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
|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.
|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.
|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
- Position 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.
- Wrapping 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)
- In 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.
- Lean Kanban Central Europe 2014 takes position number 7 in 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.
- Spot 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.
- Number #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? 🙂
- Tied 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…
|Just out of the top 10 is ACE! Conf, Agile Central Europe was it’s original name back in 2010.
|Agile Portugal takes number 12.
|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.
|The Manage Agile Conference 2014 is a conference dedicated to the topics of Agile Management.
|Agile Prague Conference 2014
|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.
|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! 😉
|Agile France Conference 2014
|Agile People Sweden Conference 2014
|Lean Agile Systems Thinking Conference (LAST) 2014
|Agile Roots Conference 2014
|XP Days Ukraine Conference 2014
|Brewing Agile Conference 2014
|Lean India Summit Conference 2014
|Agile India Conference 2014
|Agile Games Conference 2014
|AgileCultureCon Boston Conference 2014
|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.
|Agile and Beyond 2014
|Lean Kanban London 2014
|Lean UX NYC 2014
|Conference Agile Spain 2014
|Agile Open Spain 2014
|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!
|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.
|Agile Tour Bordeaux Conference 2014
|Lean Kanban Southern Europe Conference 2014
|Scrum Day Europe Conference 2014
|Agile Indy Conference 2014
|Agile Practitioners Israel Conference 2014
|Scrum Day France Conference 2014
|Agile Day Riga Conference 2014
|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.
|XP Days Germany Conference 2014
|Agile Tour Brussels 2014
|Agile Pune 2014
|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.
|Agile Australia Conference 2014
|Agile Israel 2014
|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!
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:
- United States leads with 18 Agile Conferences in 2014.
- Germany is a close second with 13 events in 2014 (and that with nearly 1/4 of the US population).
- UK is the last in the top 3 of most events with 11 events in 2014.
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…
This 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!