Reflections from Emma Armstrong, Agile2020 Conference Chair

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Hello everyone!


I appreciate in this difficult time in the world, people have a lot more to contend with than a conference being cancelled. However I want to extend a personal message to all the people who have worked tirelessly to put together what would have been an amazing Agile2020.

To all the Speakers who took their time and energy to create submissions, that sparked something in the program team: this content is what brings people together and offers opportunities to learn, question, and converse. I really hope you will all consider submitting in the future.

To the Track Chairs who created teams of engaged, enthusiastic reviewers and shaped their tracks: in addition to working with speakers to hone submissions and finalise the sessions for the track, behind the scenes the track chairs continuously provided support and input and challenges convention and drive for continued improvement in all aspects involved in putting together the conference program. If you didn’t know already, these track chairs are amazing.

To the Reviewers who give their time to work with speakers in the feedback phase of submissions: they ensure that the essence of each session shines through the submission. They then evaluate all the submissions to help determine the sessions for a track. Without reviewers, we could not provide the responsiveness to submitters. So thank you for your generosity and wisdom.

To the Program Team who have supported me and the track chairs throughout the year: the differences with us as a team are what bring the strength to the end points that we get to.  They have strived to build on previous years and enhance things even further. They are wonderful people with so much strength of character and they enabled so much to be accomplished and made it great fun, too.

There are so many other people involved behind the scenes keeping me on the track, ensuring the conference would run seamlessly and look fantastic, provide varied and fun networking opportunities, as well as establishing new initiatives for this year’s conference.

Personally, I am going to miss seeing everyone (attendees, speakers, track chairs, reviewers, volunteers) — both the new people I would have met who would have helped me grow and challenged some of my thinking and the people I already know, who make me feel I am amongst friends. I will miss the learning possibilities and overall seeing us all come together and make it the great collaborative community event that it would have been.

It is such a shame to see all the hard work of everyone involved not come to fruition, but hopefully it can be built upon in the future. I feel honoured and grateful to have been the conference chair on this journey with everyone involved over the last year, and can not thank you all enough.


About the Author


Emma comes with a degree in Computer Science many moons ago and chose to work as a test engineer, starting out as a compiler tester in the semi conductor chip industry. During this time she became familiar with both hardware and software and used many languages to develop and enhance automated testing against a suite of tools and enable developers to be able to initiate their own builds and determine the status of these and allow them to investigate build issues early.
This good grounding in the development lifecycle and the varied development activities form what is now called DevOps, develop build and test through to release was invaluable to the rest of her career.
She has continued this career path under different job titles and in different methodologies and varied languages but always believing that it is important to consider the whole cycle from conception through to value delivery, support and maintenance. This led to a feeling of affinity with agile and she now works as an agile coach. She has been actively involved in training and coaching internally throughout her career but stepped out of her comfort zone to reach a wider audience within the community. Being part of the BBST training team, speaking at conferences and running workshops and continually learning.


This is an Agile Alliance community blog post. Opinions represented are personal and belong solely to the author. They do not represent opinion or policy of Agile Alliance.