Feedback on PIPELINE 2014 and announcing PIPELINE 2015

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Summary: PIPELINE Conference 2014 was a great event (thanks to the participants), and we expect that PIPELINE 2015 will be even better!

PIPELINE Conference was held on Tuesday 8th April 2014 at Mary Ward House in London, and brought together over 150 people to listen, talk, and discuss ideas and experience of Continuous Delivery. PIPELINE 2014 was the first conference in Europe dedicated to Continuous Delivery, and we are grateful to everyone who helped to make the event a success: attendees, speakers, staff, and sponsors.

Slides from our speakers are online, along with photos and videos, and the Twitter action is at #pipelineconf. This showreel video gives a flavour of the day:

More detailed feedback on the PIPELINE 2014 event is below, but first…

PIPELINE Conference 2015

We have been persuaded by many different people that we should run another PIPELINE Conference next year. So here is an early notice that PIPELINE 2015 will happen in early 2015 (probably late March), in London. Look out for further details in September/October 2014 on the website (http://pipelineconf.info/) and on Twitter (@PipelineConf). We will be looking for speakers, sponsors, and enthusiastic attendees, and the event will likely be slightly larger, with around 160 tickets instead of the 110 we had for 2014.

PIPELINE 2014 – feedback

We have had some useful feedback from people who attended PIPELINE 2014. Here are the salient points, along with what we plan to change for PIPELINE 2015.

Technical and operational

From the outset we wanted to keep the ticket price accessible to Continuous Delivery ‘enthusiasts’, especially those who would lose a day’s pay by attending. This is why we had a split ‘Individual’/’Corporate’ ticket price, and this split seemed to work well. There may be a modest increase in ticket price for 2015, but the principle of keeping the event accessible to enthusiasts will remain. We are not out to make money from PIPELINE Conference.

The talk + Open Space format was generally well-received, although we are considering dedicated ‘tracks’ with different themes for 2015, and perhaps having all Open Space sessions in the afternoon. The talks were perhaps a bit long, so we might reduce the talk length to 45 minutes for 2015.

We had a few problems with audio and projectors (we did not test in Pre-Production!) but we know for 2015 what to change. Some of the slide decks were difficult to see in sunlight, so we’ll advise speakers about colour & contrast for slides in 2015.

Diversity

When I first decided (back in 2013) to hold a dedicated Continuous Delivery conference in London, I was determined to both avoid the unpleasant harassment seen at some recent tech conferences, and also to take a positive step towards greater diversity of speakers and attendees. Why? I believe that the lack of diversity in IT in the UK is holding back the profession, not only from gaining more serious acceptance & respect from the public in general, but also from progress towards more inventive and resilient engineering solutions (mono-culture leads to mono-thinking, whereas for complex, distributed human-silicon systems we need a diversity of ideas).

Having read Jez Humble’s post about increasing diversity at FlowCon, I approached various people in the London Continuous Delivery meetup group, with the intent of having a 50:50 female:male PIPELINE organising team. This was one of the best decisions I made in relation to PIPELINE, because the team has been truly excellent. Others seemed to agree:

PIPELINE registration optionsWe published an anti-harassment policy early on in order to make clear that we wanted the conference to be welcoming and friendly. We also avoided sponsorship of alcoholic drinks for a similar reason.

In the end we had no female speakers in 2014, but not through lack of trying. Chris O’Dell has written Where are the female speakers? Here’s what we tried to explain how we went about selecting speakers (anonymous review,  etc.). As Chris points out in that post, although the speakers were all male, we actually had speakers from many different countries and a variety of industries, so that aspect of the speaker selection process worked well.

We designed the registration process to meet different needs: we had women’s and men’s fit t-shirt options, vegetarian and non-vegetarian food options, plus questions about accessibility:

Overall, we think we did fairly well at diversity and safety, at least for a first conference. We clearly need to improve on the female:male speaker ratio (and attendee ratio) for 2015, and we’re actively looking at ways to achieve these goals. Any suggestions very welcome – please email checkin @ pipelineconf . info.

Videos and Photos

We videoed some of the talks, and the videos are on our dedicated ad-free ‘PipelineConf’ Vimeo channel for everyone to watch. We had decided that for our first ‘minimum viable conference’ we would record videos only in one room (to keep costs and complexity down), but for PIPELINE 2015 we plan to video all talks. We also had a professional photographer throughout the day, who took some excellent photos. See more about videos and photographs (including galleries).

Donation to Code Club

Code Club logoPIPELINE Conference is a not-for-profit event, and we took care to find only as much sponsorship as was needed to fund the conference plus pay for the early ‘bootstrap’ costs of the next conference. From the beginning, we promised to donate any surplus to a worthy cause.

We are therefore pleased to be able to donate £390 to Code Club, a nationwide network of free volunteer-led after-school coding clubs for children aged 9-11 in the UK. This will provide materials for three new Code Clubs – that’s over 45 kids learning to code! Code Club is doing vital work in helping the next generation not only use but also understand and create the technology of the future.

Independence of thought for kids increasingly presented with ‘packaged’ solutions will be a major help for them in later life. Furthermore, the commitment of Code Club to reach out to kids of all backgrounds promises to help make the IT industry more diverse in the future. We are therefore proud to be able to support the folks at Code Club in the work they do.

New book – ‘Build Quality In’

One of the exciting things to emerge from PIPELINE Conference 2014 is a new book of Continuous Delivery and DevOps experience reports called Build Quality In, edited/curated/collated by Steve Smith and me (Matthew Skelton). Many of the book’s contributors participated in PIPELINE 2014, and we have invited a few other people to contribute too, so the book promises to be fun, engaging, and useful; we’re publishing the book via LeanPub.

We shall donate 70% of royalties from the book to Code Club (see above). As with PIPELINE Conference, the book is not a money-making exercise, but an effort to highlight the great work being done by talented people and teams around the world in the fields of Continuous Delivery and DevOps.

Register to receive news about Build Quality In via the LeanPub page.

Thanks

The attendees, speakers, and sponsors all helped to make the event enjoyable and useful, so thanks to everyone who attended PIPELINE 2014. The enthusiasm and support of the folks in the London Continuous Delivery meetup group – particularly the ‘stalwarts’ (you know who you are!) – has been a major inspiration from the start, so I’d like to thank everyone in the meetup group for their contribution. I’d also especially like to thank the other members of the organising team for their stellar contributions: Amy, Anthony, Chris, and Steve.

See you at PIPELINE Conference 2015!

Matthew Skelton (@matthewpskelton)
PIPELINE Conference
http://pipelineconf.info/, @PipelineConf#pipelineconf

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