The Norwegian word “smidig” means “agile”. So when we wanted to make a Norwegian conference for the Oslo Agile community, “smidig 2007” (November 26th and 27th) was a natural choice for a title.
The seed of the conference was idea by Nils Christian Haugen and Aslak Hellesøy to have a whole day devoted to open spaces. Meanwhile, I had been experimenting with “lightning talks” on Oslo XP meetup, a user group that meets in Oslo every month. The inception of the open spaces conference was delayed over the summer, and towards the end of the summer, Trond Pedersen and myself were discussing the success of the Oslo XP meetup lightning talks over a beer. The more we thought about it, the more it seemed natural: We need a whole day devoted to lighting talks. Meanwhile, Simen Fure Jørgensen decided to start up Oslo Lean Meetup.
We tossed the ideas around on the smidig.no forum for a while, and Christian Hauknes noticed how disorganized we all were about it, and decided to make it all come together. Along the way, many enthusiasts have contributed. Without them, it would all still be a fantasy in the minds of a few people.
Finally, we all came together with a single vision: A two day conference for the community, by the community. We know that there are a lot of people with extremely valuable experience who seldom get heard. Instead, conferences focus on big names that tend to overshadow the participants.
We hope that Smidig 2007 will be different. Both days of the conference are devoted to ways to get the participants to learn from each other. Open spaces workshops allows for in depth exploration of topics and experiences, while Lightning Talks, a presentation form that limits all talks to 10 minutes, allows for a wide range of point of view and experience.
Over 50 speakers have already signed up. For a conference where we expect a total of not much more than 200 participants, this is great. I’m overwhelmed by the great support of the business community. Over 20 sponsors have signed up, ensuring that we won’t go broke in the process of pulling together this conference. We have the budget to pull of a spectacular conference dinner, video recording of the whole event, and the most interesting venue in all of Oslo.
There are still a lot of things that could be improved. If you read this blog, and you would like to play around with the Rails-based conference application, organize a conference dinner, organize an open space conference, write about the conference, discuss experiences using agile principles on the forum, or help move chairs and table around during the conference, we would like your help. Or even better: If you yourself see room for improvement. Send an email to the conference mailing list to get in touch with us.
I have always been impressed by the insights of Oslo software professionals. I am looking forward to hearing a dozens of them speak in November.