Home > Uncategorized > Invited Sessions – Did I read that correctly?

Invited Sessions – Did I read that correctly?

As I have mentioned before the theme for this year’s agile conference is Learn. Practice. Explore… This is more than just a tag-line. It is the clear intent of the Program Committee to have sessions that vary in experience level. Having this desire leads to a quandary with regard to relying entirely on the submission system process to yield the right balance of sessions. Therefore, we made a decision to break a bit with tradition and invite specific sessions. The sessions that we choose to invite were the 180 minute sessions. These sessions are clearly the longest and require the greatest amount of preparation.

How will the committee choose the sessions? This is a fair question, here is the criteria in priority order:

  1. The session content fills a specific hole in the program, either from a pure content perspective or from an experience level.
  2. The session provides a fresh perspective on a particular topic.
  3. The presenter scored in the top 20% with regard to feedback at last year’s conference

My recommendation in general is to submit your session into the normal submission process. You will be limited to selecting a time of 60 or 90 minutes. As the program committee evaluates the sessions we may get back to you to see if a particular session can be expanded.

Inviting sessions immediately brings to mind questions about fairness. Are the invited speakers friends of the program committee, etc. This I can state without question is not the criteria for selecting invited sessions. In order to make it very clear the following people will not be invited speakers at the conference due to potential conflicts of interest.

  • Conference Chair – who would want me to speak for 180 minutes anyways
  • Program Committee – Pollyanna Pixton, Brian Button, and Lowell Lindstrom
  • Agile Alliance Board Members – Please see the Agile Alliance web-site for the complete list.

As you can see a number of these people would be on a short list to invite and in fact would qualify based on the criteria listed above. All of these people are welcome to submit sessions into the normal submission system.

Click here to contact me directly if you have questions or comments.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Jean Tabaka
    March 1, 2010 at 06:41


    This is a great clarification! I wish I had taken the time to read it before consternating for so long about what “invited” meant and how “invitations” were born. Your blog now makes perfect sense. I am glad to hear that the Program Committee is being thoughtful in its approach to which sessions should be longer. I hope that part of your criteria will be to personally interview prospective presenters and to gain evidence that the session would not just be lecture. And, to encourage new voices into longer sessions, I hope the committee would be prepared to give guidance about how to create a great 180-minute experience.


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