s first job fair dedicated for hiring Agile practitioners. The goal of the Agile Job Fair was to create a platform dedicated for the Agile practitioners to meet their potential Agile employers and for companies to find Agile practitioners to enable their journey to Agile adoption and excellence. We had over 200 people who applied to participate in the job fair. Also we had a total of 6 companies who participated as employers. On the day of the event, we had only 40 odd people show up. This was disappointing. However the 40+ who showed up, really appreciated the initiative. Next year we plan to host the job fair, during the conference itself.

P.S: Every week, I get at least 10 emails from people asking me about Agile India membership. I don’t get it! Why do you want to give me your hard-earned money for no good reasons? The current membership program has no real benefits and hence we’ve closed it. I’m currently working on a new membership model for Agile India, which will provide real membership benefits. At that point you can justify spending money on membership. If you have ideas on how we should structure the membership program, please drop me a note. Good ideas win free membership. Stay tuned for more…

Agile India 2014 Conference – Final Attendees Profile

Agile India 2014 Conference was happy to host 1236 Attendees from 28 different countries. The attendees belong to 226 different companies and play 342 different roles.

Attendees Role – 342

Role
Account Qlty Manager Agile | Lean Coach Agile and SW Process consultant
Agile Business Analyst Agile Coach Agile Coach & PMO
Agile Coach and Strategist Agile Coach, Trainer, and Consultant Agile Coach Wrangler
Agile Coach/Scrum master Agile CoE Leadship Team Agile Consultant
Agile Practitioner & Consultant Agile Product Manager Agile Program Consultant
Agile Project Manager Agile Strategist & Coach Agile Technologist
Agile Trainer and Coach Agile Transformation Consultant Agile Transformation Manager APA
AGM ALM R&D Analyst IT
Application Analyst Application Developer Architect
Assistant Manager Assistant Manager Process & Quality Assoc. Director – Projects
Associate Associate Architect Associate General Manager – Consulting
Associate Java Developer Associate Lead Associate Lead – Projects
Associate Professor Associate Project Manager Associate Technical Architect
Associate VP Asst Manager Process & Quality Attendee
Author Blogger BTS Head of Corporate
Business Analyst Business Manager Business Transformation Coach, Agile Coach, Open Space Facilitator
CEO Chief Consultant Chief Architect
Chief Consultant Chief Functional Architect Chief Scientist
CI Expert CIO Client Partner
Client Principal Coach Code Monkey
CoE Head COE Manager Co-founder
Co-founder and VP – Product Colaboration catalyst Competence Group Manager – M2O
Consultant Consultant – Agile Center of Excellence Consultant Manager
Contact Centre Team Lead CTO Customer Care Associate, GM Solutions & Tech
Delivery Excellence Head Delivery Head Delivery manager
Delivery Manager / TTS / Delivery Services Delivery Manager TTS Dev Management Products
Dev Staff Engineer Developer Development Line Manager
Development Line Manager – EPG Product Development Manager Development Manager/Expert
Development Project Manager Development Vice President Director
Director – Agile CoE Director – Head of Software Development Director – Product Marketing
Director – Products Director – Projects Director, Agile Software Engineering
Director, Engineering Director, India Sales Operations Director of Engineering
Director of Platform Development Director Quality Director, R&D
Director- R&D Competency Director Technology Director-Projects
Doctoral Student Engineer IT Engineering Manager
Executive EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Executive Manager, Risk Advice
Expert Software Engineer Foudner Founder
Founder & CTO Founder CEO General Manager
General Manager – Quality General Manager and Market Principal GM, Head : Continuous Improvement
Group Manager – Consulting Head – IT,Defence and Aerospace markets Head – Technology Competences
Head of Delivery Head of Engineering Head of IT Delivery Competence Groups
Head of Offshore Development Head of People and Culture Head of Project Management
Head of R&D Operations Head of Technology – Customer Systems Head of Technology – Group Platform
Head- Organisational Markets Independent Integration Manager
IT Architect IT Portfolio Manager Lead
Lead Application Architect Lead Consultant Lead Consultant – Business Analyst
Lead Engineer Lead Manager Lead Program Integrator
Lead SCM Engineer Lead Software Development Lead Software Engineer
Lead System Designer Line Manager Manager
Manager – Delivery Services Manager – Engineering Manager – Projects
Manager / Scrum Master Manager – Software Development Manager Delivery Services
Manager IT Manager Program Management Manager QA
Manager Software Development Manager, Software Development Engineering Manager-Delivery Services
Manager-Software Development (ERP) Managing Director Marketing & Events Specialist
Marketing Manager Marketing Programs Manager Marketing Programs Manager1
Portfolio Manager Portfolio Project Manager Practice Head
Practice Head – ATS Practice Head – Lean and Kanban Practice Manager – SMAC
Practice Tech Lead, MCDE Pre-Sales Manager Pre-Sales (Technical Consultant)
President, Asia Pacific Operations Principal Principal Agile Coach
Principal Automation Engineer Principal Consultant Principal Consultant – ERP, EAS Analytics
Principal Engineer Principal Engineering Project Manager Principal Group Program Manager
Principal Program Manager Principal Researcher Principal Software Developer
Principal Software Engineer Process Manager Product Developer
Product Governance Head product Management Product Manager
Product Manager B2B/B2G Product Manager, Solutions Product Marketing
Product Owner Product Specialist Product Test Analyst
Program Architect Program Director Program Director – BSC
Program Management Advisor Program Management Senior Advisor Program Manager
Program Manager – Agile Transformation and Scaling Program Manager – CM Programmer Analyst
Project / Program Manager Project Analyst Project Lead
Project Manager Project Manager IT QA Associate Manager
QA Engineer QA Head QA Manager
Quality Analyst Quality Assurance Architect R&D Head
R&D Project Manager R&D Section Manager Requirement Analyst
RM – South Sales Manager Sales Specialist
Scrum Master Senior Agile Coach Senior Agile Practitioner
Senior Architect Senior Business Analyst Senior consultant
Senior Delivery Manager Senior Delivery Manager / TTS / Delivery Services Senior Design Engineer
Senior Dev Senior Development Manager Senior Director
Senior Director – Projects Senior Engg Project Manager Senior Engineer – Process
Senior Engineer Specialist Senior Engineering Manager Senior Engineering Project Manager
Senior Group Manager Senior IT Engineer Senior Manager
Senior Manager – Agile Working Group Senior Manager – Development Senior Manager – LEAN
Senior Manager , Program Management Senior Manager – Projects Senior Manager – Quality
Senior Manager – Release Management Senior Manager – Test Engineering Senior Manager Business Development
Senior Manager of Engineering Senior Manager Projects Senior Manager Software Development
Senior Manager Technology Senior Product Manager Senior Productivity Expert
Senior Professional Senior Professional – Technology Analyst Senior Program Manager
Senior Project Lead Senior Project Manager Senior Quality Engineer
Senior Software Developer Senior Software Engineer Senior Software QA Engineer
Senior Sofware Engineer Senior Sourcing Specialist Senior Systems Analyst
Senior Systems Specialist Senior Tech Lead Senior Technical Architect
Senior Technical Lead Senior Technical Presales Specialist, Sales Senior Technical Staff Member
Senior Test Engineer Senior Vice President Senior Quality Assurance Engineer
Software Architect Software Artisan Software Consultant
Software Developer Software Development Advisor Software Development Engineer
Software Development Manager Software Development Staff Engineer Software Engineer
Software Engineer Manager Software Engineer Senior Manager Solution Architect
Solutions Director Speaker SQA
Sr Analyst – Apps Prog sr. developer Sr IT QA Manager
Sr manager SR. MANAGER, IT SR. QA ENGINEER – II
Sr Quality Engineer Sr Technology Manager Sr Test Engineer
Staff Engineer Student SYSTEM ANALYST
System Specialist Systems Analyst – Test Engineering Systems Engineer
Systems Specialist Team Lead Team Manager
Tech Lead Technical / Process Advisor Technical Architect
Technical consultant Technical Director – Product Management Technical Expert
Technical Lead TECHNICAL LEADER.ENGINEERING Technical Program Manager
Technical Specialist – Quality Technologist Technology Specialist
Test Lead Test Practice Lead Test Senior Engineer
Test Technologist UK Director UX wrangler
Vice President Vice President – STB Solutions Vice President and Regional IT COO
Vice President, R&D Vice President-Engineering and Delivery VP
VP, Chief Quality Officer VP Global Sales VP Solutions

Attendees Organization – 226

Organization
IIM Bangalore 3Five8 Technologies. 7N
Accenture Aconex Aditi Technologies
Aditya Birla Minacs ADOBE SYSTEMS Agile Coaching Institute
Agile FAQs Agile Partnership AgileSparks
Aguai Solutions Alcatel Lucent Alliance Global Services
Allscripts India Amadeus Software Labs India Amazon India Development.
Amdocs AON Aptean
Arc Alternatives ARICENT Artech Infosystems
Arts Interstices Asprotunity BA Continuum
Bankdata/7N Bankwest BigVisible
Bizsciences LLC BMC Software Inc. Pune BNP Paribas India Solutions
Bold Mover Bootcamp Brainysys Technologies
bwin.party CA Technologies Catalise Consulting
CatalystOne Info Solutions ceezone CeeZone Consulting
CenturyLink India CGI Cisco
CodePink Cognizant Technology Solutions CollabNet
Consulting consulting connoisseurs Crest Premedia Solutions
CSC CTI Co-Active Coaching Cybage Software
Cybrilla Technologies David J Anderson & Associates Dell
Digite Inc Directing the Agile Organisation Direction Software Solution
DispatchTrack Inc DreamOrbit Softech DSS
E. Slomba Arts Interstices Edventure Labs EMC Corporation
Enteleki Enteleki Technology Solutions Entrib Technologies
Envestnet EPlan Services Equal Experts
ExelPlus Servcies Exfo Exilesoft
Fiberlink Software, an IBM Company Fidelity IBS Fidelity National Financial
FMR India Ford Technology Services India GE Energy
GE Healthcare Gembatech Geometric
Gislen Software. GlobalLogic gnuyoga.in
GOA UNIVERSITY Groupon Hansoft
HCL Technologies HeadEnd Group Hewlett-Packard India Software Operations
Honeywell Technology Solutions Hoppr HP
Huawei India Huawei Technologies India. IBM
IBM India. IDRBT IFS Research and Development International LTD
IHS Global IIM Bangalore IIT Bombay
Impelsys Independent Independent Agile Consultant
Industrial Logic Infocareer Infosys
InMobi INNOVENTES TECHNOLOGIES INTEAMO INNOVATIONS & SOFTWARE PRIVATE LIMITED
Intel Corporation Intel Technology India Intelliant
IQ Business Ishi Information Systems IVY
IVY Comptech J P Morgan Chase Jeeves Information Systems
J.P. Morgan JP Morgan Chase Khanyisa Real Systems
L&T Infotech Lynne Cazaly managewell.net
Manipal Global Education services Marin Software Markit India
McAfee Software India Mckinsey & Company Mic
Micromen Software Solutions Microsoft Milaap Social Ventures
Mindtree Misys Multunus Software
Napa India Nokia Nokia (Maps Division) (HERE India)
NotiPhi NSN Oracle
Ostrya Labs P5Systems Paypal India
Persistent System Philips Electronics India Pitney Bowes
PMI India Pragmatic Programmers, LLC Principal Global Services.
Prowareness PubMatic Purple Candor
QAI India Qualcomm QUALCOMM INDIA
Quintiles Rally Software REA Group
Red Panda. RENISHAW METROLOGY SYSTEMS Rotary International
Sabre Sabre Holdings Sabre Travel Technologies
SAP Labs India Sapient Consulting SAS Research & Development
Scaled Agile, Inc. Schlumberger Schneider Electric India
Self SHOPPERS STOP LTD SIEMENS
Siemens AG Healthcare Siemens Technology & Services. SITA
Smartesting Societe Generale Software AG
Software AG Bangalore Technologies Software Artisan SolutionsIQ India
Sparks59 SpiderLogic SpiderLogic India
Suncorp SunGard SunGard Consulting Services
Symphony Teleca Corporation Synerzip Softech India. Target
Target Corporation Target India Tata consultancy services
Tavisca Solutions TENAGA NASIONAL BERHAD Tesco Hindustan Service Center
Tesco Hindustan Service Center, Bangalore TheTrainline Thomson Reuters
Thomsonreuters ThoughtWorks Toobler Technologies
Unicom Learning Valtech Valuemomentum
VMware Walmart WaveTable
Webonise Lab Winjit Technologies WIPRO Technologies
With Great People Woolworths Xebia IT Architect
Xerox Xicora Consultants Zen Digital
15

Countries – 28

Country # of Attendees
Australia 17
Bangladesh 9
Canada 4
China 12
Denmark 6
Egypt 7
Finland 2
France 5
Germany 6
Gibraltar 1
India 947
Indonesia 9
Israel 5
Japan 12
Malaysia 15
New Zealand 4
Norway 3
Pakistan 13
Russia 21
Singapore 26
South Africa 3
Spain 6
Sri Lanka 28
Sweden 7
Uganda 1
Ukraine 3
United Kingdom 22
United States 43

Gender

Gender Count
Male 922
Female 314