April 29 - May 1, 2019 | Sheraton Music City Hotel | Nashville, TN
Convince Your Boss to Send You to the deliver:Agile 2019 Tech Conference in Nashville
Interested in going to the deliver:Agile 2019 Tech Conference in Nashville but not sure how to convince your company to fund the trip?
We’ve come up with a detailed plan that will help.
This Will Take Some Work on Your Part
Sending your boss a general letter with vague language about the benefits of conferences is not likely to convince anyone to send you anywhere.
The first thing to know about this exercise is that it’s going to take some work on your part.
The key to getting your company to fund you is to convince those in charge that attending the conference will directly benefit the company.
So you need to focus on the company’s objectives and/or challenges.
Overview of What to Do
Eventually, of course, you will be writing a letter to send your boss. (Download a Sample Letter Here.)
However, you will need to do some work first to determine what to put in that letter.
Here’s an overview of that work. We’ll go into detail on these points below.
- Determine goals that you can pursue at the conference. These goals should be based on your company’s goals or some issues that they’re currently dealing with.
- Find sessions that will help you address those goals.
- Create a list of speakers that you’d like to meet who have knowledge and experience that will help you address the goals and/or issues you came up with above.
- Create an agenda that lists out the sessions your plan to attend and the speakers you hope to talk to.
Set goals for yourself at the conference that align with your company’s objectives or that address issues that you currently see in you company’s workflow, environment, or even in a particular team.
Some of these may be hard to come up with off the top of your head, and so looking through the sessions might help you to see which ones help address your company’s issues and objectives.
But, of course, the opposite can work too.
If you have clear issues or goals that are front and center, use the search function on the Program page to see if there are session that might help.
For example, you might know your team would like to do more with Test Driven Development (TDD). So, search for it and see if any of the sessions that pop could address your situation. (In some cases you might need to use several different search terms in order to unearth any possible sessions that might be of interest to you.)
Set a Goal to Engage with Experts
In addition to searching out sessions to attend, create a list of speakers that you’d like to meet who have knowledge and experience that will help you address the goals and/or issues you came up with above.
Of course, these speakers will likely be speakers of the sessions you’d like to attend.
Create a set of questions you’d like to ask each speaker, questions that their specific expertise and experience will help you address what's going on at your company.
You might, for example, set yourself the goal of talking with at least 3 speakers. Then try to create at least 3 questions for each speaker. While some of the questions may be relatively general and open-ended, try to have them address your specific goals/issues you or your team is concerned with.
(Of course once you get to the conference, you may find your questions answered in the sessions themselves. However, try to be alert for any opportunities to take the questions to a deeper level or to address related issues. You may or may not end up actually engaging with some speakers. But either way, you should hopefully come home with some progress made on the questions you formulated.)
Set an Agenda for Yourself
Once you have a list of goals/issues to focus on, you have a list of sessions you’d like to attend, and you have a list of speakers you’d like to meet and engage with, set an agenda for yourself.
You will then want to align your goals with the sessions you’d like to attend and the speakers you’d like to talk to.
If you have a clear set of a few goals, it’s probably best to organize your agenda by the goals/issues you hope to address.
For example, let’s say you have identified the 3 areas to concentrate on and you have an “Other” section for things that don’t fit easily into one of those 3 main areas.
List them out, and then list the corresponding sessions you plan to attend, adding a sentence or two about how that session addresses an issue the company is concerned with.
- Goal/Issue #1
Session ABC – This session should help us with 1, 2, and 3.
Session DEF – This session will hopefully give me new ideas and approaches to the issues of 4, 5, and 6.
Session GHI – This workshop should give me some good, practical ideas about 3, 5, and 7.
- Goal/Issue #2
Session MNO – This session should help us with 1, 2, and 5.
Session PQR – This session will hopefully give me new ideas and approaches to the issues of 3 and 4.
- Goal/Issue #3
Session VYX – This session should help us with 1, 2, and 4.
Session YZ – This session will hopefully give me new ideas and approaches to 1, 3, and 5.
You will also want to do this with the speakers/experts you plan to meet.
If you don’t have a clear set of a few goals to pursue, then you might just list out your ideal agenda chronologically – of course, still mentioning how you hope attending each session will correlate with your company and their issues/goals.
Talk About Agile Alliance and the deliver:Agile Conference
If the person you need to convince is an experienced Agile practitioner, then there’s a good chance they’ve heard of Agile Alliance.
But not everyone has, of course. If they haven’t heard of us, it would be a good idea to let them know who we are and what kind of reputation we have.
Feel free to copy any of the information below to use for yourself. (You can also see the sample letter for language to use.)
About Agile Alliance
Agile Alliance is a non-profit organization that was created to promote Agile values, principles, and practices.
The Alliance was founded by a group of the original Agile Manifesto authors. (The Agile Manifesto is the founding document of Agile Software Development itself.)
About the deliver:Agile Technical Conference
The deliver:Agile Technical Conference is meant to focus on the more technical side of Agile, i.e. on the "delivery" aspect of it.
While programmers and engineers certainly benefit from our larger, more general Agile conference (Agile20xx), deliver:Agile is meant to be smaller and tailored more to the technical crowd.
It's also meant to be a little more hands on. For example, this year, we have 16 workshop sessions available to attendees in the 3 days of the conference.
The Cost of the Conference
Of course, you will want to give your company at least a rough idea of the cost up front.
These are areas to consider:
- Conference Registration (If you become an Agile Alliance “Member” for $100 before you register, you can save $100 on your registration cost, essentially getting a year's membership for free.)
- Hotel Costs
- Transportation Costs
- Transportation to and from the airport
- Meals (Breakfasts and Lunches are provided at the conference. There are also receptions where food is present. So overall, costs for meals can be kept relatively low.)
Conference Registration: $1,295 +$100 for Membership = $1,395
Hotel Costs: $200 x 3 nights = $600
Taxi to and from Airport: $50
Meals: $25 x 4 days = $100
Sample Letter Below
I would like your approval to attend the deliver:Agile Tech Conference presented by Agile Alliance. It will be held in Nashville, TN from April 29 - May 1, 2019.
Of course, I will report back with what I’ve learned. But more than that, I hope to come back with some practical information that will help us right away.
To do that, I’ve set out some goals to pursue while there.
I have chosen 3 main areas to focus on at the conference.
- Goal/Issue #1 – A quick word on why it’s important to the company.
- Goal/Issue #2 – A quick word on why it’s important to the company.
- Goal/Issue #3 – A quick word on why it’s important to the company.
I have chosen a number of sessions to attend that I feel will directly address the goals I mentioned above.
- Session ABC – This session should help us with 1, 2, and 3.
- Session DEF – This session will hopefully give me new ideas and approaches to the issues of 4, 5, and 6.
- Session GHI – This workshop should give me some good, practical ideas about 3, 5, and 7.
- Session MNO – This session should help us with 1, 2, and 5.
- Session PQR – This session will hopefully give me new ideas and approaches to the issues of 3 and 4.
- Session VYX – This session should help us with 1, 2, and 4.
- Session YZ – This session will hopefully give me new ideas and approaches to 1, 3, and 5.
Talking with Experts
I have also identified a number of experts that I hope to speak with.
- Expert #1 – This is the presenter of the XYZ Session. I hope to talk to her about the situation we have with XYZ and get her opinion.
- Expert #2 – This is the presenter of the 123 Session. I would like to ask him more about ABC.
- Expert #3 – This is the presenter of the DEF Session. I read an interesting blog post she wrote about DEF, and I hope to talk to her about that more.
- Expert #4 – This is the presenter of the 456 Session. I hope to talk to him about 456.
About the Conference and Agile Alliance
The organization behind this conference, Agile Alliance, is a non-profit that was formed by a group of the original Agile Manifesto authors – i.e., the people who launched the whole idea of Agile Software Development itself.
While they hold the largest Agile conference every year, this particular conference is smaller, more hands-on, and much more geared toward a technical audience. Many of the very best Agile experts participate every year.
I’ve broken down the approximate costs below.
- Conference Registration: $1,295 +$100 for Membership = $1,395
- Hotel Costs: $200 x 3 nights = $600
- Flight: $350
- Taxi to and from Airport: $50
- Meals: $25 x 4 days = $100
Thank you for taking the time to review this request. If you have any questions, please let me know.