The best agile development conferences of 2017
Agile sounds great in theory, with its promise to accelerate development, increase software quality, and foster collaboration among team members. But actually implementing and executing agile methodologies in your organization requires training and experience.
That's where the top agile conferences listed here come into play. Whether you're a software engineer, IT operations professional, architect, or business stakeholder, you'll find something in these conferences for you.
How we organized the list:
- Events we consider a must.
- Others that are worth attending.
- Events that, within their broader scope, have strong tracks and content related to agile.
- A final group of large, quasi-legendary conferences whose size and breadth make them interesting to agile practitioners.
As with DevOps, the agile devil is in the details
Agile development methods have risen in popularity over the past 15 years. And the related, and sometimes overlapping practices associated with DevOps, lean, continuous delivery, and other practices have put agile into a broader context.
Agile seeks "early and continuous delivery" of software, welcomes requests for changes, requires daily collaboration between business people and developers, promotes simplicity, values an iterative approach, and preaches constant communication among all involved in a project. Noble goals. But achieving them can be a challenge, especially for development teams that have been using the waterfall method for many years.
That's why it can be valuable to hear peers in other organizations describe how they approached the shift, what worked, what didn't, and what lessons and best practices they learned along the way.
This year's must-attend list of agile conferences is based on those events with highest growth in interest year-over-year.
Agile Alliance Agile2017
Twitter: @AgileAlliance / #Agile2017
Date: August 7-11
Location: Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, Florida.Cost: Agile Alliance members: $1,649-$1,999; non-members, $2,399; academic, $999.
Agile2017 will mark the 16th year that Agile Alliance has hosted this international conference. After last year's sell-out, registration is being capped this year at 2,500 attendees.
With attendees from 40 countries in 2016, organizers claim this is the world’s largest agile conference. There'll be more 250 agile sessions at this year's conference, as well as keynote speeches and a many social and networking events.
Who should attend: Software project managers, product owners, practitioners
Global Scrum Gathering San Diego 2017
Twitter: @ScrumAlliance / #SGCAL
Date: April 10-12
Location: Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, San Diego, California
Cost: Member, $1,350; non-member, $1,600; trainers, coaches and rep owners, $950; academic and group discounts, 10 percent
Each session at 2017 GSG will be unique, the conference organizers promise, but they all have one common element: an opportunity for discovery. This year's gathering looks back to the early days of scrum in the 1990s, explores the ways it is used now, and looks to the future as industries and individuals find creative ways to use it. A highlight of this year's gathering will be a keynote by one of scrum co-creator Jeff Sutherland. Newcomers to scrum will be able to get some extra hand-holding at the "Lifeguard Shack," where they can ask questions, share ideas, and learn about activities taking place before and after sessions.
Who should attend: Scrum and agile practitioners, agile enthusiasts, business leaders and managers
Agile and Beyond
Twitter: @AgileAndBeyond / #aab17
Date: May 4-5
Location: Eagle Crest Conference Center and Resort, Ypsilanti, Michigan
The all-volunteer AgileAndBeyond conference organizing committee says they're dedicated to bringing the best speakers and topics to the world of product development in the Midwest. The conference attracts around 700 agile enthusiasts, and sells out consistently. Headliners at this year's conference include Mike Cottmeyer, who will be talking about The Executive's Step-by-Step Guide to Leading a Large-Scale Agile Enterprise Transformation, and consultant Tom Churchwell.
Who should attend: Designers, developers, and executives interested in lean and agile
Agile Dev West and East
Twitter: @TechWell / #ADCEast / #ADCWest
Agile Dev West
Location: Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
Cost: Conference and training packages range from $3,495 tom $3,995; conference packages range from $595 to $3,295.
Agile Dev East
Date: Nov. 5-10
Location: Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, Florida
Cost: conference and training packages range from $3,495 to $3,995; conference packages range from $595 to $3,095.
First held in 2007, Agile Dev focuses on the latest agile methods, tools, and principles with keynotes, case study sessions, technical sessions, tutorials, networking events, and conference classes. It also has a veddor expo floor.
This conference is aimed at both new and experienced agile practitioners. As noted on the Agile Dev website, “Whether you’re new to the agile process and need to get up to speed quickly, or you’re experienced and ready to take your team or organization to the next level, our hands-on, in-depth workshops have you covered. Plus, all Agile Dev Conferences are held in conjunction with Better Software Conferences and DevOps Conferences, allowing you to choose from three distinct programs.”
In other words, a ticket for Agile Dev East or West gives the attendee access to two other TechWell conferences happening there at the same time.
Who should attend: Software developers, product owners, scrum masters, QA professionals, and others interested in agile development techniques.
Some of our readers might describe many of the conferences in our second category as “must attend,” especially those that appear to be growing in size each year. But generally, these are conferences that are smaller in attendance or targeted at specific industries.
Lean Kanban North America
Twitter: @leankanbanna / #LKNA17
Date: May 8-10
Location: Hyatt Regency, Tysons Corner, McLean, Virginia
Cost: Three-day all-access pass, $2,350 (through March 16) to $2,750; other options range from $2,195 to $4,090.
This is one of several conferences held around the world by Lean Kanban that aims to connect attendees with coaches and practitioners using the Kanban Method, giving them an opportunity to see how organizations are using Kanban for better results. You will learn how to achieve sustainable improvements in your organization. Interactive workshops answer questions and address challenges of conference goers, who have the opportunity to meet with Kanban product and service providers.
Among this year's keynote speakers are Lean Kanban Chairman David J. Anderson (The Alternative Path to Enterprise Agility), psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihaly (Achieving Business Flow), and CMMI Institute CEO Kirk Botula (Building Agile Capability).
Who should attend: Developers, software architects, CxOs, IT operations managers, and others interested in lean and Kanban
Twitter: @acconf / #agilecam
Date: Sept. 27-29
Location: Churchill College, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Cost: £475.00, plus £95 VAT (through February 23).
Now in its seventh year, Agile Cambridge is described by its organizers as "a practical agile development conference" with a goal to let participants interact with and learn from each other and from industry leaders.
Who should attend: Agile practitioners looking for a small conference focused on hands-on training and learning
Conferences in this category target specific industries or technologies—for example, DevOps, cloud computing, and open source. You won’t necessarily see “agile” in the conference titles here, but these gatherings should interest for many agile practitioners.
Twitter: @DockerCon / #dockercon
Date: April 17-20
Location: Austin Convention Center, Austin, Texas
Cost: Full conference pass, $1150
The interest in containers—and in Docker especially—has gone from 0 to 80 mph in less than two years—which might explain why this conference has become one of the hottest gatherings in the IT industry.
For 2017, the conference organizers promise a bigger, better program—one that reflects the diversity of the Docker ecosystem and community. This year's event, they say, will have sessions on use cases at large, innovative corporations, advanced technical talks, and hands-on lab tutorials. Each day starts with a general session, followed by breakout sessions. Among the speakers at this year's event will be Solomon Hykes, founder and CTO of Docker.
DockerCon has grown in popularity over the years. Last year, more than 4,000 people registered for the conference, with another 500 on the waiting list. The gathering also attracted about100 company sponsors, compared to 30 in 2014 when Docker debuted.
Who should attend: Developers, DevOps enthusiasts, IT executives
Twitter: @velocityconf / @OReillyMedia / #velocityconf
Date: Training, June 19-20; Tutorials and conference, June 20-22
Location: San Jose, California (Will also be held in New York, Amsterdam and Beijing.)
Cost: Not available.
O'Reilly says it's taking Velocity in a new direction in 2017. Originally focused on web performance and operations, the conference will now encompass a distributed systems stack spanning from the application layer all the way down to through compute, storage and networking to the data center—whether in the cloud or not.
Presentations at the 2017 conference will cover everything from automation, containerization, continuous delivery and DevOps to orchestration and scheduling, security, and serverless computing.
Expect to experience a technical, performance-minded, operations-centric conference on which developers, operations managers, and designers converge.
Who should attend: Developers, operations specialists, IT operations staff
DevOps Enterprise Summit
Twitter: @DOES_USA / #DOES17
Date: Nov. 13-15
Location: San Francisco, California. (Conference also held in London.)
Cost: $1,225 (blind bird), $1,450 (early bird), and $1,800.
DevOps Enterprise Summit is a conference for the leaders of large, complex organizations implementing DevOps principles and practices, according to the event's organizers (see previous coverage from the 2015 and 2016 DOES shows on TechBeacon). They say event programming emphasizes both evolving technical and architectural practices, and the methods needed to lead widespread change efforts in large organizations. The goal is to give leaders the tools and practices they need to develop and deploy software faster, and to win in the marketplace.
Attendees can expect to see speakers from many large companies—IT pros from Target, Bose, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, and Disney have spoken at DOES in the past—as well as engage in ad-hoc discussions and enjoy what some say is a great community and learning environment.
Who should attend: Developers, IT operations specialists, CxOs, software architects, systems and network admins
Twitter: @LISAConference / #LISA17
Date: October 29 to November 3, 2017
Location: Hyatt Regency, San Francisco, California
Cost: Not available.
The (Large Installation Systems Administration (LISA ) conference positions itself as a vendor-neutral meeting place for the systems administration community, with a heavy training focus. It's organized by Usenix, the Advanced Computing Systems Association, LISA is focused on the design, building, and maintenance of critical systems.
Who should attend: IT operations, systems admins, systems engineers, network engineers, software architects.
Videos from Lisa16 are available online.
Twitter: @devopsdays / #devopsdays
Date: Not yet available
Location: Held throughout the year in multiple cities, mostly in the United States and Europe, sometimes in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
This conference series is run by volunteers whose target audience is front-line engineers and managers. A global core team includes such DevOps luminaries as Patrick Debois and Damon Edwards, who assist local organizers with their events worldwide.
Who should attend: Developers, IT operations staff and managers.
DevOps Docker Camp
Twitter: @Docker_Camp / #DockerCamp
Date: June 19-21
Location: Munich, Germany
Cost: Prices for a three-day ticket range from €1,099 to €1,299; one- and two-day tickets range from €649 to €1,099.
This conference, held in Germany and designed for DevOps practitioners, systems administrators, and software and system architects, focuses on the basics of Docker, and touches on infrastructures for microservices, application development, container security, and best practices.
Who should attend: DevOps practitioners, systems administrators, and software and system architects.
Twitter: @devops_con / #DevOpsCon
Date: June 12-15
Location: Berlin, Germany
Cost: Prices ranges from €449 (through March 2) for a one-day pass to €1,949 for a four-day pass.
This conference, held in German and English, includes an expo floor, and addresses topics such as continuous delivery, microservices, Docker, cloud computing, container technology, lean business concepts, and shorter delivery cycles.
Workshops, keynotes and sessions posted online include Application Load Testing with Open Source and the Cloud, Applying Behavioral Science and Instruments in DevOps Transformations, Empowering the People driving DevOps, and Docker Opens the Doors for IoT.
Who should attend: Software developers, architects, IT Ops, CxOs
Twitter: @jaxdevops / #jaxdevops
Date: April 3-6
Location: Park Plaza Victoria, London, England
Cost: Prices range from €315 (through Feb. 23) for a one-day power workshop to €1,399 for four days of conferences and workshops
Described by organizers as a “conference for continuous delivery, microservices, Docker, and clouds,” Jax DevOps focuses on accelerated delivery cycles and increased delivery quality.
The conference program sessions this year include DevOps Kaizen: Empowering Teams to find and fix their own Problems; The Seven (More) Deadly Sins of Microservices; Security Professional’s Toolbox: Semi-automated Pentesting with Open-Source Tools; and Scaling Up DevOps in the Enterprise.
Who should attend: Developers involved with DevOps, continuous delivery, microservices, Docker, and cloud computing
DevOps & Microservices Summit
Twitter: @UNICOMSeminars / #unicomdevops
Date: April 27
Location: London, UK. Also offered in Brussels on May 10 and Dublin on May 24
Cost: Prices range from £750 plus VAT for vendors and consultants to £275 for users
Organized by UNICOM Seminars, these conferences focus on how microservices and containers can be used refresh DevOps architecture to deliver on its speed-of-delivery promises. Topics to be covered include Changing culture to continuously deliver; Agility and speed of automation; Change with containers / Docker; Cloud and DevOps; Hybrid clouds and culture clash; Test automation; ChatOps & DevSecOps; Microservices architecture – Core concepts; Primary benefits, and drawbacks of the microservices architecture style; and Techniques for transforming to a microservices architecture.
Who should attend: Anyone in IT or lead roles interested in the business value of DevOps
Config Management Camp
Twitter: @cfgmgmtcamp / #cfgmgmtcamp
Date: Feb. 6-7
Location: Gent, Belgium
Cost: Sold out.
Aimed at people interested in open-source configuration management, primarily open source developers, but also consultants, integrators, and industry analysts.
PowerShell and DevOps Global Summit
Twitter: @PSHSummit @PSHOrg
Date: April 9-12
Location: Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue, Washington
Cost: $1,200 for three days; $1,500 for four days
This conference is all about Microsoft’s PowerShell automation and configuration tool. It features PowerShell product team members, Microsoft MVPs, engineers, developers, system administrators, PowerShell community members, and other experts who offer a deep dive on this topic and on DevOps principles and practices. It’s organized by PowerShell.org, which is part of the DevOps Collective nonprofit corporation.
Who should attend: Microsoft developers, designers, engineers, system admins
Twitter: @itsmf_usa / @ThinkHDI / #SMFUSION
Date: October 31-November 3
Location: Orlando, Florida
Cost: Passes range from free for expo only to $2,295 for an executive package; pre-conference workshops range from $1,695 to $2,895. Discounts available for ITSMF/HDI members.
This event covers IT service management (ITSM) topics; specifically the benefits and challenges associated with using ITSM when implementing virtualization, cloud computing, mobility, security, SaaS, and other technologies in the enterprise. The agenda includes tracks devoted to DevOps and agile topics.
Who should attend: Service delivery managers, senior-level vice presidents and directors, CIOs and CTOs
Continuous Lifecycle London
Twitter: @ConLifecycleLon / #ConlifecycleLon
Date: May 17-19
Location: London, United Kingdom
Cost: Two-day conference pass, £664 plus £133 VAT; workshops on continuous delivery with Docker and theory, technology and practice of continuous delivery, £400 plus £80 VAT.
Conference organizers pledge a “holistic approach” to exploring continuous delivery and DevOps topics that addresses concepts, processes, and tools. It features “real-world experts” sharing practical experience. (This year's sessions lineup is available available online.)
Who should attend: Developers interested in continuous delivery techniques and tools
Twitter: @gluecon / @defrag / #gluecon
Date: May 21-26
Location: Omni Interlocken, Broomfield, Colorado
Cost: $795 for early-bird registration (end April 7).
GlueCon focuses on what the organizers considerto be the most important trends in technology, including cloud computing, DevOps, mobile, APIs, and big data, all from the perspective of developers, which organizers view as at the core of all these areas.
Who should attend: Developers
O'Reilly OSCON (Open Source Convention)
Twitter: @oscon / @OReillyMedia / #Oscon
Date: May 8-9, training and tutorials; May 10-11, conference
Location: Austin, Texas.Cost: From $1,545 to $2,695 (through March 16).
In its explainer about OSCON, O'Reilly notes that open source has moved from disruption to default. Its methods and culture commoditized the technologies that drove the Internet revolution, and transformed the practice of software development. Collaborative and transparent, open source has become modus operandi, powering the next wave of innovation in cloud, data, and mobile technologies.
It adds that in the early days, OSCON focused on changing mainstream business thinking and practices, while today the event is about real-world practices and how to successfully implement open source in your workflow or projects.
A schedule of conference tutorials, keynotes, sessions, and events is available available online.
Who should attend: Developers, programmers, software architects, designers, system administrators, entrepreneurs, CxOs
Twitter: @QCon / @qconlondon / #qconlondon
Date: conference, March 6-8; workshops, March 9-10
Location: Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
Cost: Prices range from £475 for a one-day workshop to £1,650 for three-day conference pass.
QCon New York
Twitter: @QCon / @QConNewYork / #qconnewyork
Date: conference, June 26-28; workshops, 29-30
Location: Marriott Marquis, New York City
Cost: Ranges from $795 for a one-day workshop to $2,650 fora three-day conference pass.
QCon San Francisco
Twitter: @QCon / @QConSF / #qconsf
Date: November 13-15; workshops, November 16-17
Location: Hyatt Regency, San Francisco
Cost: Not available.
The sponsors of QCon say what distinguishes these events from others is the marriage of innovation with practical advice. Its workshops and conference sessions are conducted by engineers, practitioners, and team leads, rather than evangelists, trainers/coaches and consultants. Topics focus on innovators and early adopters in software companies.
Who should attend: Technical team leads, architects, engineering directors, project managers
Twitter: @GOTOcon / @GOTOchgo / #GOTOChgo
Date: May 1-2; workshops, May 3-4
Location: Swissotel, Chicago, Illinois. (Also held in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Berlin.)
Cost: $750 for a one-day workshop; $1,195 for a two-day conference pass; $2,695 for all conference and workshop days.
This is the fifth year of Chicago's GoTo Conference, which organizers say has been “created by developers, for developers," with an emphasis on what has recently become relevant and interesting to the software development community. This highly technical conference offers informal, easy contact with experts in attendance, as well as with fellow software and technology professionals.
Several tracks will be offered at the event this year on topics such as microservices, security, deep learning analytics and DevOps. This year's lineup of speakers include Adrian Mouat, author of Using Docker; Brian Grant, technology lead at Morningstar; Brian Ray, cognitive computing team lead at Deloitte; Bridget Kromhout, co-host of the Arrested DevOps podcast; Chris Heilmann, senior program manager for developer experience and evangelism at Microsoft; and John Steven, CTO at Cigital.
Who should attend: Developers, team leads, architects, and project managers
Twitter: @fluentconf / @OReillyMedia / #FluentConf
Date: June 19-20, training; June 20-22, tutorials and conferences
Location: San Jose, California
Cost: Not yet available
Keynote speeches at the conference last year touched on subjects such as making mobile apps as powerful as desktop apps, an introduction to the Seif project to transition the Web into an application delivery system, the two most important principles to being a better designer, and using advanced browser features to build robust apps.
Video of keynotes from 2016 is available available online.
Twitter:@JavaOneConf / #JavaOne
Date: October 1-5
Location: San Francisco, California
Cost: Not available
First held in 1996 by Sun Microsystems, JavaOne, now organized by new Java owner Oracle, is billed as the largest conference for Java developers. Learning tracks include Java and security; Java, DevOps and the cloud, and Java and the IoT.
There was a lot of buzz during the 2016 event about microservices, used to break down large applications into reusable but separate scalable services that are interconnected through protocol but don’t share data. " If that sounds like magic, it kind of is," wrote Treehouse developer Craig Dennis.
Last year's conference was more subdued than those in past years, Cameron McKenzie wrote for TechTarget. " I hate to say it, but the opening ceremonies of this year's JavaOne conference fell a little flat," he said. "Not to take away from any of the people who presented, but there just didn't seem to be as much anticipation for what the overlords of the Java platform had in store for all the software developers in attendance."
JavaOne is held at the same time and place as Oracle’s big Open World conference, and attendees can get a pass for both conferences.
Who should attend: Java developers
Keynotes from the 2016 conference are available online.
Twitter: @DeveloperWeek / #DVWK17
Date: February 11 to 16 (Hackathon February 11 to 12; Workshop Day, February 13; Hiring Mixer, February 13; Conference, February 13 to 15; Expo February 14 to 15)
Location: San Francisco, California
Cost: Prices range from $35 for an Expo pass to $1299 for a DeveloperWeek Pro Pass.
According to the conference organizers, DeveloperWeek 2017 is the world’s largest developer expo and conference series. It hosts more than 50 week-long events, including the DeveloperWeek 2017 Conference & Expo (8,000 attendees), the DeveloperWeek Hackathon (more than 1,000 attendees), Official Hiring Mixer (more than 1,000 hirable developers and over 50 hiring companies), and dozens of city-wide partner events.
Past event hosts and supporters of the event include Google, Oracle, Facebook, Yelp, Rackspace, IBM, Cloudera, Red Hat, Optimizely, SendGrid, Blackberry, Microsoft, Neo Technology, Eventbrite, Klout, Built.io, Ripple, GNIP, Tagged, HackReactor, and dozens of others
Who should attend: Developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists
Other conferences you should consider
The final category includes conferences that are just too cool not to mention. If you’re planning your conference travel and budget around agile shows, you might want to save a little room on your plate for one or more of the following important events.
SXSW (South By Southwest)
Twitter: @sxsw / #SXSW2017
Date: March 10-19
Location: Austin, Texas
Cost: There are a variety of ticket prices, ranging from $495 to $1,550.
While music and film are key elements of SXSW, the event also has a strong technology component, with topics this year including startups, wearables, healthcare IT, virtual reality, IoT, smart cities, digital media, online marketing, software design and development, open source, mobile design, and user experience.
Twitter: @TechCrunch / #tcdisrupt
Date: May 15-17
Location: San Francisco
Cost: Extra early-bird ticket for full, three-day access is $1,995. Other packages for exhibitors and individuals available
Disrupt is the conference for anyone involved with or interested in startups, entrepreneurs, venture capital, and emerging technologies. It features hackathons, provocative panel discussions, and A-list speakers. Many leading high-tech companies have used Disrupt as a springboard.
Twitter: @Gartner_SYM / #ITxpo #GartnerSYM
Date: October 30 to November 2
Location: Gold Coast, Australia
Cost: Standard conference price is AU$4,350. Public-sector price is AU$3,575. Group discounts available
Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is mother of all Gartner conferences. It's aimed at CIOs and technology executives, and addresses from an enterprise IT perspective topics such as mobility, cybersecurity, cloud computing, application architecture, application development, IoT, and digital business.
Twitter: @E3 / #E32017
Date: June 13-15
Location: Los Angeles, California
Cost: Not yet available.
A massive gaming show that covers mobile, video and computer games, and related products, E3 Expo covers topics of interest to software developers, buyers and retailers, distributors, entertainment industry executives, venture capitalists, manufacturers, and resellers.
Highlights of the 2016 conference are available online.
Interop Las Vegas
Twitter: @interop #Interop
Date: May 15-19
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Cost: Ranges from $249 (before April 1) to $3,299.
A venerable tech conference, Interop delves into topics such as applications, cloud computing, collaboration, networking, IT leadership, security, software-defined networking, storage, virtualization, data center architecture, and mobility.
Did we miss any conferences or events? We've done our best to compile this comprehensive list of the top agile conferences to attend in 2016, but nobody's perfect. This is a "list in progress." Please let us know in the comments below if there are any other events or conferences you think we should add to our list.
Image credit: Flickr