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.
Tomorrow night sees the very first joint AgileScotland / AgileNorth mini-conference via skypecast! We have almost a dozen short 2-10 minute presentations in a packed 90-minutes – including my retelling of a testing dilemma and developing a sense of urgency from this blog. See the NakedAgilists Yahoo group for joining instructions.