The Italian Agile Day expanded its 2013 edition to become a 2-day event, prepended by professional courses while keeping the Friday and Saturday fully free and financed by donations. The venue was located in Reggio Emilia, courtesy of the University and of the Restart organization.
Attendance was of more than 300 people, consisting of developers, Product Owners, coaches, and everyone else that has to do with software development. The event is notstrictly technical like other conferences, the theme being the Agile manifesto and the movements born from it or that have some affinities (such as Lean).
Friday 29th November was dedicated to workshops, interactive events with a limited number of participants. Personally, I attended the Code Retreat organized by Gabriele Lana as a coach: as you know, in December the Global Day of Code Retreat will take place and we will have events in Italy in 5 different cities (I know, other countries have 5 per city.)
Keeping 30 programmers in a single room for the day with the goal of improving their craft was a success. As I learned over the years, the goal of these events is to instill the feeling that practice is necessary to our profession, and to provide some simple ways of exercising that can be used outside of the event in the future.
The dinner for Friday was organized by the conference and was based on Emilian dishes. As you know, the value of the conversations between the attendees of the conference increases with the time they stay together, so this dinner was definitely a must-have.
The Agile Day was also atypical in the organization of lunch and breaks. Being a self-financed event, it did not feature any of the perks of other Italian events such as the phpDay. However, this small budget makes it free from corporate sponsorship, which is why you won't see a sponsored talk by Oracle or Microsoft there. It is also difficult to sell tickets due to fiscal concerns, so the balance is tilting towards the free event side, with nice results.
Agile Day is also atypical in how to run a call for papers. This year the software for the XP Day conferences organization was adapted to run the CFP, via a perfection game. During the game, lasting several weeks, wannabe speakers submitted their talks to the feedback of others to work on the scope and the main points of their proposals. The time for a speaker to edit its talk is limited, but even a little feedback goes a long way.
Satudary was instead dedicated to talks, divided into 5 different tracks between the Teatro Ariosto and the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
During the morning I followed Giulio Roggero's talk on Agile in 45 minutes, introducing Scrum and Kanban to newbiew along with several practices to get started; and Alessandro Andreis talk on documentation in an Agile context.
I held a lightning talk on testing images in the afternoon, but had to leave shortly after. I feel also technical content was welcome in this conference, which is usually oriented to methodology and team-wide skills instead of particular tools (after all is people and interactions...)
I also left early because of the 3-day course by J.B. Rainsberger I was just coming from. To use an expression from @ziobrando, my head was opened up and filled with ideas so that it could not be closed anymore. :)
If you attended Agile Day, make sure to post a review of the event or of the single talks you have attended: feedback is one of the basis of Agile processes. It's been 10 years since the first edition, but the Italian Agile Day continues to bring new attendees and to be kept free from self-interested sponsorships.