(Very Positive) Impressions of RallyON11

I had a great time at RallyON. My partner-in-crime Mark Phillips (@mpmobile) from Project Management Stack Exchange and I did a couple talks about Stack Exchange during the open space part of the conference on day 2. All time outside of that was spent talking to people coming from an incredible range of domains and experiences.

Here are my highlights from the whole affair, in no particular order:

  • Boulder, CO. Gorgeous to the point of making up for the crazy weather where one can get a sunburn one day and regret not packing a warm sweater the next.
  • Bringing StackExchange really worked. I wasn’t sure how it all was going to pan out, but we were able to take questions from the conference and put some of them up on SE (mostly on Project Management, though). I think we got more than a few folks interested in joining the fun.
  • Playing flow games early morning on Day 1. This is the kind of thing that always seems hokey, but turns out pretty fun when done with people who actually want to be there. My favourite was the “Pass the Penny” game and the somewhat unexpected conclusion that while individual efficiency may go down, overall system efficiency may go up for a given workflow.
  • Speaking of people, so many passionate and talented individuals, both from Rally and elsewhere.
  • Use of open space on Day 2. Proposing a topic is easy, watching to see if there’s community interest in it is nerve-wracking, and leading/participating in discussions is awesome.
  • Designated note-takers in each session — great idea, especially coupled with a designated site for posting said notes! Check them out here at the RallyON portal.

All in all, the whole thing was a lot of fun. Many thanks to Ryan Martens (@rallyon), Eric Willeke (@erwilleke), Mark Gammon (@markgammon) and many others from Rally for bringing together the vision, the passion, the knowledge, and the technology needed to make it all happen.

High signal, low noise, A+++, would go again.


On to RallyON!

I’ll be heading down to Boulder, CO next week to represent Programmers – Stack Exchange at RallyON 2011.

I’m very excited to be able to do this (and meet a few friends face to face for the first time while I’m down there!). Check out this post at Rally’s Coaching Blog that explains how we’re hoping to bridge the gap between a user conference and the virtual communities of programmers and project managers established on Stack Exchange.

We have created a special tag (RallyON11) on Programmers for the duration of the conference, so you can follow along and see how this experiment turns out. On Twitter, follow #rallyon11 for the latest and greatest micro-updates. And of course, if you’re attending, be sure to look me up and say hi. It’s gonna be a blast!