Speakers Talk Submission Guidelines

Call for Participation as a Speaker – AgileX 2021

AgileX invites you to join this virtual event that is focused on bringing various schools of thought together, amongst other the business agility community (business and technology stakeholders, developers, testers, managers and everyone interested in Agile), Lean software development, DevOps together. This event is a great opportunity to share and learn from industry experience, solutions to the most common issues and will aid in identifying new challenges in the field.

The theme for AgileX 2021 is “Stepping into the 4th Industrial Revolution –  Possibilities Reimagined”. 

AgileX draws inspiration from the TEDx model, particularly the following points:

  • Based on ideas that change the world
  • Inspire people to take action 
  • Uses storytelling techniques to convey powerful ideas
  • Is crisp, clear and focused
  • Delivered in 15 to 30 minutes

To view the theme and conference topics please view here

Overview of Talk Review Process

Interested speakers are requested to submit their proposals via the website here.  Please note that talks submitted will have their synopsis published on our site as supporting information to the conference schedule when your talk is approved. 

Your proposal stands the best chance for selection if it is unique, fully fleshed-out, and ready to present. Please ensure you have read:

  • Selection Criteria
  • Good Proposal Attributes
  • Best Selection Chance
  • Tips for Proposals

We encourage early submissions and iterative improvement of proposals, therefore we start accepting proposals as soon as we find them to be a good fit for our event. As competition gets more intense closer to the event date, we advise against procrastination prior to proposal submission.

We Value

In terms of the overarching themes or values in proposals, we look at the following criteria during selection:

  • Diversity – As a platform, our aim is to be inclusive (different approaches, frameworks, tools, and also gender, countries, background etc.)
  • Balance – We strive to strike a great balance between different types of presentations (Expert talks, experience reports, tutorials, workshops, etc.) and experiences that speakers bring to the conference.
  • Practicality – People come to a conference to learn, network, have an experience and leave the conference feeling motivated and energized. These kinds of proposals are definitely preferred. Though some theory is good, if the proposal lacks practical application, it does not really help participants.
  • Learning – People learn more by doing rather than listening. Therefore, the winning proposals are those that take people on a learning journey and incorporate an element of “learning by doing”, or at least inspiring action soon after the conference.
  • Opportunity – We strive to ensure that the conference has a minimum of 70% rock solid speakers. Nonetheless, we give equal opportunities to new and promising speakers having real potential.
  • Originality – It is true that people usually prefer hearing about an idea from its original creator rather than someone else. However, you may take an idea, tweak it in your context, and gain some insight(s) while doing so – People also like to hear first-hand experiences from those who are not creators of the original idea. Ultimately, we are looking for thought leadership.
  • Radical ideas – We have great respect for people who want to push boundaries and challenge the status quo. Given that we lean towards unconventional ideas, we try our best to support such people and bring greater awareness to their work.
  • Demand – Likes on a proposal and the buzz on social media give us an idea about how many people are really interested in a certain topic. Understanding that likes can be gamed, we have a system in place that can eliminate some bogus likes and use different types of patterns to give us a decent sense of the real demand.

We Expect

Here are some basic/obvious pointers we expect when we look at a proposal (that fits into our value system) in the submission system:

  • Is the Title matching the Abstract?
  • Under the Outline/Structure of the session, will the time break-up for each subtopic do full justice to the topic?
  • Is there a logical sequencing/progression of the topics?
  • Has the speaker selected the right session type and duration for the topic? For instance, an hour long talk may sometimes get very boring
  • Has the speaker managed to match the talk content to the conference theme?
  • Is the target audience specified?  
  • Are the learning outcomes clearly articulated? 3-5 points, one per line, is ideal
  • Based on the Outline/Structure, will the speaker be able to achieve the learning outcomes?
  • Based on the presentation link, does the speaker have good quality content and a great manner of presentation?
  • Based on the video link, does the speaker have good presentation (edutainment) skills? Will the speaker be able to hold the attention of a large audience?
  • Based on the additional links, does the speaker have excellent subject matter expertise and thought leadership on the proposed topic?
  • Are the Labels/Tags meaningful?

We Select

Your proposal stands the best chance for selection if it is unique, fully fleshed-out, and ready to present. 

If you are a speaker, please provide links to your:

  • Previous conferences or user group presentations
  • Open source project contributions
  • Slides and videos of (past and present) presentations; other conferences; local user group or internal office meetings
  • Blog posts/articles on relevant topics
  • Any other relevant material

Kindly refrain from sending these artifacts via email. 

During selection, we not only pay attention to the proposal’s quality, but also to the quality of the speaker. We assess if the speaker will be able to effectively present and share his/her knowledge with others. Therefore, past speaking experience (Shared via videos and slides) is crucial.

In case you do not have a video from any past conference presentation, try setting up Google Hangouts in one of the upcoming local user group/internal office meetings where you are presenting and share the link with us. This will give the committee a feel of your presentation skills and subject matter expertise.

Tips and Guidelines

Summary: The summary must exude excitement, be convincing, and sell. Since it is the only thing attendees see, it should be created in a way to draw them into your session instead of the numerous others that they can visit at the same time. Attendees should also be able to show the abstract to their manager/team and easily make them understand the value of the session.

Catchy title: A catchy title helps build a stronger mental model and focus the session’s abstract better. It is however important to recognize the thin line between cliche and corny.

Sell yourself: Reviewers should be confident that you are a good presenter and that you will successfully facilitate the session. It is best not to assume that you can cruise on your reputation, since all reviewers will not know you well enough to judge. Remember to include links to other material/websites that may be instrumental in validating yourself as a great presenter.

Prior experience with sessions: Share your prior experiences giving sessions – Include links to slides, videos or people’s blogs about those sessions. If you plan to do a test run at the local user group, mention the same – It makes a huge difference to the reviewers’ confidence about the quality of delivery.

Interactivity: We’re huge fans of interactivity where it makes sense and where your talk is live via webcast – an activity/ exercise, or discussion to help attendees integrate the acquired knowledge and make it their own. Spell out the names/short descriptions of the activities and discuss how the participation will pan out.

Have a plan: Having a minimal plan is necessary so that the reviewer gets an idea about how productively you will spend your limited time budget. The length of a desired session is directly proportional to the amount of details you need to provide.

Clarity: Create a clear statement of what the attendees will do or expect, and what will be done in the session. Proposers sometimes err by focusing so much on selling their ideas in a catchy way, that it remains unclear on what exactly will be done in the session.

Clear learning objective: Clearly state how the lives of attendees will become better, more effective, and more enjoyable as a result of attending the session.

Slides/videos: The presenter’s presentation style and past experience in presenting is as important as the topic itself. For the Program committee to correctly gauge the speaker’s presentation skills, providing slides and video links is extremely important. If you do not have slides/video of the topic you are proposing, try providing links to something you have presented in the past.

Enjoyment: Make the reviewer feel that the attendees will really enjoy themselves during the session. At best, they should learn specific concepts, skills, principles, approaches, and frameworks.

Also, the amount of material taken away should not be overwhelming. As one reviewer rightly said, “At the end of the day, what I’m looking for is something that gets my juices flowing and makes me want to fight for a place in the session.”

Questions: It would be appropriate to pose questions to reviewers and give us options for adjusting the proposal.

Language

Do

Don’t

Active language    

Passive language

“Learn/experience…”    

“This session allows you to learn…”

Words/phrases like “Master”, “Learn”, “Experience”, “Do”, “Participate” 

Words like “Might”, “Could”, “Intend”

“As you participate, you learn…”

“You can participate”

For experience reports and case studies: Background context is essential. Tell us the story of the experience, lessons learned, challenges, whether you have empirical evidence or anecdotal experience, etc.

Overview of Session Types

What is the right format for my session?

There are three types of proposals we are looking for: case studies, talks, and workshops (we have very limited space so we only accept very few workshops).

  • AgileX Keynote – 30 minutes – “TEDx-style” short talk on the selected topic – these talks plants seed of inspiration in minds. They are set to change the course of Agile as we know it.
  • AgileX Talk – 15-30 minute “TEDx-style” short talk on the selected topic – this is the core of the conference.
  • Case study – 30-minute case study session describing real experience and examples from companies around the world (focus, go right to the point, share what worked well, but also what did not work.)

What is the compensation for the speakers?

Speakers at AgileX will have a great opportunity to present their ideas and experiences in front of our international audience with a broad spectrum of people from different companies and positions. Please note that the event is not-for-profit and that some high profile speakers already indicated their willingness to participate for free. 

Speakers of an accepted talk, case study or workshop to the AgileX program receive a complimentary registration to attend the conference.  All our speakers will have the opportunity to advertise or write a small article for our AgileX Conference Digital Magazine that will be distributed to all conference delegates. 

Furthermore, your colleagues, clients, and network partners will be granted an additional 20% discount for the non-discounted conference “Regular” ticket only.

Next Steps

Are you interested? Great to hear! Please complete the website form here.

Contact the Organizers