My Trip to The Building Business Capability 2013 (BBC 2013) Las Vegas
The building business capability conference was my first professional (or any really) conference and even better, it was in Las Vegas! I had fun, learned a lot, and managed to leave without gambling a single penny away on the slot machines. The conference was at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center which was just a massive facility, and just amazing to be in. I wanted to give a brief summary of my experience, because a lot a good stuff happned there, but not everything was perfect. Just some quick highlights for those might want to go in the future.
The first good thing that happened was the key note speaker Marty Clarke. He was hilarious, informative, and was just a great and energetic way to kick things off.
The conference itself was separated by tracks, which you can see on the BBC website. As a younger Business Analyst, I tended to focus on skills and techniques where I was weak over enterprise level and team managing skills. Gotta crawl before you walk, and the tracks made it easy to focus on areas you wanted to grow yourself. Each speaker was unique and I of course was only able to go to only 1/8 of the sessions (there was 8 sessions for every hour roughly), so I'm not speaking for the whole conference, but if I had to pick my favorite session speakers, I'd go with Gladys Lam and Sandeep Johal. They had the perfect balance of presentation skills, humor, and having concrete and immediate take-aways.
While all the topics in every session was valuable, not every speaker was up to par. My education, since middle school, put a lot of emphasis on public speaking. My major only took it further (Managment of Information Systems), as they anticipated having to give presentations in my professional career. As a certified business analyst, I was disappointed because I know that speaking skills are supposed to be a part of our competencies. I paid $1800+ for that conference, so I had an expectation of competency from my presenters.
However, what really bothered more was the level of rudeness from some of the audience members. Getting up and leaving in the middle of the presentation is disrepectful to the speaker, as well as disruptive to the audience. Worse, these were supposedly professional adults (and I was certainly one of the youngest people in attendance)
The most impressive thing to me was the lunch system. Day one, the food was good, but the lines were way too long (buffet style). So the facilitors, like the process analyst they are, decided to fix the process, and day two went siginificantly smoother. It's rare that analyst take a minute to look at themselve critically and make a change, and I was happy to see that happen.
Second was the evening networking events. Met a lot of nice people, who were encouraging, but most importantly, it was an open bar. It made for some interesting and very honest answers and I probably learned just as much mingling with folks as I did in the sessions. All-in-all, I had a good time and learned a lot and I would recommend it at all levels of experience.