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2 August 2012

Post event report on LAST Conference

On 27th July Swinburne University hosted an industry conference in the EN building. The theme was lean, agile and systems thinking in the IT industry, hence the name LAST.  There were 191 attendees and 37 speakers and presenters. There were 5 tracks of content from 9am to 5pm. 

Mark Richards Empathy Mapping

The event was organised by Ed Wong and me, Craig Brown. Raj Vasa supported us with logistics and promotion to the DDD network. (DDD was hosted in the EN building on the 28th July.) Paul Dealy and his team helped with the physical setup and logistics and were the reason things ran smoothly throughout the day.

The motivation for the event was to provide a low cost, practitioner oriented knowledge sharing event. For me (Craig) it was also about getting my team and the people I work with access to high quality content that we otherwise couldn't access.

Neil Killick on Being Agile
The presenters were a mix of consultants, trainers and practitioners from industry – mostly from Melbourne (a few from Canberra and Brisbane.) The presenters were invited to attended from the organisers’ professional network.

It wasn't an unconference format, although we had space in the agenda for unplanned content and discussions. We wanted to balance the ability to get together and run your own conversations with focused sessions on particular topics we understand the industry wants to hear more about.

The ticket prices for the event was $50 which was mainly in place as a commitment fee for people to show up. Given the venue was provided by Swinburne we spent the revenue on catering for the event by Blac Café (Glenferrie Rd) and with a bar tab at the Hawthorn Hotel at the end of the day.

People playing Michi Tyson's choose your own pathway boardgame
The sentiment for the event was very positive. People made favourable comparisons to Agile Australia, a larger conference from May, and made comments such as ‘the university environment felt better for a day like this than a hotel conference room.

From an organiser’s perspective they day seemed to be a brilliant success. Everyone there was energised and excited. When I came to work on Monday my Swinburne colleagues were bussing with conversations about ideas they had picked up and things they wanted to explore further.

Ed and I would be keen to work with Swinburne again next year on a second LAST conference.