Balanced Team 2015 Fun Facts & Feedback


On June 13-14, 2015, people from across the globe came together for the Balanced Team 2015 Summit in Grand Rapids. It was a weekend of conversation around multi-disciplinary collaboration in the software industry and beyond. Some themes that emerged from the presentations and surrounding conversations include:

  • Collaboration across distances
  • Collaboration across disciplines
  • Collaboration across teams
  • Space planning for balanced teams
  • Balanced leadership teams
  • Creativity in Balanced Teams
  • Balanced (multi-skilled) people

As one of the conference organizers, I had an inside look into what it takes to hold an event like this, and I wanted to share some of the facts and figures surrounding this year’s conference.



The number of registered attendees. This year’s summit attracted an international cast of speakers and attendees. Here’s a breakdown of where they were from:

  • 30 from the local Grand Rapids area
  • 74 from across the US, including several major regions: 16 from the SF Bay Area, 8 from Ann Arbor, MI, 7 from New York City, 14 from Los Angeles, 5 from Chicago
  • 3 came to us from outside the US: London, Toronto, and Budapest



The number of speakers who donated their time and shared their stories.


The total cost to put on the event.



The money donated by our generous event sponsors to make this event possible and keep ticket prices low. This year’s sponsors included Visualhero, Atomic Object, Carbon Five, Pivotal Labs, Philosophie, and Agathon Group as gold sponsors and Software GR, Cooper, Leandog, and Absopure as silver sponsors.



The number of people on the planning committee. This year’s committee was Brittany Hunter and Matt Fletcher of Atomic Object, Rick Harlow of Visualhero, Lane Halley of Brooklyn Copper Cookware, and Gail Swanson of 18F.



The number of months from the first planning conversation to the event.



The number of hours put into event planning and logistics prior to the event. Each committee member who tracked their time averaged 121 hours total, for an average of 2.34 hours/week.


Roughly 1,350

The number of Post-It Notes used in 2 days.



As an event organizer, it was rewarding to read the attendee feedback from our post-event survey. Here are some of the comments that were shared.

“Please keep engaging and encouraging multidisciplinary teams! I left the event with so much motivation that I started experimenting the next Monday to improve collaboration and process at work.”


“Venues for conference and parties were great. I really liked the first fishbowl and the open spaces. Neighborhood around the conference was very walkable/enjoyable.”


“Very good speakers.
Short and Interesting talks.
Fish bowl sessions were really helpful
Long coffee breaks gave another chance at asking questions to the speakers and getting to know each other’s work culture to know what we all can learn from each other.
Dinner was really good too.
I loved how interactive the entire conference was. The ones I have been to were only one sided when you go and listen to a speaker.
Open sessions and workshop sessions were very good. Especially to have them towards the end of the day was a very good strategy.”


“Great gender diversity of audience & speakers.
I felt very welcomed immediately.
Wonderful group of people.
Really well organized.
Great programming, glad to hear from some folks from outside of pure Tech.
Lots of healthy snacks, and plenty of breaks.”


The Conversation Continues

Videos of all of the talks will be posted to the Balanced Team Vimeo page starting in August. Smaller salon-style events are hosted around the country; check the Balanced Team website to find one in your city.

All photos courtesy Chris Nodder via the Balanced Team Flickr.