Creating a Submission That Increases Your Odds of Being Accepted

July 19 – 22  |  Online

Creating a Submission That Increases Your Odds of Being Accepted

The Agile20XX conference series is the premier Agile conference in the world and, as such, there is a lot of competition for speaking slots. On average the conference receives about 2,500 submissions with only about 200 speaking slots available. That means you need to do all you can to ensure that your submission stands out from the crowd.

Where do I start?

Let’s start with the formalities. In order to submit a session you first need to have an Agile Alliance “Subscriber” level account (don’t worry, it’s free!) and you can subscribe here if you haven’t already. 

Next, it makes sense to familiarize yourself with the submission system. Head on over to the submission system, log in, and poke around. 

Once you’re familiar with the system, you can submit a proposal by navigating to Sessions -> Propose a Session, where you’ll be presented with a form that will enable you to describe your session for evaluation by the content team. In the following sections, we’ll describe a few of the fields that contribute the most to giving your submission an edge.


Start with a good title that is meaningful to the topic. This is your first opportunity to make a good impression. Think of it as the headline of your session. Many people attend sessions based on title alone, so make sure it grabs people’s attention.


The abstract is the marketing for your session. Design it to persuade people to attend. Many good abstracts begin with a startling statement or compelling question. Defining a problem statement and making a call to action can be effective. Great abstracts draw on readers’ emotions, such as appealing to a pain they are feeling or an idea about which they are excited.

To do this, you need to understand your primary audience. Communicating directly to them is key to a good submission. Although there is a dropdown to select audience level, include details here such as “This session is targeted at senior managers inside the company who want to introduce XP and Scrum but are not sure how to get started.”

Consider providing a description of your presentation format, exercises, or activities you intend to include. This helps attendees understand what to expect at your session and decide whether it will be valuable to them.

Above all, ensure your abstract is well written and your ideas are clearly articulated. It should be free of grammatical and spelling mistakes.

Information for the Program Team

This part of the submission form is used to provide details that will help the reviewers and program team better understand your session. The details included in this area will not be published to the online schedule, so you don’t need to be formal in your language or writing style.

This section should describe the mechanics of what you want to do in the session. Include timings, outlines, exercises, or anything that helps the review team understand your thinking behind the session and how you will manage it. If you have a co-facilitator, be explicit about how they will be involved in the session.

Additionally, if you have given this presentation before, please provide a link to the video, slide deck, handouts, or anything else that would help the review team better understand the context of what you would be presenting.

If it is a new presentation, please note that and explain what inspired you to create it for this conference.

Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes is a succinct list of 3-5 clear takeaways that will add to attendee’s knowledge as a result of attending your session . They should not suggest what attendees will leverage at work, but what they will learn or practice within the session.

To construct them well, ask yourself about the specific topics you are addressing. For example:

  • Lots of WIP sources
  • What happens with excess WIP
  • There are tools to increase focus

Now you want to assign a level of action you think they could achieve as a result of attending your session:

  • IDENTIFY various sources of WIP
  • ARTICULATE the impact of excess WIP
  • APPLY simple tools to create focus

This clarity will give your potential attendees a very clear understanding of what they will get out of the session so they can better prioritize the sessions they attend based on their needs.

Presentation History

Tell your story with specifics. Are you a seasoned speaker or are you new to presenting? If you’re new, that’s OK. Make sure you let the reviewers know in this field. Giving reviewers get a sense of your style is useful. Providing a link to a video clip of you presenting or pitching your session, could be very helpful to the reviewers.


Sounds great in theory, do you have an example?

Why yes, we do! With permission from Ellen Grove, here is an example of an excellent submission that she submitted for one of our previous conferences. Thank you to Ellen for letting us repost your submission content!

Here is another example from Jenny Tarwater.

Hopefully we’ve equipped you with some tips to help you make your submission stand out and be accepted for inclusion in the conference. Your submission will help us broaden the knowledge and values of the Agile community and, in return, we will help you get your message out and find your audience.

Submissions are OPEN NOW!

See tips for writing your abstract in order to increase attendance to your session.