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SEPG Europe 2009 - Initial Reflections

I spent last week in Prague, attending the 14th European SEPG Conference. These conferences are an excellent opportunity for IT process people at all levels of competancy to be able to share ideas and concepts, find out what's going on in the world of process improvement, and do all the other fun things that people do at conferences. My primary purpose for attending was as a speaker at the event, to look for consulting opportunities, and to raise the profile of both myself and my business. As a bonus, there were a number of exceptional speakers due to attend, and I was looking forward to a learning experience. I've been associated with the SEPG conferences in Europe for the past seven years as a reviewer for submitted abstracts and I attended the 2005 event in London so I had some notions of what to expect. However, as the start of the conference drew closer I was beginning to have some doubts about this year. The early bird registration was extended right up until the conference start, and various incentives were being offered, clearly in an attemp to try and boost numbers. Previously the conference has attracted 500 or more delegates. The financial crisis certainly seems to have had an impact on the SPI community. My guess is that this years' total attendence was around 200 over 4 days, but probably peaking much lower than that. Given the overall cost of attendence, I have to sadly reflect that this year's conference was not a good investment, at least for me, and I know this view is shared by some of my colleagues in similar positions. It's not helped by the fact the presenters have to pay (albeit at reduced rates) to attend the conference. To put the boot in further, the conference rate for the hotel was almost twice what I could have obtained if I'd booked on-line independently. More fool me for not checking this first, but I'll know better next time - if there is a next time! More to follow on conference specifics...
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