What are Lightning Talks

Having a Meetup is about getting people together to learn from each other and network. So why have talks at a Meetup? Of course they will disseminate some information, and, hopefully useful information. More than that a lightning talk helps to break the ice and give everyone some common ground to start a bit of a discussion. The risk is low. For the speaker who may be uncomfortable, a short talk is easier to plan and deliver. For the audience they only have a short investment in time.

So what is a lightning talk. According to Wikipedia lightning talks originated at a Python conference in 1997. They are 5 minutes long, time-boxed (sound familiar!) talks. Slides are optional and if there are slides there are 3 slides at most.

Some guidelines for lightning talks:

  • Order the set of talks according to audience priority (hmmm, remind anyone of work queues?);
  • Have a timekeeper ensure that the talk keeps to 5 minutes;
  • Make your point in the first minute and use the remaining time to support your point;
  • Details don’t matter (much);
  • As I tell my son the piano student: practice, practice, practice;
  • Conclude by reafirming your point.

So what are some topics for an Agile meetup? Here are a couple, put your ideas into the comments.

  • Your favorite tools or your least favortie tools;
  • Success points on your current project or failure points on your current project;
  • How to apply Agile to a particular situation (everyone thinks THEIR project is unique);
  • How to introduce Agile… to team members… to executives.

So with this bit of knowledge in hand, what do you think? Can we gather enough people with an interest in Agile from the Ottawa community to make a successful meetup.

Thanks to Catherine Louis for the idea for this entry and also for sharing some of her knowledge about lightning talks.

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