A behind the scenes look – creating the AgileAus program!

Feb 6, 2024 | AgileAus, Feature Articles

Creating the AgileAus program each year is a group effort that involves the dedication and hard work of a passionate team of 40+ volunteers, advisors and organisers. As the program building process is continually evolving year on year, we wanted to share how things are being done in 2024!

Uncovering gems

Speaker Expressions of Interest (EOIs) are accepted into the custom built submission system for two weeks starting from Thursday 1 February 2024. As EOIs come in, reviewers (who work in self-organised teams that are headed up by stream chairs) add comments and questions to EOIs for submitters to answer to help clarify takeaways and tease out outcomes.

Once submissions close off on Monday 18 February, reviewing starts in earnest, and submitters can respond to feedback and update their EOIs should they like to do so. We ask that any final changes to submission are made before COB Friday 23 February.

Between Monday 25 February and Thursday 7 March, reviewers have the unenviable task of whittling down the submissions in their respective streams to each create a shortlist. It is up to each stream as to how exactly they do this however a general set of criteria is observed across the board.

A balancing act

Once a shortlist for each stream is produced, a final program meeting is held where advisors (who represent reviewers from within the submission process as well as trusted external perspectives) and organisers take on the challenge of lifting a balanced program from the shortlisted submissions. There are many factors that are taken into account when selecting which talks to be provisionally offered a place on the program including but not limited to relevance, credibility, novelty and potential impact. We have often said building the AgileAus program is more art than science, and this still rings true!

Special care is given to ensure the depth and breadth of ways of thinking and working are represented, and no single demographic or flavour of Agile is overrepresented. Ensuring the AgileAus stage acts as a true reflection of the communities we serve is at the heart of all the decisions made.

In addition to keynote speakers, invited speakers are brought into the mix to fill any gaps in the content received through the EOI process, or to cover must-have topics that are identified by reviewers and advisors. A small number of paid sponsored sessions are also included on the final Conference program (these talks are offered the same enthusiastic support as any other talk).

By Friday 15 March, all submitters will be notified of where they stand. Only about 1 in 10 EOIs are offered a provisional offer to speak at AgileAus. Those who are extended such an offer are then ushered into the next, and most important process of their involvement!

Room to bloom

Nurturing and supporting speakers to develop their message and skills to deliver the best talk possible is in our Conference DNA and we aim for speakers both new and seasoned to have an empowering experience with our help. Speakers are paired with a volunteer ‘program guide’ who act as sounding boards to help answer questions and offer guidance to ensure their talk resonates.

Speaker bootcamps, both online and in-person offer the opportunity to nail the fundamentals of speaking, as well as dive into the nitty gritty of the tools that can make a talk reach its full potential. Practice runs then help to refine and polish talks before it’s time to shine! Only once a program guide and speaker are happy for a talk to be confirmed on the Conference program in mid-late June 2024 is it offered a place on the final Conference program.

Seeing a somewhat half-baked idea blossom into a show stopping talk on the AgileAus stage is an unforgettable feeling and a journey worth embarking upon!

We warmly encourage you to consider throwing your hat in the ring to speak in 2024 (or nudging someone in your network that has a story to tell). You can find out more about submitting an EOI at agileaustralia.com.au/2024/be-a-speaker/


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