As promised, I will continue to share my experience and thoughts as a program chair for Agile 2016. This post is my personal retrospective on the Agile 2016 submission process. Note: there is a program/track wide retro that will be conducted the Sunday before the conference to get complete feedback. This is just my two cents.
The simple view of the submission process is: Speakers have a window to draft a session, submit a session for help or submit ready for evaluation. If a speaker submitted to help, they received at least one coach providing them with feedback on how to improve their submission before they submit for evaluation. If they selected draft, no feedback/review occurred. If they selected ready for evaluation, this was reviewed to determine if selected for the program. You may or may not have received any feedback once in evaluation.
Our primary goal is to create a stellar program for attendees. A secondary goal is to help the community with their submissions. I’m a huge fan of this conference because we do both (other conferences it is a complete black box with zero opportunities for feedback).
What went better:
- As I felt last year, this approach has dramatically reduced waste for submitters and review teams.
- Early agreement on pair chairs for each track
- Chairs, Coaches, Evaluators…they all kicked butt!
- Value add of the help queue
- Having the same chairs cover the help requests as well as the ready for evaluations
- Wrong track situations were addressed by chairs quickly
- Draft status for submissions
- Increased program team updates to the track team
- Helping submitters understand what is considered during selection
What can be improved:
- Program team updates to the track team – what would they want to know more of during those weeks?
- Some of our help queue response times were lacking
- Some of our review teams could have been bigger to account for life trumping volunteering
- Helping submitters understand what needs to be incorporated, why and not to wait until the last minute
Now I’ll be spending the next couple of months thinking of ideas to help improve the process.
Please feel free to send me any ideas you have!