Open Agile Cluj, the 6th edition

Open Agile, the 6th edition in Cluj

17 November 2012. It was a great day for the Romanian developer community and for all passionate people in and around Cluj. This was the day when Agile Works and Mosaic Works organized the 6th edition of the OpenAgile conference. As always, its purpose was to popularize both gold old concepts and brand new ideas in Agile, Lean and Software Craftsmanship. Additionally, we often talk about Gamestorming, Change Management, Psychology and other interesting fields. Like the other editions, the event was balanced between information and practitioners’ experiences while mixing organizational and technical topics. OpenAgile was thought from the beginning as a non-profit event that helps knowledge exchange between the members of the Agile Works community. And what better way of sharing ideas and experiences than having three Open Space time slots!

I have to remark the great job done by my colleagues Alexandra and Nicoleta to remotely organize the event. For example, they did not have the chance to see the venue in advance. This works because of the trusted network of conference partners and suppliers that help organizing everything smoothly. But what a work that is! As an attendee, you often don’t see all the aspects of a conference (especially when it all goes well), so here’s a short list: the speakers know where to arrive and how to get to the venue, the volunteers are doing their part of the work, the sponsors are happy with the packages offered, the venue is set-up right, there’s enough coffee and thousands others. There are always small complaints and unexpected events, sometimes conflicting: it’s too warm *and* too cold, the coffee machine broke down etc. Everything was very well in the end, so I’d like to thank Alexandra and Nicoleta for the awesome job they did making it look easy!

I helped a bit with coordinating the call for papers section. We decided to have local speakers talking at the conference. Anyone could have submitted a talk and a jury formed by the organizers from AgileWorks Cluj-Napoca chose the winners. I was simply the connection between the speakers and the community. I think the idea to have a local speaker contest was a success and we will try it again at the next Open Agile conferences.

The evening before the conference we met the volunteers, most of them for the first time, to work on the event materials. You can read a special blog post about that here.

Andrea Provaglio was supposed to open the conference, but his plane coming from Munich was cancelled due to heavy fog. In the best agile manner, a new talk was created the evening before. Jurgen De Smet, with a lot of feedback and support from Maria Diaconu, created a very interesting talk about the financial argument for agile. You can read here the story of creating his talk. I also realized we could steal (“Because we share”) the idea of the speakers talk show from the Agile Lean Europe Unconference of this year. And we did it! Kudos, ALE!

At the end of the evening everyone was calm, tired and excited about the conference. I had to wait for Erik Talboom to arrive later than planned because his plane was delayed (don’t travel to Cluj in autumn). So I went at the airport, had dinner until late, talked a lot, had some beers and finally went to sleep.

The first conference morning, I started running around and doing stuff like sticking the market place and conference wall, checking out if the sound was good, making video tests for filming the presentations and many others. No spare time until the open space! When Alex started explaining the Open Space concept, surprise: only 4 people ever attended an open space. I guess this was the reason why some the time slots were left empty. I did my thing on Technical Excellence and talked with the Cluj and other Romanian professionals on how to do our jobs as programmers better. What practices do we use and when? Here is a summary of our discussions:

TechnicalPractices

Technical Practices

Refactoring

Refactoring

At the end of the conference I was tired, but happy about the positive feedback. I enjoyed talking and learning interesting things with a lot of people. I chatted with Georgiana Gligor about the Global Day of Coderetreat that she helped organizing at the company she works for: Cloud Troopers.
The last moments of the conference passed by drinking wine and chatting with speakers during the Happy Hour Networking Drink. We also discussed about the next community activities and about ALE 2013 Bucharest.
Happy Networking at Open Agile Cluj 2012
After cleaning up the rooms (another long task) it was time to celebrate! We had an excellent Romanian dinner: huge plates filled with traditional food, țuică and good wine.
I think the conference was a success and I look forward to the next year editions, where more crazy ideas and surprises will make you want to attend.

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