Agile DC 2010

On a cool day in October, the Agile Tour came to DC to talk Agile essentials, Agile in enterprise, and Agile in government. In the days leading up to the event, the Twitter buzz showed the event was running out of tickets.  By the time the event started, it was at capacity for the venue.

This was the first Agile Tour DC.  This one day conference aimed to serve agile practitioners in the DC area through 3 tracks.

  1. Agile Essentials – Get the skills you need to get started.
  2. Enterprise and Government Agility – See how it works in the large and hear from a Panel of practitioners working in government.
  3. Open Talks Track – Create the conference you want in this Open Space (like) track.  If you didn't see a talk on one of the other two tracks, you cold propose a topic or attend one of the 4 concurrent Open Talks.

Before we got started, Bob Payne, one of the organizers of the event, spoke a little about the event and where some of the money was going.  AgileDC is a not-for-profit conference organized by Agile Philanthropy.    See more below

Compared to the last conference I attended, the PMI Global Congress (<= $1,600), this event had a lot of bang for the buck.  Agile DC 2010 was less than $100!  Now, I'm not going to do a lot of comparing of the PMI Global Congress to this event.  OK, yes I am.   I think PMI missed an opportunity to do some real good in the world.  How is it PMI can charge up to $1,600 and not champion some cause(s) that could really benefit from a few dollars?  Here are some side-by-side comparisons.

PMI Global Congress Agile Tour DC
Venue Gaylord Hotel and Resort Fannie Mae Conference Center
Transportation Non-Metro Accessible Metro Accessible
Duration 3 days 1 day
Price $1,125 - $1,600 $75 - $90
Food Average Above Average
Session Quality Excellent Excellent
  • Overall, both the PMI Global Congress (Agile sessions) and the Agile Tour DC had excellent presenters.  After that, I think Agile Tour DC was the winner.
  • The Agile event was Metro accessible.  In contrast, it took me 2.5 hours to drive to the PMI event.  I then had to pay $20 for parking, compared to $5 at a Metro garage.
  • When it comes to the duration of the event, I'm looking for the Goldilocks and the three bears of conferences.  1 day is too short; 3 days is too long; 2 days would be just right.
  • Cost.  Did I mention this event was less than $100!?
  • The food was good.  Seriously, it was pretty darned good!  One little tidbit, the coffee at the PMI event was below-average to average.  The coffee at the Agile event was average to above-average.

The day was kicked off with a keynote by Sanjiv Augustine, an industry-leading agile and lean expert.  We then took a 15 minute break before splitting off to our separate tracks.  I have to say, you know it's a good conference when you're conflicted which session to attend.

I then sat to hear Agile & Government by Paul Boos.  Good stuff.

Next, I sat for Agile in the Enterprise and NFP (Not For Profit), presented by Tiffany Lentz and Jeff Wishnie of Thoughtworks.

I think the best part of my experience came next, from the panel discussion about Agile in Government.

Members of the panel included: Don Johnson - providing thought leadership in the acquisition of Information Technology across the Department of Defense. Josh Hendler - serves as the Director of Technology at the Democratic National Committee. Richard Cheng - managing consultant at Excella Consulting, providing consulting services to commercial and Federal clients in the Washington, DC area. Paul Boos - serves as the software maintenance lead for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP).

It was a very engaging panel discussion and they all brought some very unique perspectives to the conference.

I then saw Sanjiv Augustine present Agile Portfolio Management.  I think the best part of Sanjiv's presentation was that it offered something for everyone.  You didn't need to be a seasoned Agilist to enjoy it.  If you ever get a chance to see Sanjiv present, do it.

The last session I attended, Emerging IT Acquisition Processes Within DoD,  was by Don Johnson from the Department of Defense.  I would like to say Wow!  To see what is happening over at DoD is nothing short of remarkable.  The one question I get asked by people in the Federal Government is does Agile work in the Federal space.  Don proves that it can and that is does.

That's about it.  It was a great event.  I look forward to the next.

If you get a chance, clear your calendars for October 14, 2011.  That's the tentative date for the next Agile DC Conference.

AgileDC is a not-for-profit conference organized by Agile Philanthropy. Agile Philanthropy’s mission is to assist not-for-profits through fund raising and volunteerism. For more information visit or contact Bob Payne 202-903-6854.

Conference not-for-profit beneficiaries:

Mano a Mano International provides critical healthcare and infrastructure development in Bolivia.

Haiti Partners provides education and educational support in Haiti. Since the recent earthquake they have been serving their communities with earthquake relief and humanitarian services.

FreshFarm Markets helps create farmers markets in the DC area and provides matching funds allowing WIC and Food Stamp recipients to buy nutritious local food. Their work sustains local agriculture, schools and local families.