From the archive. Why I started the LAST Mini-conference

last last club Jan 25, 2024

From 2012, this post was written by co-founder of LAST Conferences, Ed.

LAST Day Melbourne is a one day, low cost, grassroots mini-conference for Lean, Agile, and Systems Thinking practitioners. The day will be structured to allow participation and interaction via workshops and activities, rather than death by projector.

Regular readers will remember my writeup about Agile Tour Sydney. That article had a call to action, regarding doing something along the same lines, here in Melbourne.

When I got back, I was able to enthuse Craig Brown, a fellow co-organiser in the Melbourne Meetup scene and we’ve been working on the idea for the last couple of months.

Originally, we wanted to do something really rapidly, holding the event in March, or even February. The Agile Tour is held between October and December, and I just couldn’t wait that long for Melbourne to have its turn.

Reality stepped in though, as we realised that we probably needed a little time to clear the New Year season and get our ducks in a row. Plan B was some time about now, perhaps just before or after Easter. We needed to have some space between our day and Agile Australia, which is in Melbourne at the end of May.

Eventually, we’ve settled on 27th July. Swinburne University of Technology in Hawthorn are our hosts, and we had to work in with the availability of the venue. We’re also aligning ourselves with the Developer, Developer, Developer day, and also Barcamp Melbourne; both of which will be held directly after our event, and we believe have a similar philosophy.
Craig argued the case that we should be quite broad with our outlook. So after some old fashioned brainstorming,  Systems Thinking, as well as Lean and Agile, were included in the name of the day. I had originally earmarked or but the domain name registries had other ideas, so LAST Conference it is. I’m billing it as a “mini-conference” though, as I don’t want it to be a typical, big bang conference. We really want to borrow heavily from the “for practitioners, by practitioners” ethos of Agile Tour, and also the spirit of things such as Bar Camp, and Trampoline Day.

The emphasis on “Thinking” is no accident either. There is sometimes a tendency to have a focus on “best practice”, “techniques”, “tool kits”, and “cook books”; focusing on the How and less about Why we’re doing them.

I’m really excited about how this event can help the agile and lean community.

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