I’ve been speaking at TechWell events since around 2000. First, I started out with track talks. Then I started sharing full-day and ½ day workshops. I’ve also been invited to deliver several keynotes at the Star and Agile Dev / Better Software conferences.

All-in-all, it’s been a professional relationship that I’ve really enjoyed.

Recently, the long-time program chair, Lee Copeland, stepped aside. I truly want to thank Lee for the years he invested in helping me grow this side of my consulting practice. I owe him a great deal.

Program Chair & Talent Scout

Given my history and experience, TechWell approached me to help fill the Program Chair role for the:

  • Agile Development
  • Better Software
  • DevOps

conference series going forward.

The conference has a West / East format. The West version is held in Las Vegas, typically in early June. The East version is held in Orlando, typically in early November.

The programs are usually developed 8 months in advance of the conference, so you need to reach out to me early if you’re interested in participating.

The program chair is responsible for pulling together approximately:

  • ~4 Keynote presentations
  • ~4 full-day workshops
  • ~20 ½ day workshops
  • ~60 60-minute track talks

across the three major themes (Agile Development, Traditional Software Development, DevOps) of the conference.

And the talent scout part of my role will focus on looking for new and interesting topics, speakers, and formats to introduce to the conferences.

Call for Participation

I’d like to make an open request to everyone in my network to submit proposal either online here: https://www.techwell.com/software-conferences/be-a-speaker  or by sending ideas directly to me at bgalen@techwell.com

You can send them anytime, but key periods for WEST is October – November of the previous year and EAST is January – February of the current year. I know, I know, that’s a waterfall-esque submission cycle. But we need to do it because of our marketing deadlines.

A Bit of Diversity

I was sitting at a table at the latest Agile Development – Leadership Summit. A young woman who was from New York asked me something about a 2-person speaker panel that was presenting.

She asked: look up there, what do you see? 

I answered: two guys with a lot of agile leadership experience sharing their challenges and learnings from a product and technology perspective.

I said: what do you see? 

She replied: 2 middle-aged, white guys.

While the statement was a bit confrontational, the truth of it had a strong effect on me. For the next 30-minutes, she and I explored the steps TechWell and I are and will be taking to increase our diversity.

The point being, I am committed to pulling together a diverse program and am particularly looking for:

  1. New voices with little/no experience, BUT something to say;
  2. Real-world experience reports;
  3. Generational and age diversity;
  4. Ethnic & racial diversity;
  5. Sexual diversity;
  6. Emerging experience with new technologies and techniques;
  7. Varied and engaging presentation styles and formats;
  8. Virtually, diversity along ALL angles.

I was diversity-focused before this conversation. But it reaffirmed the importance of how diversity aligned so nicely with my agile values and those of TechWell. So, I appreciate her keeping it “top of mind” for me!

And Mentoring for New Voices

I’m also planning to help mentor and coach new presenters as time permits. And I’ll be offering presenter preparation webinars periodically to help improve the quality and impact of our first-time presenters.

I’m looking for speakers at all levels, from:

  • Entry level speakers who have something important to share, but who have little/no public speaking and material preparation experience;
  • To speakers who’ve done a little speaking but want to extend that to tutorials and other formats (Lightning Keynotes, Panels, etc.) talk formats;
  • To well-known or well-practiced voices that have something important and impactful to share in our keynote presentations.

I’m committed to helping develop a consistent flow of new folks to complement our experienced veterans.

Wrapping Up

This is a wonderful new opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to putting my own stamp on the conference while building on the existing structures and successes.

I am open to any and all feedback related to this series of conferences. So, please, if you have something to offer, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Stay agile my friends,

Bob.

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