The first joint AgileScotland / AgileNorth mini-conference via skypecast happened last night (April 16th) and was a great success! We had 12-15 attendees for the whole two hours, and we were entertained by seven short and very varied sessions, four of which were supported by “slides” via HTML.
Aspects I liked:
- Some sessions provided visuals by means of HTML “slides” hosted by Paul Wilson; this was a good format, easily accessible to all, and helped to overcome the lack of other visual cues.
- The presenters put their photo on their first slide, which really helped me visualise who was speaking.
- Having a number of very short sessions made for a lively and varied evening.
- Leigh Mullin did a great job of chairing the evening’s activities, and sent encouraging chat messages to the presenters during our sessions.
- Everyone put themselves on mute during the presentations; the levels of discipline and courtesy were extremely high.
- During and after each session the group sent questions over Skype chat to the speaker, which the speaker could field as he wished; I kept mine in a queue and answered them at the end, but others did differently, and both approaches worked well.
- Charles Weir opened his session up as a discussion, and that worked surprisingly well too.
Some areas in which we might learn from the experience:
- Some speakers (me in particular) took a lot longer than their advertised time; next time it might be worth trying fixed-size 5-minute slots, plus 5-minutes for discussion, and rigorously enforcing that timetable.
- Two hours is a long time, particularly when one has no non-verbal feedback; perhaps 90 minutes would be long enough.
- It was hard to follow those speakers who hadn’t provided visuals; we should probably make them mandatory.
- During the planning stages we had floated the idea of holding open some kind of chat room, but in the end we relied solely on one-to-one chat messages; in future it might be beneficial to enable all attendees to see the questions being asked.
(You can read other attendees’ comments on our mailing list – NakedAgilists)
Overall this was a very enjoyable evening, and I’m very much looking forward to our next one. Hats off to Clarke, Adrian, Paul and Leigh for brilliant organisation.