Guest Blog From Our Competition Winner
Many thanks to Kane Woodking from Cardiff City Council our competition winner for the free ticket to the conference. As a supplier at events you get to very little of the sessions due to being busy on the stand. I am hugely grateful to Kane and Cardiff City Council for allowing him to take up the opportunity of attending the event. Thanks for the blog to share the learning.
IRM European BA Conference London – Sept 23rd & 24th – 2019
Back in early September I entered a contest hosted by We Are Lean and Agile via their LinkedIn to win a ticket to the IRM European BA Conference in London. I didn’t think I had a chance of winning but entered any way to try my luck (got to be in it to win it after all!) and to my surprise I was lucky enough to be picked as the winner.
I’ve put together a little blog all about my experience there and what the event was like.
There were 60 different talks / sessions / workshops split across 4 different tracks over the two days and I managed to make it to 17 of them!
The event ran from 09:00 – 17:00 each day and was literally packed from start to finish. During lunch there were even slightly shorter (about 25 mins each) “lunch and learn” sessions going on so for me it was definitely about getting as much out of the two days as you possibly could.
In between each session there was 5 – 10 minutes for you to grab refreshments, briefly network, check out one of the exhibit stands and move between conference rooms ready for the next session to begin.
Morning and afternoon breaks were structured to allow dedicated time to network with other attendees and visit / chat with the event sponsor exhibit stands that were there.
Trying to make the absolute most out of my time there I spoke to and networked with as many people as possible, in fact, I don’t think I spoke to anyone twice!
The passion for the BA profession from the delegates to the speakers and everyone involved with the event created such a positive atmosphere and infectious energy to the two days. For me it genuinely felt empowering and inspiring being within such a large collective of like-minded individuals.
Having this opportunity to represent Cardiff and the Team I’m from was honestly an extremely proud moment for me. It was something I hadn’t expected to get out of the experience but now I’m eager to take more chances to do similar things where I might be able to represent my team in the future, such is the boost to my confidence I’ve had.
Living up to its name of the European BA Conference, it was a truly international event there was a comment during one of the keynote speeches I believe that mentioned 30 different countries in attendance (I can’t verify this though!) with me personally meeting a few fellow delegates from Germany, Sweden, Canada and Russia.
One thing that was clear from speaking with so many other BAs from a range of different organisations (predominantly private sector but there were a few fellow public sector representatives there) is that no matter where the BA function sits within an organisation we share many of the same challenges.
Therefore the networking aspect of the event presented even more value as you were able to quickly trade tips or signpost towards resources that might help overcome a challenge you’re currently facing.
Networking did get quite tiring by the end of the second day but I’ve made some decent connections and it was well worth pushing through and keeping the energy and enthusiasm alive with every interaction – the train home was first proper chunk of quiet time I had to decompress!
A bit of advice I was given before I went was to try and attend speaker sessions that were based more around soft skills rather than technical ones because the technical side can be visited anytime but some of the more soft skills based sessions will likely be something more unique.
I followed this advice where I could and tailored my attendance to sessions to include as much of this type of content as possible.
Overall I had a really good variety of session types split between soft and technical skills. I’m pleased to report that even the sessions that delivered more technical focused content still injected plenty of uniqueness within that, whether in the form of the way it was presented by the speaker or structuring the technical content in a creative way, there was no session that felt dull or boring.
Everything I attended I managed to take something away from and I feel like I gained so much from the event in terms of my own development. Some of the most memorable ones I went to included a former police officer detailing how interview techniques used during his time in the Police force can be deployed within BA work and another re