Getting up at 4am is never easy for me, and so it wasn't this time, especially after getting to bed only three hours earlier. Nonetheless, on the 8th of April, thanks to TouK, I was getting myself on a train to Cracow for 2 days long Agile Central Europe Conference, when out of a sudden I saw a man walking out his dog. That made me think: if this guy has so much love for his pet to walk it out in the middle of the night, then I definitely have enough passion for knowledge to stop complaining and be extremely happy that I have a chance to learn something.
And boy, how happy I am that I've been there.
While both 4Developers and Winter Agile Tunning, that I've attended last month, were really great (I can recommend both and I'd like to be there next year), ACE conference was simply fantastic. It seems that it's not only my opinion. Kuba Kurlenda, to whom I gave my free conference pass, that I got (won?) on Winter Agile Tunning for asking Szczepan Feber a hell lot of questions, was also delighted.
There are two organizers mentioned on the site, but as far as I know, it was put together by one man, Paul Klipp, who is a president and Scrum Coach at Lunar Logic Polska, and founder of half a dozen different groups and other undertakings.
So what was so special about this event? Apart from great speakers, that is. First of all, there were only two tracks, but you wouldn't be bored, because as a “bonus third track”, there was an Open Space, where everyone had a chance to put his favorite subject and get some people to talk about it. Breaks between presentations were half an hour long, which was also motivating to get to know each other and start talking. That was what I missed the most on Winter Agile Tunning, a chance to talk with everybody. Finally, Paul was aware that people are getting tired at the end of a day, so instead of putting not-so-hot topics on late hours, he got us the most funny/innovative to wake us up, and after that, we had Lighting Talks, lasting for 5 minutes each, which is precisely as long as you can keep your focus on the subject when you're exhausted.
Big kudos to Paul for all of this. The only two things I'd change were, that we didn't get any pens/notebooks together with conference materials, which is something of a surprise (I wasn't prepared for that and had nothing to note with, except my phone), and that it could've started at noon, so people from other parts of the country would have a bit more time to get there (and to sleep at night).
I had a chance to talk with Paul about it, so chances are, he'll use those ideas next time, as I'm sure there'll be more ACE Conferences in years to come.
So much for the general impressions. I'll have to make one post for presentation, for the sake of readability. Stay tuned.