June 2024:

My Visit to AONW 2024

By Alka  Bhandari

Attending the Agile Open Northwest Conference was an inspiring and enriching experience that I am excited to share. This conference, held annually, gathers a diverse group of professionals dedicated to exploring and advancing agile methodologies. This year, the event was particularly impactful, offering numerous opportunities for learning, networking, and personal growth.

The Atmosphere

From the moment I arrived, I was amazed by the welcoming and collaborative atmosphere. Agile Open Northwest prides itself on being an open space for all participants to share their ideas, experiences, and insights freely. This environment fosters a sense of community and encourages open dialogue, making it an ideal setting for both newcomers and seasoned agile practitioners.

Key Takeaways

One of the highlights of the conference was the variety of sessions available. Each session was participant-driven, following the Open Space Technology format, which allowed for dynamic and spontaneous discussions. Here are some key sessions and takeaways from my visit:

Embracing Change and Fostering Innovation by Willy Woods

This session focused on the human aspect of agile, emphasizing the importance of a growth mindset and a culture of continuous improvement. Discussions centered on techniques for fostering innovation within teams and the role of leadership in supporting agile values.

TDD Games by Ted M. Young

Another standout was Ted M. Young’s session on TDD (Test-Driven Development) games. This interactive session provided hands-on experience with TDD practices, illustrating how games and simulations can effectively teach critical agile concepts and techniques.

6 minutes technical interview by Steve Kuo

Steve Kuo demonstrated his technic of interview which provided valuable insights into the interview process for technical roles. Participants had the opportunity to practice answering technical questions in a simulated interview setting, receiving constructive feedback to improve their interview skills.

One-on-One Session on FEAR with Amazing participants

One of the most impactful experiences was a one-on-one session on FEAR, which stands for Focused Enthusiastic Action towards Results. This discussion delved into how focusing on enthusiastic and purposeful action can lead to noteworthy results, overcoming the barriers that fear often creates. Everyone’s insights provided practical strategies for maintaining focus and enthusiasm in the personal and professional world, which are essential for achieving desired outcomes.

My Role as an Organizer

As an organizer responsible for food and sponsorship, my journey to be part of this conference was filled with learning and support from my amazing co-chairs, Paige, and Andrew. Their guidance and collaboration were instrumental in ensuring the success of our contributions. I would not have had this incredible opportunity without Paige introducing me to the Agile Open Northwest community. Their mentorship and encouragement have been invaluable.

Looking Ahead

Like this year, I am excited to announce that I will be volunteering for the Agile Open Northwest Conference next year, from March 5-7, 2025, in Seattle. I will be taking up the responsibility of food provision once again, ensuring that we offer the best options available. My goal is to provide meals that are allergen-free and rich in protein, catering to the diverse dietary needs of our attendees. Additionally, I am eager to explore new opportunities to support the entire team wherever they require assistance.

Networking and Community Building

Beyond the formal sessions, the conference offered numerous opportunities for networking and building connections. Lean Coffee, lunches, and evening socials gathering were filled with conversations and relationship-building. I had the pleasure of meeting agile coaches, scrum masters, developers, directors, and other professionals who are passionate about agile methodologies. These interactions not only broadened my network but also provided new perspectives and ideas to bring back to my own work.

Personal Growth and Reflection

Attending Agile Open Northwest was not just about gaining technical knowledge; it was also a chance for personal growth. The open space format encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, engage in discussions, and share my own experiences. Reflecting on these interactions, I realized how much I had grown both professionally and personally.

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