2020 was a different year for all humanity. We believe our generation now have a story to tell their grandkids about how we lived indoors (and still living :/) during the whole year because of the Covid-19 outbreak. We witnessed many companies’ rapid way of working changes by pandemic.
As many companies, Agile Turkey had to transform during 2020. Although we have some experience in online events by our “Agile Leaders” youtube channel, we weren’t used to collaborate remotely all the time. As Agile Turkey team, we were frequently meeting face to face to work on our backlog items. However, the pandemic was a real trigger for our team as well. We had to cancel all our face to face meetings and replace them with many zoom meetings :). Of course this replacement didn’t work as smoothly as one can imagine. Since Agile Turkey Team is providing volunteer work, face to face collaboration meant more to us than just the work itself. It was an opportunity to get fully charged after the exhaustion caused by our professional lives because we are really having fun while working for Agile Turkey Team. Due to this transition, we had difficulty adapting at the beginning, since we lost some of our fun elements we benefitted while working face to face. Of course fun wasn’t the main problem. The main problem was that we weren’t as effective as before about doing the work on the backlog items in an online set up. After some stumbling, we learnt how to adapt but then summer came. After a long lock down period, everybody wanted to spend some time outdoors because everyone was sick of the time spent in front of digital devices during lock down. This led to concentration issues. It took a fairly long time for us to come to a point where we should decide whether we can succeed organizing an online summit this year or not. We had nearly 2 months to the summit day. After many debates, with encouragement of some of the team members we concluded that as Agile Turkey team, we should walk the talk, be a role model and push ourselves to adapt to the changing conditions. This meeting was a shake off for the team.
When we look back, we still can not believe how in such a short time we managed to pull it together and organize the Agile Turkey Summit 2020 with limited experience in online events, with a brand new platform and many other variables that we weren’t familiar with. I believe this is an answer to the question “Up to which point can a team consisting of volunteers achieve?” and there isn’t much to say since the image below is self explanatory.
What we have done better this year
One of the things that lockdowns brought is that you can reach people more easily. Going online helped us to reach out to some speakers that we have been trying to host in our summit for the past few years. We were able to form a strong line-up in a really short time.
Since it was our first large-scale online event, we had some technical issues as well. But the reaction of the team to this crisis is much more important than the problem itself. We have organized ourselves very quickly and responded directly to the people who face the login problem. Good teams act responsibly in critical situations as they say :)
What we have failed this year
Time to confess our failures. We planned to have a secure login for the platform but login failure was not what we were expecting from security. Luckily, we solved the problem before the sessions started.
Sponsor interaction is already a hard issue for online events. Unfortunately, the online tool that we have selected for the event, made it more difficult. Sponsor pages were located on another platform, the users had to re-login to interact with sponsors. Besides that, the link to the sponsor pages was not so visible on the live stream page. We should take a deep dive into the sponsor interaction for the next year.
Online summit constrained networking abilities of participants. We will be focusing on enabling a fruitful networking opportunity for Agile Turkey Summit 2021.
One last thing that we could have made better is the delay in some of the sessions. You can have timing problems even in regular conferences and this possibility increases in online events due to variables like internet connection speed, different browser or operating systems, camera and audio settings etc. We have faced all of these problems in Agile Turkey Summit 2020 :) Fortunately, we were able to handle the delays during the day and were on time on closing.
What we have had different from last year
Every Agile Turkey Summit day we have an emotional tradition. Early in the morning, in the moment we came to the hotel and saw the Agile Turkey Summit roll ups, we got very excited and had goose bumps. However, this year was different. This time we had our emotional burst in front of our computer screens with our eyes full of tears when our PO, Enis Özer, had the opening talk.
Another tradition was the Agile Turkey Summit celebration consisting of evening dinner, breakfast in a Bosphorus tour and a İstanbul tour with our team and speakers. Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend much time and deepen the conversation with our invaluable guests. In addition, we deeply wanted to hug each other after the summit as Agile Turkey team, the longed for hugging couldn’t also occur due to pandemic social distancing.
In the last couple of years, during the summit, valuable guests created drawings about the summit day. This year, the participants had the joy of drawing with Selçuk Erdem. Every participant discovered the hidden talent in themselves.
As mentioned above, although 2020 was a tough year, trying to realize the wind at our back helped us survive through this year. In 2021, we may be facing similar challenges of online environment and remote collaboration but with the learnings of 2020, we will be standing more strong and resilient. We would like to thank to all of the participants. We are excited for 2021. We have already started our Sprints at the beginning of this year for a better 2021. Looking forward to seeing you among us at Agile Turkey Summit 2021!