The Top 50 Agile Conferences of 2014, including Lean, Kanban or Scrum (and yes, also XP :)

The Top 50 Agile Conferences of 2014, including Lean, Kanban or Scrum (and yes, also XP 🙂 22 ratings with average of 4.95/5

Top 50 Agile Conferences headline banner
Every year many Agile, Lean, Kanban or Scrum (and even XP!) conferences are organized throughout the world. So many that it is hard to choose from such a large number. That’s why I decided to create the list of the Top 50 Agile Conferences for us who work in the IT field. I’ve decided to focus on the Agile, Lean, Kanban or Scrum (and XP) conferences in 2014 because there’s so many other conferences that it would be impossible to complete the list otherwise 😉

Check out the criteria at the bottom of the post, and make suggestions on how to improve these criteria for next year. Now, without further ado, here are the Top 50 Agile, Lean, Kanban or Scrum conferences of 2014.
PS: there’s a handy info graphic at the end to share with your friends 😉

Let’s start with the top 3!

The Top 3 Agile, Lean, Kanban or Scrum conferences of 2014

lean startup conference logo Number 1 in 2014 goes to the Lean Startup Conference.
Lean Startup was one of the hot topics of 2014 and this conference has grown to be one of the most important conferences of the year for anyone working with Products in general and Software Products or services in particular. The Lean Startup conference takes place California, USA.
agile testing days conference logo Number 2 for 2014 was a near-tie for 3 conferences, but in the end the award goes to Agile Testing Days 2014.
Agile Testing Days, is a German based conference that has been collecting plenty of fans and their twitter follower count untied the competition with the remaining 2 contenders for stop #2.

Wrapping up the top 3 for this list was tough. There were two conferences with a very similar score and a very similar twitter follower count, so I decided to give both of them the number #3 spot on this list.

 

lean agile scotland logo
agile-on-the-beach logo
Tied up for 3rd spot in this massive list are Lean Agile Scotland and Agile On The Beach. Both UK based conferences.

These 4 conferences wrap up the Top #3 for the Top Agile, Lean, Kanban or Scrum conferences in 2014. But there are many more to come! Maybe you are looking for a conference near you? Read on for the full Top 10 and later the Top 50 conferences!

The Top 10 Agile, Lean, Kanban or Scrum conferences of 2014

  1. agile brazil logoPosition number #4 goes to Agile Brazil 2014. Agile Brazil is the Agile Alliance endorsed conference for the largest Portuguese speaking market, and took place int he beautiful Florianópolis in 2014.
  2. Italian Agile days 2014 logoWrapping up the top #5 for this list is the Italian Agile Days. Probably one of the oldest Agile events in Europe and certainly the largest in Italy with hundreds or participants every year. This conference has a very interesting business model, whereby they collect donations by participants. If you participate you decide how much it is worth and you show up! Update:Since 2013, the Italian Agile Days it’s a two days event. Free entrance (donations welcome)
  3. Lean conf UK logoIn position #6 is a conference I had never heard about until I started building this list. Lean Conference is organized in Manchester, UK and has an impressive list of speakers.
  4. Lean Kanban Central Europe 2014 takes position number 7 lean kanban central europe 2014 logoin this list. This is probably the oldest Lean+Kanban conference in Europe and one of the conferences responsible for popularity of Kanban in the Old Continent. They sport a great number of great speakers every year.
  5. agile turkey summit logoSpot number #8 goes to Agile Turkey’s conference: Agile Turkey Summit 2014. A conference that happens in Istanbul, which would be a great reason to attend that conference on it’s own.
  6. agile cambridge 2014 logoNumber #9 in this list is Agile Cambridge 2014, another UK based conference, and this makes the UK the best country to be in, if you want to attend several Agile, Lean, Kanban or Scrum conferences without having to fly somewhere foreign. With this spot, the UK sports an impressive 4 conferences in the top 10. Doesn’t it make you want to move there? 😉

Finally, to wrap up the top 10 we have another tie. This was another case of a very tight call, with these conferences being only separated by 49 followers on twitter! With such a close call, I decided to give both conferences a tied spot for number #10. If you thought that one of these conferences being close to my home had something to do with the tie, you would not be completely wrong. After all their motto is: “The coziest agile software development conference”! Do you know which one I’m talking about? 🙂

  1. Agile by example logoturku agile day logoTied for number 10 we have Agile by Example 2014, which a friend of mine called “the best organized conference” he’s ever attended, and Turku Agile Day 2014 up in Finland. Don’t be fooled by the name, even if Turku Agile Day is written in the singular form, this is actually a 2 day conference in the beautiful city of Turku, Finland. Visit that conference if you love Sauna, the sea and drinking a lot. The Finns know how to throw a proper after-conference party! 🙂

The Top 50 continues…

Rank Name Country
11 Just out of the top 10 is ACE! Conf, Agile Central Europe was it’s original name back in 2010. Poland
12 Agile Portugal takes number 12. Portugal
13 XP 2014 took place in Rome, Italy. However this is a conference that travels around in European cities. Next year’s XP conference will take place in Helsinki, Finland. Italy
14 The Manage Agile Conference 2014 is a conference dedicated to the topics of Agile Management. Germany
15 Agile Prague Conference 2014 Czech Republic
16 Agilia Conference 2014 also happens to take place in the Czech Republic, so this is a well represented country on the Top 50 Agile Conferences list for 2014. Czech Republic
17 Scrum Gathering Regional India 2014 is the first Scrum specific conference in this list, and I bet you are asking “why?”. Well, be patient and read the criteria below! 😉 India
18 Agile France Conference 2014 France
19 Agile People Sweden Conference 2014 Sweden
20 Lean Agile Systems Thinking  Conference (LAST) 2014 Australia
21 Agile Roots Conference 2014 USA
22 XP Days Ukraine Conference 2014 Ukraine
23 Brewing Agile Conference 2014 Sweden
24 Lean India Summit Conference 2014 India
25 Agile India Conference 2014 India
26 Agile Games Conference 2014 USA
27 AgileCultureCon Boston Conference 2014 USA
28 The Agile Alliance’s Agile Conference 2014 is one of the largest conferences in the world about Agile. But this ranking is not about who is the biggest, but about other criteria. To find out why such a large conference is ranked at #28 in this list check the criteria section at the end of this post. USA
29 Agile and Beyond 2014 USA
30 Lean Kanban London 2014 UK
31 Lean UX NYC 2014 USA
32 Conference Agile Spain 2014 Spain
33 Agile Open Spain 2014 Spain
34 Agile Tour London 2014 is but one of the many Agile Tour conferences that happen around the world. Agile Tour is probably the biggest Agile Conference community in the world with presence in 30+ countries at this time. Alas, this ranking is not about conference series, and each Agile Tour conference is very local and does not meet many of the criteria outlined below. However, if you are looking for a conference near you, there’s probably an Agile Tour around the corner. Check it out! UK
35 Agile Lean Europe Conference 2014 is actually an unconference that is organized every year in a different city in Europe. This is one of my favorite conferences every year. Not to miss if you have been in the Agile community for a while and want to meet with very experienced agilists. Poland
36 Agile Tour Bordeaux Conference 2014 France
37 Lean Kanban Southern Europe Conference 2014 Italy
38 Scrum Day Europe Conference 2014 Holland
39 Agile Indy Conference 2014 USA
40 Agile Practitioners Israel Conference 2014 Israel
41 Scrum Day France Conference 2014 France
42 Agile Day Riga Conference 2014 Latvia
43 Berlin Scrum Gathering 2014 Having been in the program committee for this event, even I was surprised with the ranking. But read below for more details on the ranking. Germany
44 XP Days Germany Conference 2014 Germany
45 Agile Tour Brussels 2014 Belgium
46 Agile Pune 2014 India
47 Agile Saturday X in Estonia is a local event organized by the local Agile Community non-profit and regularly gathers a lot of participants from the Nordic countries. This event has the characteristic of happening twice a year. However, for this ranking I’m considering event number 10, hence Agile Saturday X. Estonia
48 Agile Australia Conference 2014 Australia
49 Agile Israel 2014 Israel
50 Agile Adria Conference 2014 rounds up the Top 50 for 2014. They call themselves the “Biggest agile event in south-eastern Europe“. I can’t say that for sure, but they sure know how to welcome people! Croatia

But there were many, many more Agile Conferences in 2014

Below are but some of the statistics for the complete list of conferences for 2014:
The full list of 2014 conferences contains:

  • 105 Conferences
  • In 26 countries
  • With a total of around 200 conference days for 2014
  • All the official Twitter accounts put together have more than 100 000 followers

The countries with the most Agile Conferences

Although the USA ranks at the top in number of events (18 in total for 2014), it is Estonia that takes the crown of events organized per million citizens with only 1 event, but for 1.3 Million citizens.
The countries with the most events were:

  1. United States leads with 18 Agile Conferences in 2014.
  2. Germany is a close second with 13 events in 2014 (and that with nearly 1/4 of the US population).
  3. UK is the last in the top 3 of most events with 11 events in 2014.

Criteria

No doubt you have some questions to ask about the criteria! 🙂 Here is the criteria for 2014. Please leave in the comments how would you change this criteria for 2014.

The scoring for this year’s ranking focused on how easy it is to find the conference web-site, or even if there was one conference web-site (you’d be surprised!), as well as contact details for the conference organizers.

I will be organizing the ScanAgile conference in 2015 and this was something that I wanted to learn more about. How do conferences reach their public? So, here is the criteria:

  • The conference must have Lean, Agile, Scrum or Kanban (fear not dear friends, XP is also included 😉 in the title. After all that’s the type of conferences we can call “Agile Conferences”. Many events did not make the list because they did not have those words in the title. Notable examples are: DevConFu in Latvia, SoCraTes Conference in Germany, and others.
  • The conference must not be a spin-off from another conference with the same name, the main conference is included instead. This includes conferences such as the Mini XP days in Belgium for example.
  • All the coaching camps (and there 18 of those!) are excluded. They will likely make it to another list later on.
  • There must be no “training” in the title. I was not looking for a ranking of training events, but rather only Conferences, as I wanted to benchmark my own work for ScanAgile in 2015.
  • The event must have at least 1 day duration. This excluded some interesting events I found on Lanyrd but were half-day or less.
  • No Company events. This is a list of conferences, not promotional events for single companies.

The scoring was done as follows:

  • +1 for having a site (any site).
  • +1 for having an official conference twitter account. The reason for this is simple, I don’t want to know about all the local events or even corporate events arranged by the conference organizer. When I follow a conference I want to have only the content related to the conference itself. During this research I noticed that many conferences don’t have an official twitter account. If I would have one single advice to give conference organizers is this: get a twitter account! I don’t want other stuff from your local community or even your company. I want my conference content!
  • +1 for a duration of 2 days or more. The reason for me is very simple, I want to make sure I get “enough content”, but I also want to have the opportunity to network with the attendees and the other speakers. Having a single-day event makes it hard to socialize after the conference day as many people fly or drive away from the event immediately after the closing keynote. More days = better in my book.
  • +1 for having taken place in 2013. I was not looking for the oldest conferences in the circuit, but I was looking for market validation. If it happens twice (or more), it can’t be that bad a conference. But I did not add any points for being the oldest.
  • +1 for 3 or more sponsors. There are many conferences with 2 sponsors (or even 1). That smells like a poor job of reaching out to the local agile business community, which in turn smells like a half-assed job. So, in my book more sponsors = better event.
  • +1 for having (at least) 1 email available in the conference web-site. I don’t want to use a contact form and then pray and hope that I get a reply. In my book, conferences are there to reach out to the audience. If you hide behind a contact form, you are not doing a great job!
  • -1 for Open Space only. I love Open Space conferences. But that’s not the case for most people that will read this blog post. Many will want to go to an event to find relevant content, that is curated by the conference organizers. Open Space only is a hit/miss affair. You may get what you need or not. If there are sessions to review (title+abstract), it is more likely people will find what they are looking for.
  • -1 for slow website. What? What century do you live in? How can some conferences (and you know who you are!) still use a low-grade, low bandwidth hosting service? Give me the site quickly or get out of my google search results!
  • -1 for unclear duration. Yep, there are still conferences out there that don’t say when they happen, or how long they last. Sad, really…
  • +1 for having a conference specific web-site. This was a stumper for many. Many conferences still live under some folder/directory in a main web-site for the conference promoter or organizer. What a fail! If you can’t be bothered to have a specific brand image for the conference, a specific URL (and I did allow for “prefix” URLs), then you are doing a very bad job at brand development. I won’t penalize you, but I will definitely reward those that worked to establish a high-quality brand for their conference. And the minimum I can ask is for a specific web-site with it’s own domain.
  • -1 for site not in English. Yes, I know that some conferences cater to a local audience that does not speak English every day. That’s fine. But this ranking is in a blog that is written in English, for people that search for information in English. And let’s be honest, if your conference does not have even a web-page in English how likely is it that this is a first-grade conference? Not much.
  • Finally, I included the Twitter follower count for those conferences that have an official twitter account as a tie-breaker factor. It is affect the top 10 heavily, but not the top 50. I must repeat myself and say: get a twitter account for your conference 😉

One more thing…

Top_50_Agile_Conferences_of_2014CThis is how you know I spent too much time preparing this blog post: I even created an infograhic! 🙂
Here it is in all it’s glory (click the image for the full size version), the #Top50AgileConfs infographic for 2014.

That’s it! 2600 words later here is the end of an epic blog post that I hope you found useful. If you did, please share with those that you think will also find it useful. I know I have many times searched for conferences in my community (Agile, Lean, Scrum, Kanban – and yes, also XP). If this post gets shared enough I’ll definitely do a similar post for the Agile Coach Camps (there are plenty of those too!).
Enjoy and retweet!

37 thoughts on “The Top 50 Agile Conferences of 2014, including Lean, Kanban or Scrum (and yes, also XP :)

  1. How about ordering the country list per capita? It’s no surprise most conferences are in the larger countries. What happens when you divide the number of conferences per country by number of inhabitants (or gross domestic product, for another interesting measure)?

  2. Hi Vasco,

    I guess you missed the Agiles 2014 (Medellin, Colombia) conference in your ranking, a very important one in south america (+600 participants).
    +1 for having a site: http://agiles2014.agiles.org/es/
    +1 for official twitter account: https://twitter.com/agiles2014 (1.295 followers)
    +1 for 3 days duration
    +1 for beeing held since 2008 in south america
    +1 for 29 sponsors
    +1 for email agiles2014@agiles.org
    +1 for specific website
    -1 for not in english (and I really don’t agree with this criteria: in this case the site is not in english, but we have more than 600 participantes, and it is really a big success since 2008 for all south-america).

    Maybe it should not be part of your ranking anyway, but seeing other conferences being there, it sounds to me that it could cleraly be part of it…
    I don’t really agree with some of the criteria you use (open space, english), but I propose some idea to improve further rankings to be more global: ask local people some help to propose some conference candidates…

    By the wey the next one will be Agiles 2015, in Montevideo, Uruguay, and you could see it with your own eyes… 😉

    And if ever you would like to participate to a nice Agile Open Camp in Bariloche (moutain zone) in Argentina 17 to 19 of April, let me know, it would be great!

    Regards,

    Thomas Wallet

    • Thank you for your feedback Thomas. Only 50 conferences can be part of the top 50 (even if there are 52 in this one ;). So, not all conferences can fit the list.
      Regarding the criteria, I will want to develop that further in the future as well. Need to collect feedback first 🙂

  3. Hi
    Great work, nice to see so many conference around the world.

    I have one comment:
    It would help to have the whole list, even the score, to improve the transparency.

    And one question:
    How is it that Ágiles 2014 is not in the top 50 list?
    It surprise me.
    (I couldn’t find the 108 list of event to see if is there 🙁 )

    We have a site agiles2014.agiles.org (with specific URL), at it 7th year in a row, +700 persons, +15 sponsors, 3 days, twitter @agiles2014 w/+1200 followers, mail agiles2014@agiles.org.
    It’s not a Open Space only (3rd day is Open Space)
    Duration is clearly stated in the home page
    (ok, no English site)

    I would like to give feedback to the organizers of Ágiles 2015 (it will be in Montevideo, Uruguay) to improve our visibility. What is missing in our events?

    Thanks!

    • Only 50 conferences can make the top 50 🙂 and there were more than 100 in 2014. If you have ideas on how to improve the ranking please share those 🙂

  4. Hello,

    Check out agilecamp.org website for our 2 conference events so far!

    I understand and like your survey of conference events. I am certain you missed few events like the one Stacey Louie hosts with me and other organizers here in SF bay area. It is our annual conference event that we organize at PayPal campus in San Jose, California. Even though it is much smaller event in comparison, we have had great response from agile leadership network communities – both BayALN and Silicon Valley ALN.

    Regards,
    Ravi Tadwalkar, co-founder of agilecamp.org

    • Thank you for the note Ravi. Are these events more in the spirit of Agile Coach Camps (a different list), or are they conferences? (with 1 or more tracks of talks by different presenters)

      • Hi! This is an AgileCamp for anyone (not just coaches).

        +1 = we have a site url of http://www.agilecamp.org
        +1 = we have a twitter account (@agilecampsv) — sv= Silicon Valley
        +1 = we had our first AgileCamp in 2013 (followed by AgileCamp 2014)
        +1 = 3 or more sponsors
        +1 = email available on website info@agilecamp.org (ok its generic but secret is that it goes to a distribution list)
        +1 = we have a conference specific site

        Other things to consider:
        + we post our keynote talks
        + we have 24 sessions to choose from plus 3 keynotes
        + we have a slideshare site and youtube site where speakers post their materials
        Our speakers have included: David Anderson (LKU), Luke Hohmann (Innovation Games), Ryan Martens (founder of Rally Software), Rich Sheridan (founder of Menlo Innovations& author of Joy Inc)

        Our attendees include attendees and speakers from PayPal, eBay, Twitter, LinkedIn, Cisco, HP, Ericsson, Oracle, Salesforce.com, Adobe, among many other companies large & small.

        We hope that you check us out for the next list in 2015!

      • Yes, this is a 1 day conference event with 6 different tracks. We do an additional “Track” where we have “coaches clinic” hosted by well known bay area coaches such as Jeff McKenna and Roger Brown.

        It took us two conferences to settle on format. Stacey Louie (founder of agilecamp.org) is also responding on this thread now.

  5. Hi Vasco,

    Thanks for this great work.

    “+1 for 3 or more sponsors” > what about conferences with no sponsor (like Agile France since 2 years) ?

    Eric

    • I’d encourage all conferences to have sponsors. After all the conferences are there for the community, that includes the business community. In my criteria I consider the Agile business community also an important part of the Agile community. After all, it is because of the businesses that support Agile (as recruiter or service/product providers) that our Agile community grows 🙂

  6. Hi Vasco,

    Thank you very much for this great blog post and list of Agile Conferences. We, the Agile Testing Days Team are very proud being #2 in the world and we want thank also especially our community for their great support over the years. Without all the attendees, speakers and sponsors since 2009 such kinda success wouldn’t be possible! THX so much, hope to see all of you again in November 2015 in Potsdam Germany.

    Best regards,
    Your #AgileTD Team

  7. +1 for 3 or more sponsors

    Interesting. We at AgileFrance voluntarily have no sponsors, as we want to be fully, and only, community-backed. I wonder how that would fit in your scoring 🙂

    Thanks for having featured us anyway! 🙂

  8. Hey Vasco,
    Happy new year and thanks for including http://www.lastconference.com on your list. We are delighted to be there.

    With regards to your ranking system here are some thoughts we have had about our event;

    We are a grassroots conference and we aim to make the conference as accessible as possible to as many people as possible, hence our low low ticket process and one day program.

    Our thinking is one day away from work is more achievable than many days. We also aim to deliver just to our local city rather than to a national or regional market. Lastly rather than have one big four day event we plan on expanding our program to several events across the year.

    Once again, thank you for including us 🙂

  9. Thanks Vasco,

    The GreenBullet crew are extremely proud to have made it to number 19 on your list. It gives us a reason to continue to run Agile People conferences not just in Sweden, but also in the rest of the world. Agile values are too perfect to just be used by software development teams and as we are focusing on a broader audience, targeting HR and IT as well as management, marketing AND finance. We have very interesting discussions among the blended audience in our world cafe workshops and the participants bring their peers from other parts of the organization, since it’s just together that we can create better organizations.

    Next Agile People conference will be in Norway, on Feb 25 and then we run Agile People Sweden in Stockholm on Oct 20, this time a 2 day event (to score even higher 🙂

    All the best / Pia-Maria, conference organizer Agile People

  10. Thanks for this impressive project, Vasco. I am especially pleased to see several Lean Kanban conferences on the list. The complete list of Lean Kanban conferences is at http://conf.leankanban.com/calendar.

    I will pass on the advice about unique Twitter accounts, etc to all the Lean Kanban conference organizers. Typically I think they do follow those guidelines already. The only one I question is the preference for 2+ days. In some markets and for some types of events, a single day is just right. Often they have a social event too and I think they have adequate networking. London Lean Kanban Day is a good example.

    -Janice Linden-Reed
    CEO, Lean Kanban, Inc.

  11. Great list and useful recommendations Duarte!

    Was proud to see 2 Israeli conferences on the list (I would guess per capita this is even more of an achievement). I’m hoping this year’s conferences will have even better visibility using your criteria (as one of the organizers for the AgileIsrael2015 conference I can tell you we are definitely doing some new things along that path – eg @AgileIsrael and a solid lanyrd presence)

    Cheers
    yuval
    https://events.bizzabo.com/AgileIsrael2015

  12. I would find it fair to publish the full list of 100 conferences and their scores, as raw data for the Top 100. Which could help us to better understand how far we are from Top 50 (Lean Kanban France in our case).

    In the criteria I would definitively put a weight on speakers (number ?), attendees (number ?, special prices ?), and the venue (hard to score).

    Great work anyway, with good findings of conferences we didn’t know.

    Thank you.

  13. Hi Vasco,

    thanks for setting up this list and having Agile Brazil included in your listing!

    I like the current criteria, and I would add two items:

    1. a volunteer program: I find that volunteering is a great way to encourage people to get involved in the broader community, and even foster new communities in their home towns. Also, of course, it allows people who can’t pay for the conference to attend.

    2. open submissions although inviting speakers is a good idea, having space for new people to start sharing their stories is also very important to keep the community going, rather than creating heroes. We believe in that so much we have 40 reviewers from the community, all unpaid, working on evaluating and giving 3 feedbacks to all authors that submit to Agile Brazil. Giving opportunity to new faces to appear, in our opinion, is very important.

    That’s all (assessable) criteria I have, for now. Anyway, great work with the list!

  14. I don’t quite get your reasoning for giving -1 for pure Open Space. Where else do I have the power to *ensure* that my most important topic is covered, simply by proposing the session myself?

  15. Thank you for the post! and it is great to see Lean India Summit featuring in your list of Top 50. I was in the organizing team there.
    However, the link you provided seems broken…can that be fixed?

    Thank you!

  16. Is there anyway that The Big Do could be a potential candidate next year. We feel it is only our name that excludes us…what’s in a name? 🙂

  17. Thanks for the excellent work! This was hugely helpful in identifying conferences I might be able to attend under my company’s sponsorship next year.

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