Friday, February 22, 2008

Spoke at ACCU London last night


I spoke at ACCU London last night. I little unusual because I’m usually the one organising the talks not giving them. But I’m not just a talk organiser, I have things to say myself - as anyone who reads this blog knows well! And, in case I didn’t mention it, I have a book to plug! :)

The subject of my talk was ‘Agile development - where to begin’. Essentially it was intended to be the same talk I gave to ACCU South Coast and ACCU Cambridge before Christmas. I’ve now uploaded the 2007 version of this presentation (the previous link) but, and this is a big but, the presentation I gave last night was very different... let me explain. (Stick with me, this finished with me learning something and being grateful to the CEO of an investment bank.)

Normally ACCU London meet at the offices of 7 City, a training company which specialises in financial training. We are really grateful to 7 City and we are gradually finding ways in which the ACCU can repay their hospitality.

As it happened 7 City were fully booked last night so couldn’t find a room for us. So we looked around for an alternative venue. Giovanni Asproni arranged for us to have a room at Barclays Capital, in Docklands. This was a good venue and reminds me that ACCU London should visit Docklands more often. Anyway...

Then Giovanni e-mailed to say ‘By the way, you won’t have a projector’ because Bob Diamond (CEO of Barclays Capital) was using all the projectors the company had. Don’t ask me how he was using them but he was. So, I would have to do the presentation without a projector.

Now I’ve given presentations before without a projector or PowerPoint, and in truth I don’t particularly like PowerPoint. But it is a crutch I lean on. And I think people expect it to be there. And it gives me something to post on the web afterwards.

I gave a talk at the BBC before Christmas without PowerPoint and projector but that was different. I deliberately aimed for a more conversational style. But to do a straight through presentation? 90 minutes?

Well I revisited my presentation and drew some mind maps to remind myself of the key points and to ensure I kept a consistent argument and went for it. And, I think, I am told, I pulled it off!

In the end I was more relaxed doing the presentation, I could take detours into stories, I wasn’t faffing around with a keyboard and remembering what the slides said. And in the pub afterwards several people told me they not only liked it but preferred it that way. I am now resolved to do this more often - and you read it here first.

I’ll still use PowerPoint and projectors sometimes - I have already written my presentations for SPA and ACCU 2008 - but I’m going to stop using it. And for this I have to thank:
• BarCap for providing a room
• Bob Diamond for using all the projectors
• And probably the alignment of the planets

As I said, its not often I thank the CEO of an Investment Bank, indeed, this might be the first such time. Bob pushed me out of my comfort zone and I learned something.

Unfortunately for you dear reader, I have nothing for you to download. If you want to know what I said you have two options: buy the book, or invite me to give a talk to your organization/company/family.