Running your own public conference can be a great way to give back to your community, grow your team’s presentation skills and stand out in a busy market as a company for people to come and work for.
This is exactly why we ran Wroclaw Agile Days a few weeks back in Wroclaw, Poland.
(All photos included in this post were taken by Michal Stangret and re-used here with permission)
At NewVoiceMedia we’ve been growing a Dev team in Poland for the last three years with remarkable success. We’ve attracted some of the best candidates, scaled our agile culture and increased our ability to deliver our product. It’s been hard work, but a lot of fun.
Wroclaw Agile Days 2.0 was our third agile conference in Wroclaw – although only our second public conference.
The very first Wroclaw Agile Days was private to the business and just for the internal Dev team. The original conference was a great chance to ensure everyone in our newly formed teams understood the history of our agile growth, our future goals and plans, our current thinking around agility and what was expected of everyone who joined the team.
It was so successful we decided to run an external event for the agile community in Wroclaw. That too was a great event last year. This year we attempted to double the figures and give even more love back to the community. We didn’t quite achieve the numbers but we had a great day, added a lot of value to those that came along and we also learned a lot about how to make next year’s even better.
Here are 3 really good reasons to run your own conference:
Your team will learn and grow
One of the best ways to know a subject well is to learn it and then teach it. In teaching it or sharing your knowledge you soon realise what you don’t know and how well you truly understand the topic.
The risk of getting asked questions about your topic will also spur you on to look deep inside and work out whether you really know what you’re talking about.
This is by far and away the best way I have ever found to learn anything. By encouraging your team to stand up at a conference and teach others how to do something, or to share their experiences, you are giving them a really great opportunity to learn the subject, but then to also learn the art of presenting – which can be terrifying, fun and difficult to master.
Those who help to organise the event (in our case the unbelievable well organised and dedicate Anna Linke and Ewelina Wyspianska) will also learn how to bring a big project together, how to market an event, how to herd people together for the presentations and how to put on a public facing event with style and aplomb. This is such a great skill to learn that is applicable in many different contexts and industries.
The community you operate in grows and gains value
Our businesses are all located in some sort of community (city, neighbourhood, country) so it makes sense to give back to that community. My belief is that we should always contribute to the community we exist in – we should help make it better in any way that we can. Hence we were always keen that the company branding of the event played a low key part of our conference. This was always a community event for the community. It just so happened we were funding and organising it as a business.
By giving to the community we may help someone develop more skills, be inspired to make a change in their work or career and to gain a larger personal network in their very own community.
You build brand awareness
A positive side effect of running our own event is that our company gets more positive recognition in the industry – assuming the event goes as planned!
This helps us to stand out in a busy market – and Wroclaw is indeed a busy market for tech companies. By standing out (for the right reasons) we essentially draw attention to ourselves and hopefully inspire people to find out more about working for us.
This obviously helps with immediate recruitment needs – but it also helps to build long term interest for future hiring. Many people who attend the event may be perfectly happy where they are, but if anything should change we’re hoping our company will be at the top of the list as great companies to join.
We also benefit from the network effect as people go away from the event and tell their friends and colleagues about it. We hopefully then reach a wider audience than we could with traditional recruitment strategies and tactics.
So go forth and create an amazing event for your local community. Give me a shout if you need some inspiration, support, guidance 🙂