Why do we need to submit this year?

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You’ve read enough by now about what the pandemic did to us all. We fled our office spaces trying to stay safe. In-person events were canceled because we all weren’t comfortable attending. Everyone retreated into our homes where we, many of us still to this day, wrapped a cocoon around our homes trying to keep what was out there at bay.

Many of us had to change jobs and roles during the pandemic. The uncertainty over how necessary we all are came up many times. My own wife left the profession she had known since college because event planning became less relevant suddenly.

We learned about mental health in a way we never had before. Studies have shown the average amount of time spent alone grew by 10 hours per week for many of us. I remember Lyssa Adkins saying in an early webinar the goal is to maintain the status quo every day.

This is why in 2023 we need to lean into getting back to learning from each other

My professional education in this industry has been quite the journey. Yes, there were paid courses I attended and gained certification from. That was just the baseline though. I needed more to become the professional I felt I could someday become.

I attended local meetups to hear the stories and do-overs from my peers. Mentors were garnered in the dinners afterward and from meeting people virtually over social media. Volunteering to review submissions for events like Agile 20xx, Scrum Gathering, and others helped me understand what was important to the other members of our community. I learned I wasn’t alone, and I wasn’t crazy in some of my approaches.

There is no way I would have progressed the same way without all those channels and others being available to me.

I started submitting to regional conferences for selfish reasons. The company I worked for didn’t have funding to cover my attendance, so the only way I could attend those events was to be admitted as a speaker. Many still are in that boat.

Virtual events got some of us back in the fold in 2021. Unfortunately, many found the barrier of entry more difficult even though there were events more available. After spending professional time over video calls, I found it even more exhausting to spend time and money going above and beyond my work duties.

So we came back together this year, or some of us did. The 20th anniversary of the Agile manifesto, along with professional frustrations the pandemic accelerated in the journeys of organizations created apathy in some of the content.

Why do I want to submit the same old sessions when it doesn’t feel the same to me? Do I need yet another virtual facilitation session? Surely they understand talking about mental health reminds me that I’m not as healthy as I desire to be, right?

The year 2022 made me fully aware that I had stagnated professionally. For these and many other factors.

I would like to argue we can push past the cynicism and rally as a community. Honestly, I need to believe we can rally as a community. It’s been the group of people who walked with me through so many tough times before. The group celebrated the highlights as well. I believe we can capture some of the old magic.

We all need to be submitting ideas this year for Agile 2023

Social media isn’t cutting it for me anymore when it comes to exchanging ideas. The banter chases me away from anything productive. I know some of us have been back to in-person meet-ups, as well as working in office buildings, but I’m still disconnected from a lot. If I didn’t have the virtual connections through various crews, I would be totally on an island other than what I read.

The various channels of learning from before haven’t returned. I need to know what you all have been working on desperately. I need to learn from you all.

I’ve always said the best conference submissions start as an interesting concept and then grow with your connection to it. That can give me an angle into new techniques I’ve been missing. The leadership angles of unlocking Agility. The new connection points for our teams. The technical acumen and sustainable views I need to grow. There are products and organizations that are enriching themselves I need to learn from.

So, please submit an idea or two. Better yet, submit your ideas and volunteer to review others for our merry band. You can read exponentially more ideas and concepts if you read them all!

Some of you haven’t submitted in years because you feel you’ve said all you need to say. Others want to make room for others to speak up. Many are still trying to find their voice to speak for the first time. All of those are amazing candidates to put something new in the ether, because as rah-rah as this post sounds, we really need your ideas more than ever.

I do not believe we have reached our apex together by a long shot. Whether you submit or attend in Orlando next year won’t change that. If we all lean in just a bit more than the past couple of years, though, I think we can prove to each other we have a lot more runway ahead of us.


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.

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