I’ve reorganized the board and, instead of a normal Kanban board, it shows when we started the tasks, with the months as the vertical lanes. The long tasks that covered several months are marked with a red label.
I hope you find it interesting and maybe new conference organizers can use it as a reference of the tasks they have to complete.
I’ve been part of the organizer’s team in several events and I, sorrowfully, think that the visible results, those an attendee notices belong to 10% (or less) of the tasks needed to launch a conference. I wish we could focus only on the tasks that bring value for the attendees (a lean conference!) but catering and the venue has to be paid (and even worse, found and booked!).
Stoppers and easy tasks
I think that the conversations and tasks in the trello are a good approximation of the difficulty and length of the task.
The stoppers (the more difficult or longer tasks) were:
- Selling tickets, a problem in all the conferences I organize (Am I the problem?)… I wish we were the tarugoconf, codemotion, pamplona or barcelona craftsmanship… conferences where the tickets are sold out in minutes. We have to fight for every ticket, always worried about the budget or arriving at an empty room :’(
- The website was a pain. We started with a template and implemented 3 different designs. I don’t know how many hours I spent there.
- Booking a catering with lechazo and a reasonable prize was a challenge. Maci and Raquel did the heavy lifting :)
- Finding the speakers, closing the 6th speaker was really difficult. We talked with several amazing speakers (Gema, Laura, Belen, and Vanesa) but there were scheduling, family problems… :’( please follow them all because they are great. I hope all of them can speak in the LechazoConf 2018.
- Communication with speakers, sponsors… was a bore. That was the main culprit for the 659 (!) emails received or sent.
There were some things that were really hard in other conferences and were really easy in the LechazoConf:
- Finding volunteers, we sent some emails and we had 6 volunteers 2 months before the event. We even had to turn down offers!
- The venue, we had several options but choosing the final venue was surprisingly easy and cheap :D
I’ve just sent the feedback form and we’ll have to wait a bit to receive more feedback. When you organize a conference there are some things that go awry and you don’t notice. There are others that you see right away.
These are the ones that were obvious:
T-shirt sizes. Awfully chosen and it was partly my fault. We ran out on smaller sizes :’(
I’m pretty sure this is an insurmountable problem (like P versus NP). If you ask first for the sizes the attendees find that the size they requested doesn’t fit and they change it and then you ran out of other sizes. If you estimate based on previous conferences (as this time) you fail. The expensive solution is to order way more t-shirts than you normally would do.
I had an idea: order way too many small woman t-shirts (child size). You would also run out on some sizes but at least, instead of a weird size you would have a gift for a niece/friend’s daughter/random and, at the same time, you would have a chance to explain and advocate for STEM :)
- Catering. Although the lechazo was great (I would have ordered more and fewer servings of the main menu), the coffee ran out in seconds (and we ordered for way more than they served). They served more coffee afterward but it was too late. The main food was Ok, probably too expensive for the quality.
- Other topics, in Valladolid there are more technical people than business (there are few startups or big companies). Some attendees missed at least a talk with technical content.
- Slide remote, worked awfully as all the attendees could see. There were 2 slide remotes and both worked badly at that distance.
- Attendee experience could be way better. 5 minutes of rest between talks, fewer stairs, more value for the buck…
So that’s all for the LechazoConf 2017… :’(