On Saturday, we (AgilCoop) ran the first 2008 agile conference in Brazil (although TDC had quite a few agile talks, the focus was not in agile). The Encontro Agil (or Agile Meeting) happened at the IME (Instituto de Matemática e Estatística - Mathematics and Statistics Institute) of USP (University of São Paulo). The event was free (as in free beer). We had around 200 attendees, 16 speakers, 2 debates and a free lunch.
We followed several ideas from the Agile 2008 conference. We had an ongoing retrospective on a wall between the two main rooms, we had an open spaces room that was interesting but quite empty since people are not used to those ideas, we had a birds of a feather session with 5 rooms discussing several topics and a huge updatable conference schedule.
On the overall, the feedback was great. Some things people pointed out in the retrospective board: we have to have more coffee, especially in the morning and after lunch. There was a load of information to be absorbed in too little time. Maybe increase the conference size or reduce the amount of information on each talk. Hand-over material has to been better selected.
On the other hand, people loved the agility in the event. We had to find a replacement talker (that was me) because another talker (Jorge) was late and the talk ran quite nicely. We adjusted the schedule on the fly to allow Jorge to give his talk anyway. The free lunch was one of the great points and birds got a nice feedback too since interaction is nicer than just listening.
A few statistics of the event. We had almost 500 people that registered themselves to come. From those, only around 300 confirmed their participation on the event a couple days before. And we had 200 attendees which gives us something around 60% drops from the original registration. As it is frequent on computer science conferences, we had 16% female attendees. Around 80% of the public was either a manager or a developer and had between 25 and 45 years old. We also had 41% of the attendees that had no experience with agile methods and 43% that were novice to it (had less than 1 year of experience). To my information, 60% never contribute to free software projects and 25% contribute occasionally. Finally, music is the extra-curriculum activity that most people practice (44%) and/or would like to learn more (48%) followed closely on the learning wish list by dance (35%).
I guess this is it for now. We will have all the content of the advanced talks on the web and a few videos of the event published around. I will post those when they are available. All slides should be available at the AgilCoop web site in a few days as well as on the conference's web page.
Future conferences in Brazil that will have some agile content are Rails Summit Latin America 2008 organized by Locaweb and mainly Fabio Akita and Falando em Agile organized by Caelum. Both will happen in October while I am at OOPSLA 2008 so I won't be there but I expect them to be quite interesting.
And get ready for next year, our goal is to have at least one international speaker.