The House of Agile or Just Another Flea Market?
But something went terribly wrong with this event a long time ago. While the conference presenters claim the intellectual high ground, the many of them are actually there to sell their services. Their presentations are characterized not by a healthy desire to educate but by an unhealthy desire to sell something to their audience.
The difference between wanting to educate and wanting to sell is not trivial. Educational presentations includes an honest assessment of what an audience can learn, hypotheses about the topic at hand and information and resources that attendees can really use when they get back to work.
In contrast, sales-pitch presentations are based on distorted information and incomplete analysis that attempts to prod attendee into initiating some kind of contact that will lead toward a financial benefit for the presenter.
My criticism isn’t specifically directed at Agile Alliance, and it doesn’t apply to everyone who presents or attends. Actually, compared to other conferences, Agile Alliance does a pretty good job of selecting their speakers. The problem is not with speakers’ names and credentials, however, but with their primary intentions.
If you look at last year’s conference program and scan down to the less famous names, the “I'm here to sell” presentations become even more visible and problematic. Ultimately, actual practitioners and people who want to learn something about Agile become surrounded by consultants that pretend their work and results are as significant as the Second Coming.
All humans are taught to and naturally inclined to respect authority, and many tend to believe that those who are presenting at the largest Agile conference in the country(world?) are worthy of the respect they command. Believing in anything that a sales person presents to you is every bit as dangerous as being completely ignorant to what is happening in Agile world.
Since we know all this, why are there so many so-called consultants and sponsor presenting during our Hajj? Is it possible that even 12 years after the creation of the Agile Manifesto we can’t find anyone better to speak to us than a salesman pushing a big model or tool?
What to say at the end except it will be very interesting to see what will happen this year…
- Jorgen Hesselberg
- Saji Rajasekharan
- Agile Development Editorial
- Matthew House
- Matthew House