Call for Submissions: Agile on the Beach 2019

Conference: 11 & 12 July 2019

Submission deadline: 21 December 2018

Where: Falmouth University, Penryn Campus, Falmouth, UK


About Agile on the Beach 2019

The ninth Agile on the Beach conference will be held at Falmouth University on 11th and 12th July 2019.  The organizers would like to invite proposals for sessions.

Since 2011 Agile on the Beach has established itself as a world class conference for Agile and software development. The conference has sold out in the last four years despite increasing capacity. We expect the 2019 conference to again sell over 300 tickets.

Keynotes have yet to be confirmed for 2019 – please watch the website and Twitter feed for the latest announcement.  Past keynote speakers have included: Diana Larsen, Dan North, Michael Feathers, Kevlin Henney, Mary Poppendieck, Linda Rising, Eben Upton, James Grenning, JB Rainsburger, Bjarte Bogsnes, Woody Zuill, Gerd Gigerenzer and Gwen Diagram.

Details about the conference, themes and full schedule are given below. Submissions should be made by 21 December 2018 and speakers will be notified by 1 March 2019.

Please send submissions using the online form 

Questions should be sent to Allan Kelly (committee member for speak liaison) at

Agile on the Beach Ltd. is a company limited by guarantee and is operated as a Not-for-Profit organisation. Operational surpluses are used to promote technology education in Cornwall and underwrite subsequent conferences.



  • 21 November: Submissions open
  • 21 December: Submissions close – we do not plan to extend this deadline
  • 13 January: Round 1 reviews end
  • 14-20 January: Shortlisting
  • 21 January – 3 February: Round 2 reviews
  • Final decisions and contact with speakers
  • 1 March: Announce speakers
  • 11 & 12 July: Conference


Conference Themes

Agile on the Beach 2019 will focus Agile working, software creation and delivery, teams, practice and new business thinking. These themes will be organised as several tracks. Most run on 1-day only:

  • Product Design: product look and feel etc., e.g. UXD, user experience, front end design.
  • Product Management, e.g. product discovery, business analysis, product ownership, the product manager role
  • Team working, e.g. culture, personnel management, self-organization, leadership.
  • Agile Practices, e.g. Agile basics, writing user stories, retrospectives.
  • Agility in business (technology) including public sector, e.g. Digital businesses, Agile delivery contracts, Involving business clients in technical discussions.
  • Agility in business (non-tech), e.g. using Scrum in healthcare, Agile strategy, Agile HR.
  • Software delivery (2 days): including engineering programing, testing and operations, e.g. TDD, BDD, continuous delivery, architecture, reliability

We encourage submissions in the non-tech business track especially to look outside and beyond software development. Subjects such as strategy, innovation and customer understanding are all of interest.  Where appropriate the organizers may move submissions to another track.

We like to add some variety to the programme and are also interested in hear about new technologies in general, approaches to innovation and learning.


Type of sessions

As with previous years the organizers would like to see a mix of sessions formats.  For example: presentation with slides, interactive workshops and hands-on-keyboard interactive workshop.

The majority of session will be 45 minutes in length.  Double sessions (90 or more minutes) are also available – primarily for hands-on and interactive workshops. The committee feel 90 minutes is a long time for audiences to only listen. We would like to include several double hands-on sessions in the delivery software track.



Last years’ was a sell out attended by over 400 people. This included a large number from the local area (Cornwall and Devon) although most attendees come from further afield.

Most attendees are in someway involved with the software industry either at a technical or business level.  Within the technical audience the technology base is wide. From web-developers using PHP on LAMP to embedded C developers programming on the metal. However a significant minority are managers or come from outside the software arena.  One of the aims of the conference is to showcase Agile outside of software.



All submissions should be made using the online form:

Submissions should clearly include the following elements:

  • Submission title plus short synopsis (for marketing) and long synopsis (for conference programme), duration (45 or 90 minutes), delivery (e.g. presentation, interactive workshop) and most appropriate track.
  • Speaker name(s) plus biography, headshot photo, contact details and experience.
  • Expense expectations – see below.

We aim to create a balanced programme with space for new speakers as well as those who regularly speak on the conference circuit while avoiding an unintentional bias in any direction. Therefore we are ask speakers to indicate whether they consider themselves an experienced conference speaker, regular speaker or a new speaker.


Submission review process

Following the close of submissions the review committee will individually review and vote on all proposals. The votes will then be combined and a shortlist created. The shortlisted submissions will be reviewed and ranked. Final selection will be made from the combined rankings.

The Agile on the Beach submission review and voting process are described in a blog entry by Allan Kelly,

Speaker biography may be considered as part of the review process as we believe the experience of the speaker to be relevant factor in making our decision.

In 2018 over 300 submissions were received for 40 speaking slots. We will endeavour to give feedback to unsuccessful submissions although because the voting process involves multiple reviewers it is sometimes difficult to give a single reason why a proposal was not accepted.


Speakers package

The organizers are pleased to offer speakers the following:

  • Free entry to both days of the conference.
  • Free entry to the pre-conference Pasty and Pint event with a guest.
  • Free entry to beach party for speaker plus one guest.
  • Free ticket for Friday night boat trip for the speaker.
  • Bed and breakfast in Falmouth University accommodation for up to 3 nights. Each speaker is guaranteed their own en suite room.
  • Lunch both days of the conference
  • Travel costs: a fixed travel allowance based on the speaker origin. Speakers are asked to self select the expenses they plan to claim:
    • Local: no travel expenses claimed
    • UK travel: £150 – for travel within the UK
    • Short-haul: £300 – for travel within Europe
    • Mid-haul: £500 – for travel slightly outside Europe, e.g. Western Russia and Israel
    • Long-haul: £900 – for speakers coming from further afield.

Speakers should note that final decisions on selection may include consideration of travel allowances, particularly where long-haul costs are incurred. Financial projections at the time of final speaker selection frequently constrain choices. In previous years the conference has limited the number of long-haul speakers because of costs.

Some speakers are free to choose their own expenses band. Speakers choose not to claim any expenses, often because their employer will reimburse them. Other speakers – typically long-haul – choose a lower band, e.g. UK travel, because they combine the conference with a vacation or other business.

Speakers who have attended the conference before should note the expenses policy has charged slightly for 2019. Agile on the Beach will no longer require an expense claim with receipts. Instead a fix allowance will be paid. Secondly, the handling of “beyond Europe” expenses policy has been clarified.


Multiple submissions

While speakers normally deliver one session during the conference up to three submissions, or joint submissions,  may be made per person. If more than one session is chosen the speakers package remains the same.


Multiple speakers and proxy submissions

If you are proposing to have a co-speaker please name both speakers in the submission, we will consider the first speaker to be the contact point. This speaker is responsible for passing on our communications to the second speaker.

Sessions with multiple speakers may be submitted. Both speakers will be entitled to free entry and accommodation although the committee will expect speakers to share the travel allowance.

If you are submitting on behalf of another person please enter yourself as a speaker and include the other person as a co-speaker. Not in your own biography that you are acting as a speaker proxy.

Speakers who have bought one of the early discounted tickets before the announcement of acceptances will be entitled to a ticket refund on their purchase if their submission is accepted. Alternatively they may transfer their ticket to a named colleague at no additional charge.


Conference preferences

The committee are fully aware that IT can be a male dominated industry and are keen to encourage diversity in speakers. While all submissions will be judged on their merits, we encourage all to submit in the hope the committee will be able to programme a diverse line-up of quality sessions and speakers.

Submissions which are specific to vendor tools (e.g. “Managing branches with Microsoft TFS” or “Stored Procedure Testing on Oracle”) are unlikely to be selected. Such sessions may be submitted and in some cases may be selected. However, historically reviewers prefer sessions which are more generic and not tool specific.

Speakers wishing to speak about a specific tool, especially one made by their employers, may wish to consider a conference sponsorship package. There are a limited number of sponsors speaking slots available.

The committee favour sessions about doing Agile rather than sessions about Agile, i.e. “How Agile transformed my business” over “How Agile can transform your business”


Video recording

Most presentations are video recorded and made available on the conference website after the conference. If you would prefer your session not to be recorded and shared please tell the organizers when you arrive at the conference.


Lightning talks

The conference schedule will include time for lightning talks.  Speakers are welcome to submit lightning talks in addition. Lightning talk submission and selection will occur at the conference itself on the day (usually the Thursday.)



Cornwall is a popular English holiday destination. Some speakers – and attendees – choose to combine their attendance at Agile on the Beach with a short holiday or long weekend in Cornwall.  The organizers are happy to provide advice and suggestions should you wish to do so.

Potential speakers who have not previously visited Falmouth are advised to consider their travel arrangements before submitting. (Allan Kelly discussed how to travel to Falmouth for Agile on the Beach in a blog entry ).


Code of Conduct

In 2014 Agile on the Beach introduced a conference code of conduct for speakers and attendees. For more details of this please see contact section for the upto date code of conduct.


November 21, 2018