Would you like to submit an experience report to an Agile Alliance conference, but have some questions about what we’re looking for, or how to submit it?  No worries, we’ve got you covered.  Read below for answers to the questions frequently asked about experience reports.

The Experience Report Track

Do I have to actually write a report or can I just give a presentation?

As noted in the track description, a completed written experience report is a condition of presenting at the conference in the experience report track.

When do I have to write the paper? How long do I have? What if I’ve never written a paper before?

If your proposal is accepted, you will be assigned a shepherd to work with you to help you shape your paper and get it ready for publication. You will establish a schedule with your shepherd, then work over a period of 2-3 months to complete your report.

Do I need to get approval from my company to write an experience report?

Because company policies vary about ownership of written material, it’s important to find out from your company whether or not they have to approve the report and whether or not you can own it.

What’s the difference between an experience report and a case study?

A case study typically describes practices, techniques or tools used to define and resolve a problem or to address an opportunity within an organization, or within its projects or programs during product development and enhancement. A case study usually evaluates and promotes the usage of the practices, tools and techniques which it includes. As such, it often has a prescriptive tone.

An experience report often covers much of the same territory, but is relayed from the perspective of the experience of the author in adopting the practices, techniques or tools.  Rather than being prescriptive, it is reflective; it provides a way for readers to understand the personal insights of the person who had the experience.

Where is the report published?

The report will be published on the Agile Alliance website. In addition, since you own the copyright, you are free to host your report on your company’s website or personal blog.

Who owns the copyright of my report?

You own the copyright of your report, and you grant permission for the Agile Alliance to publish it on the Agile Alliance website.

Can I write experience report where the company is anonymous?

Because company policies vary about confidentiality, it’s important to find out as soon as possible from your company whether or not it can be named in the report. That said, please keep in mind that this track prefers reports where the company is named.

Can consultants write experience reports?

Yes, and it’s even better if you get a co-author who is with the company where the experience took place.

When would I be better off submitting to another track?

If you intend to provide a “how to” presentation or one in which your own personal experience plays a minimal part, another track may be a better fit for your proposal.

If you need more than 25 minutes to make your conference presentation of your experience or if you would like your conference presentation to engage the audience in a highly interactive way, you are better off submitting it to another track.

The Experience Report Proposal

Who will read the abstract? (Who should I write it for?)

The abstract will be read by both the reviewers of the proposals and potential conference attendees. It needs to let them know why it would be valuable and interesting to attend your presentation and read your experience report.

Who reads the other sections?

The lessons learned section is also for both the reviewers and potential conference attendees.

The information section is solely for the reviewers of the proposals.

What should I put in the information section?

The information about the experience section is read only by the reviewers. It helps them compare your proposal to the many other proposals which are submitted to this track.  It’s a good place to provide some context for the conditions in which your experience occurred, such as at a large or small company, with a large or small team, on a simple or complex product or project, etc. It’s a good idea to briefly include one or two examples of the kind of actions you took, the impact of those actions, what you discovered, and what you do differently now. Another way some folks help reviewers understand their experience has been to briefly elaborate on one or two of the topics which appear in the lessons learned section. Reviewers also need to know about challenges you may have faced in moving to what you do differently now, and how you overcame those challenges. And they will be interested in what next steps you are thinking of taking as your initiative continues to move forward.

Some proposers have attached or linked presentations or previously written papers to their proposals to give the reviewers an idea of what they intend to cover; you are always welcome to do so.  That said, with the large number of proposals this track receives, it is not always possible for all reviewers to go through all of the attachments and links which are provided, so please summarize some of the thoughts you relay in the attachments or links directly in the information section.

Whose perspective are the lessons learned section items? (The attendee or me as a writer of the experience report)

Unlike what other tracks require, the “lessons learned” section here is for your experience, so it is for the lessons which you learned.

Should I use the “ask for feedback” state for writing the proposal?

The Experience Report Team is always glad to provide guidance to those who submit proposals to the track. Please do not hesitate to move your proposal from the Draft State to the Feedback Requested State to find out whether you have provided enough information for the team to evaluate your proposal. We look forward to your proposals!!

How soon after I ask for feedback can I expect to get a reply with help?

You can expect to hear from a reviewer from this track will within 48 hours from when help is requested.

How soon do I need to act on the suggestions in the “ask for feedback” reply?

Acting on the reviewer’s suggestions is, of course, optional and you can move your proposal to the “ready for evaluation” state at any time.  As a courtesy, if you intend to act on the suggestions, please either follow up within 48 hours or post a reply to let the reviewer know roughly when you will follow up on the suggestions. You may have several iterations of your proposal that you ask for feedback on.

Where can I find examples of good submissions to the Experience Report Track?

Here are two which are examples of well-written but differently written submissions which helped our reviewers understand the insights and reflections the submitters plan to share: