I've just spent two days attending the itSMF Canada annual conference in Toronto. I enjoyed visiting Toronto, and Canada, for the first time, and the weather has been excellent.
The Conference has also been excellent. The organisation started many months ago and it certainly has paid off. There have been about 200 people attending the conference - interestingly, a fairly large majority from other countries - a delegation from the Netherlands, people from chapters in Ireland, the UK, the USA, Turkey, and, of course, me, from South Africa. The discussion between sessions have, as usual, been extremely useful.
Some excellent speakers have been engaged, I've tweeted during the sessions, so details can be found of specific presentations on twitter under #itsmf2013 or my account @fustbariclation.
Actually the twitter hashtag is an interesting question. There wasn't one in the conference documentation and we only got one on the first day, mid-morning, when somebody on twitter asked the itSMF Canada tweeter for one - I think that conferences, in future, would be wise to advertise their twitter hashtag a few weeks before the conference - it's a really good way to get to know who is going and to pick up last minute recommendations or issues.
The streams were extremely well organised - not just the topics, BYOD, Cloud and Social Media were the three streams and they are hot topics that generated very interesting presentations and discussions. The order of speakers within the streams was also very cleverly arranged, so that each speaker followed the previous one logically, often following on the ideas that the previous speaker had highlighted as important. This gave an impressive continuity to the day.
It was good to have many influential members of the itSMF community there. Sharon Taylor gave an interesting talk on how to influence your customers - helping them to 'become the customers you want them to be'. There was a very entertaining session on the experience of developing and marketing a game called 'Things' - I was lucky enough to get a free copy of the game and I'll look forward to playing it with friends at home.
One of the later talks was by John Deland, a director of itSMF International on the future of priSM. It's clear that he's engaged very effectively with the team, reorganising it and making it more efficient and effective. There are good plans to make the programme more coslty effective, both by modifying the cost model and by improving the value delivered. I've got great hopes that this will resurrect priSM.
It was good to meet up with the team from the Netherlands and see how far their social media solution 'Coconut' has developed over the past few years. I'm going to be putting together a video with Jose Stijntjes in Amsterdam to make the power of the solution visible to non-Dutch speakers. I think it might be a good solution to priSM reducing its administrative costs - John Deland is interested in the idea. It may also be a valuable hub for other chapters.
It was good to chat to so many people, some, like Lindsay Parker, director of itSMF Canada, who was involved in so much of the preparation behind the successful conference - a great team altogether. I had tremendous help from Maureen Llewellyn, and Tina Hutchinson in particular.
It was very satisfying to see the huge enthusiasm and interest for the Integrated Requirements Process. I'm hoping that there will be some follow-up - we're meaning to have a google+ hangout to discuss the book in a couple of weeks. Anybody interested in joining the discussion can connect with the google+ circle here:
The conference is just wrapping up now, and I'll be on my way to Amsterdam.