It occurred to me for the first time at XPDay London this year quite what a phenomenon we started when we organized that first XPDay in 2001. We (myself, Nat Pryce, Tim Mackinnon, Steve Freeman, Rachel Davies) talked about and hoped that groups in other countries would follow our lead, but I don’t think we seriously expected so many to follow. 6 years later it’s in Germany, France, the Benelux countries, Canada and the USA and that’s just the ones that kept the name. There is a host of other national and regional events under the “Agile Day” and “Agile Open” banners.
Universal accessibility was an important goal for us when we started XPDay. We wanted people to be able to pay their own attendence fees even if their employer would not. In the early days that was important because the people who were interested often worked for companies that were not. Now the situation is–if anything–reversed. At least in London we’re seeing cross-sections of entire companies registering at the companies’ expense.
It’s really heartening to see people organizing local events whose combined attendence must, I think, outstrip the major conferences (XP200x and Agile200x) and which are generally done on a shoestring budget. There’re not trying to be all things to all people, or pack every last person into the conference, but to provide an accessible and locally relevant experience.
Participating in XPDay as an organizer is a fantastic experience and a great way to raise your profile. We’re looking for “new blood” to join the organizers. Let me know if you’re interested in helping out, or better yet, come to XTC on Tuesday and meet the organizers (and plenty of others besides).