Top 10 Agile Lean conferences in 2018

It’s January so its time to start planning which events you are going to attend. I’ve been to numerous events over the past 10years, some have been great, some have just been sales pitches for the platinum sponsor. I don’t mind getting a few sponsored pens and some free beer in exchange for a listening to a short sales pitch – but when its 3 days of non-stop pushing it really annoy me.

For me, it is the speakers that make the conference. That’s a mix of established keynotes, but also, and more importantly allowing people to try speaking for the first time. Assuming they have had their material vetted properly – and that is the tricky balance that separates the great events from the poor ones. Casing point was Scrum Alliance San Diego in 2017 – some speakers I saw were awful, truly awful. Not so much their ability but the shit they were saying – in some cases, they were just blatant lies whilst begging for work or subscriptions to training courses.

There is a slight bias to the UK but that’s only because my home office is based there. If I’ve missed any good ones local to you just drop me a comment and I’ll get them added. Ordered by date:


Leeds Digital Festival
Leeds, England 16th – 26th April 2018
Cost: Free

A little different this as digital agencies and companies in the city open their doors for 2 weeks to run workshops, present case studies or showcase something cool. You have a huge choice of things to attend and just book onto as little or as much as you like. For 90% of the events, they are all free too which is a great bonus. Even better is that it normally coincides with a local music festival. If you haven’t been to Leeds I’d highly recommend visiting during the festival. It’s also my UK base and where I first started presenting so give me a shout for a guided tour.


Agile Munich
Munich, Germany 25-27 April 2018
Cost: 750-1100 Euro

Great European city with excellent travel links via Munich airport. Been here for a few conferences and impressed by the local knowledge …and the beer 🙂 BMW and Spotfiy doing talks so should be one to talk notes during.


Agile Manchester
Manchester, England 9-11 May 2018
Cost: £598

The second best city in northern England! A great 3-day event that isn’t too commercial and has a great range of speakers. I presented last year 🙂 Everyone is really friendly and loads of chance to chat in the numerous great bars surrounding the venue.

Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 12.27.16

Big Apple Scrum Day
New York, America 11th May 2018
Cost: $100

A day full of talks for $100 what is not to like. Organised by NYC Scrum User Group it should be a decent event. Talks, workshops and coaching clinics – with the added bonus of it being in the centre of Manhattan so the opportunity to catch up with other clients at the same time.


Agile Dev West
Las Vegas, America 3-8 June 2018
Cost: $2000-$3500

A bit of a wild card on my list this one. Not been before but looks decent enough with a mix of talks, masterclasses and workshops. Hosted at Caesars is great as means you get some time relaxing in the pool and gaming at the tables. Looking at the price you’ll have to win at the tables too as it is not cheap. Although I emailed them and got 25% off as a consultant. Next door at the Cosmopolitan would have been better but still worth a flight over from the UK.


Embracing Excellence
Winnipeg, Canada 4-7 June 2018
Cost: $1300 (Canadian)

More of a focus on Lean from a manufacturing viewpoint. One of the biggest Lean events in North America so has a price tag to reflect it. Some great keynotes lined up in the shape of Mike Rother (Toyota Kata) and Dave Williams (NASA astronaut). Be a nice reminder that agile and lean are not just for software teams. Hotel deals available.



Agile on the Beach
Falmouth, England 12th-13th July 2018
Cost: £400

Getting bigger and bigger each year but still small enough not to lose its charm. Nice mix of well-known keynotes, Woody Zuill this year, plus first-timers. Also get to have drinks on the beach so fingers crossed for some decent sunshine. A little bit out in the sticks so getting there isn’t that easy. Held on a university campus with the option of staying in the dorms.


Agile 2018
San Deigo, America 6-10 August 2018
Cost: $2500

Recently met a few Agile Alliance guys and they seemed a lot more grounded than some of the Scrum Alliance folks I’ve met at conferences and coaching retreats. So think this event could be a good one. San Diego is one of my favourite US cities too so this will be on my list in August.


Agile Lean Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland 3-5 October 2018
Cost: £TBC

Similar to Agile Manchester, a great conference with a mix of speakers from all levels and no commercial bias. If you have any interest in agile or lean working and want a proper back to basics event with like-minded people its worth a trip to Scotland. Price not yet confirmed but it is not expensive making it one of the best value events in the UK


Scrum Alliance London
London, England 8-10th October 2018
Cost: from £900

Normally a well put on event that always draws a big crowd. Speakers can be hit and miss and an awful lot of selling and SAFe bashing. However, I know a few of the people organising and helping out so think they will do London proud and put on a sterling conference. It’s quite expensive and you’ll be paying London prices for your hotel so best if your company is picking up the tab for this one.

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