A couple of weeks ago I attended ALE2011, the first unconference by Agile Lean Europe, both as an organizer, speaker and sponsor.
I must say I tried too keep up with the organizing team but I couldn’t make it due to my nightmare agenda on the last months and also my extended summer break this year (a really deserved one month and a half). So I decided early to cover this lack of dedication with a humble sponsorship of the event. Hope that counts
I was selected as a speaker from Spain. I must say I’m not really comfortable on speakers being chosen by country and not by merits, but hey, this was the “Europe” part in “Agile Lean Europe”. It gave a lot of opportunities to speakers that, on other circumstances, would have low probabilities of being chosen by the typical program committee (by the way, instead of chairs the organizing team was divided in sofas, how cool is that?). Some of this more unknown speakers were a pleasant surprise, while in other cases some of the presentations were, I must say, a little bit empty, dull and self-promotional. Hey, this is the game: take it or leave it
I definitively take it. My presentation was crowded, and I had a really engaged and passionate public that decided on their own to make an Open Space on the topic: eliminating waste by dropping the estimation process. On the improvement side, I need to speak slower, as I tend to go really fast and my English is not that good
I had decided not to propose any Open Space because I already had some featured space and I felt like I should leave Open Space for people without presentation slots. I remember being on other conference, proposing an Open Space and seeing how a couple of Agile Super Stars monopolized the Open Space by proposing games, extensions to their talks or other kind of activities, so this time I preferred not to be the monopoly guy. But anyway, the Open Space took place and I participated as everyone else. I must thank the facilitator, Sven Tiffe, and I remember being very close to the opinions by Liz Keogh.
Probably one of the best talks was delivered by Chris Matts, and boy did he deliver. The topic was feature injection, but this was in fact the less important part. His delivery is so good that I’ve been jealous since then and I’ve learned a couple of things I must work on to improve my own style.
Possibly the best part of the event was the networking and the creation of new and solid relationships. I remember having nice conversations with Vasco Duarte, Eric Lundh, Yves Hanoulle, Olaf Lewitz, Olav Maasen, and some Spanish ex-pats from Nokia.
Unfortunately, I was handicapped by the fact that, on thursday, my wallet was stolen by two pickpockets while having lunch outside the hotel and I wasted a lot of time on police stations and the spanish embassy (which is only available from monday to friday, from 9:00 to 13:00!!!), although I must say German police is astonishingly efficient, polite and nice (and I got my money back in 24 hours!!).
I think I need some more time to think on some of the great ideas I got from this event, so please stay tuned next weeks. Oh, you can browse some of my ALE pictures at Flickr.