Call for sessions

Call for Sessions

What are we looking for?

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What are you looking for? What would make it a WOW session for you and our participants?

We’re interested in:

  • Experiences with new and old techniques. What worked, what didn’t? Why? What have you learned?
  • Unexpected ideas from other disciplines and sciences. How can we cross borders? What lessons have we missed? How can we collaborate better with other disciplines?
  • Ask for help from other participants. What scary problems confront you and your team?
  • People from outside IT with an interesting story. What can we learn from their experience?
  • Pushing the limits of techniques and organisations, doing the impossible. How far can you go if you challenge commonly accepted assumptions?
  • Back to basics. What happens for example if we really take Extreme Programming values of Simplicity, Commmunication, Feedback, Courage and Respect seriously?
  • Taking back agile. What does agile really mean to you and why is it important?
  • Questioning agile. Where, when and why would you not use agile methods? Why? What can we learn about context and applicability?

The XP Days community loves highly interactive sessions where everyone participates and learns from each other.

During review and selection, your session will get bonus points when

  • you have no slides. Think outside the box and sharpen your story telling skills.
  • it appeals to both technical and functional people. Involve the geeks, challenge the managers.
  • it has the XP Factor. Is it entertaining and crazy? Does it take people out of their comfort zone?
  • you’ve done a session dry run. Did you join one of our try-outs? Did you send a video introduction?
  • your subject is fresh and original. Maybe something outside the domain of IT?
  • it has an original format. Doing something with fruit? Are there any sports involved? Great!
  • your session poses a question instead of giving an answer.
  • if you’re new to presenting at XP Days. First timers receive a warm welcome!

How does it work?

To get high quality sessions from new and seasoned presenters alike, we apply an iterative, incremental and collaborative method from session idea to session delivery at the conference:

  1. You have an idea, a problem or an interesting experience you’d like to share.
  2. Create a Session Proposal. You just need a title and a short description. Specify the presenters of the session.
  3. Fill in details for your session as you get new ideas and feedback from other participants and the organizers.
  4. In return, help other participants improve their session. We use the Perfection Game to give clear, constructive feedback.
  5. Contact the organizers if you’re looking for or offering coaching to new presenters.
  6. After two months, you can no longer submit sessions but you can continue to improve existing proposals. At this time, no additional co-presenters are allowed.
  7. Just before the program committee meets, you can choose the sessions you’d like to see in the program.
  8. Late August, the program committee composes the program based on your preferences, balancing topics, session types and program constraints.
  9. We contact presenters to inform them of the acceptance and rejection of their proposals and to confirm their availability
  10. From early September on, we will publish and fill in the program as presenters confirm their participation.
  11. You can continue to improve your session and session description until two weeks before the conference. We recommend you perform as many tryouts of your session as possible. We will provide tryouts opportunities with the Agile Belgium and Agile Holland communities.

Session review criteria

We intend to create an attractive program with high quality sessions. Keep in mind the following review criteria and remember that the best way to get to a high quality session is by trying it out and improving based on real feedback.

  • Who will be interested in this topic? Would you go to this session?
  • Is the description clear and inviting? Will it attract its intended audience?
  • What value will this session bring to participants and organizers?
  • Why is this subject relevant to agile & beyond?
  • How does this session fit the conference?
  • What’s innovative and unusual about the session? topic, format, …
  • Does the session also address why things (don’t) work, and not just ‘what’ and ‘how’?
  • Is the session structured in such a way that its objectives can be reached?
  • Is the timetable realistic?
  • How does the session format facilitate learning?
  • What are the expected results and outputs? Can these be communicated to people who were not at the session

 

We strive to make the process open and transparent, by involving the community in the process. There’s however no such thing as a completely objective selection process. As a program committee, we will also apply some other criteria:

  • diversity of presenters; balance between experienced and new presenters; presenters from different countries
  • diversity of session formats
  • diversity of topics: hands-on technical stuff, process related, management, coaching…
  • balance between real world experiences, tools & techniques, innovative ideas
  • a maximum of 2 sessions per presenter and no more than 1 session per presenter per day

Perfection Game

The Perfection Game is a way to give constructive feedback whenever you want to improve something. It was developed by Jim & Michele McCarthy as part of their Core Protocols. It works as follows:

  • Someone presents their work (e.g. a session proposal) and asks for feedback
  • You rate the work on a scale of 1 to 10, based on how much value you can add:
    I will for example give a 9 out of 10 if I see little value that can be added, a 5 out of 10 if I can double the value of the work, and 1 out of 10 if I can make the work worth 10 times more valuable.
  • Explain what you liked about it: what justifies the score? What should be kept?
  • Explain what you would do to make the work perfect: What concrete actions should be taken to make it a 10 out of 10?

 

When you give feedback:

  • Think deeply when you explain how to make a work perfect. It’s tempting to make negative remarks, yet make them constructive
  • Explain your reasoning – e.g. “I would do X because of Y”
  • Don’t skimp on the “What I liked section”; the good parts should be kept and reinforced
  • Make sure that your score reflects the contribution you think you can make
  • Follow up and give updated feedback when the session proposal has been changed. Iteration leads to perfection.

 

When you receive feedback:

  • Thank the person giving the feedback
  • Don’t argue with the person giving feedback, but ask questions to clarify the input
  • You are responsible for the quality of the work, you decide if you apply the feedback you received