Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Agile India 2013 - Day 1 - Kick Off

I have been to QCon London 2012 and greatly impressed by the organization of conference. So my post is going to be a bit biased. Overall kudos to the Agile India Organizing Team to have a conference organized in India that comes the closest to international standards.

I am finally sitting in the lobby of Agile India 2013, at the posh Sheraton Hotel, Rajaji Nagar. It is not exactly in the central Bangalore, but a little outskirts near Yeshwantpur. It is about 15 kms from central region like Koramangala, so next time if the venue is same, make sure you have booked a cab for both drop and pickup. Other than being far off from the central Bangalore, the venue is pretty amazing. Not many complaints if it is in 5 star hotel, and all the conference halls on the same floor, an up from QCon where we had a full venue of 3 floors to ourselves and running across floors to attend different sessions.

In the lobby I could see few familiar faces like Craig Larman, Freg George, Mary Poppendick etc., famous speakers in the Software World :). It cannot get better than this for someone in Bangalore, India.

Getting Ready to Kick Off Agile India 2013

There are few things that could be improved by the organizers.

  • Starting from goody bag, looks like it contains only marketing material from the Sponsors - ThoughtWorks, Rally, Atlassian, Collabnet, Airtel. All the marketing handouts/templates are there. And nothing else, no schedule, pens or notebook. Looks like someone forgot to put them in as the organizer were surprised not to find it inside, and later on last minute scramble to put notebook and pencils on every chair in the conference room.
  • Confusion persisted at the registration counter for sometime after the event kick off, like giving out T-Shirts after keynote and session overview were already done. It may well have been planned that way, but if I come to the stall for registration, finish off all these formalities in one go. 
  • There were food coupons, even high tea coupons. Who came up with brilliant idea ?
  • Though the registration stalls opened at 8:00 AM, the expectation was that the attendees would have finished off their breakfast. First of all, travel to a far off venue, over that starting so early, obviously there was no way I could have had breakfast. Damn, I was hungry as hell sitting through my first session.
  • The conference started off at 9:00 AM sharp. Something worth mentioning, as well as the rest of the day went as planned with most if not all the speakers sticking to their allotted time.
  • The introduction of Craig Larman could have been much much better. In short, the introduction included 2 statements about him, one of them being he did a keynote back in 2006, and nothing about his background. Obviously someone like Craig Larman does not need any introduction, even that was not mentioned :(. Craig did a better job of introducing himself and telling more about his India connection, that he can speak Hindi and lived in India in 1978. A great opportunity missed. 
  • One of the best things I liked about QCon was instant feedback at exit. All the volunteers were given iPod Touch with application to record feedback for the session. A quick feedback saying the session was BAD-OK-AWESOME. People were excited to give the feedback, also it would have definitely helped the organizer keep the quality of sessions better. Hope Agile India 2014 have something like that.
  • The net speed sucks. Sucks so bad I want to curse it angry and loud. I was banking on a decent internet connection to do live blogging, which was obviously not possible if you cannot even load the Please, please get it fixed for tomorrow.

Looking forward to better times in conference.

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