We asked: Any other comments on the agenda? Again, we're especially interested in advice we can pass on to future conference organizers.
Seriously this was one of the better conference I have attended, on any topic. Future organzires would do well to take from its experience. That being said, here are my critiques. Critiques 1. When I registered for the conference I did not receive a confimation page or email. Something that could be printed out would be nice. 2. There was a three hour session one day. That is far to long to hear about any one topic
The agenda was pretty strong. The tracking of the sessions (beginner, integrator, developer) was a good start. If the goal is to bring developers and end-users (clients, and potential clients) together, more presentations on how Plone answers specific kinds of business cases would be a good focus
Perhaps a stronger kick off and/or wrap up by leaders in the Plone community -- Limi & Alan, Paul, Board members -- addressing the larger vision, future directions, issues w/in the community and in relation to the larger field.
As a first time attender I was happy to get anything. As a new Plone user I could have benefited more from a track for new users. The beginner classes were not basic enough for me. Perhaps a boot camp would have been better for me first.
After lunch was a tough time for the meaty 3 hour tutorials. Perhaps, those could be moved to the morning slot.
We were evaluating Plone in order to decide which CMS tools we will dedicate R&D resources to. I felt the conference was much more focused on developers. For example, I spent a day and a half until I saw what Plone could actually do. Looking at code samples didn't tell me much. As you know CMS is more about workflow and management and plocies than just a tool. I think it would be a huge benefit to have future conferences introduce new members to Plone. I'd like to start with a basic page or corporate template, mock up a project specification - go through the estimation process, then show us how to build out the tool to deliver on that spec. I think that would be a great intro to the tool. I attended with a web developer, a software developer, a technical analyst, and an executive. The software dev got a lot out of it, while the other three of us shrugged most of the time. Overall, I think the community did an OUTstanding job.
more tech advanced case studies, to highlight exceptional plone products or deployments.
There wasn't much time in between sessions to just hang out and get to know people. Perhaps longer breaks would facilitate this.
--it'd be nice to figure out ways that wouldn't limit what sessions you could attend by scheduling conflicts --not sure if this is something that ever can be resolved --not really time to have some people give their talks/workshops at two different timeslots --kind of like registering for classes :)
My answers to the last question look silly, but the mixture was just perfect ;-) There were a lot of (long) turorials, but that's great.
I only say there should be fewer 3 hour tutorials because they were not very hands on. I think if there were to be the same amount of tutorials then the audience should have to participate/follow along with the talk. Lightning talks rule! more of those!
As Plone attracts an ever widening audience, you might want to consider sessions on moving *to* Plone from other CMS or from ancient static HTML. I had more than one conversation with several other attendees regarding the mysticism of getting existing content *into* Plone. Also consider that your audience will increasingly be less technical newbies and decision makers, so more sessions that explain easy ways to implement and jazz up Plone sites will likely be eaten up. Additionally, I was frustrated at the amount of time that was spent in several sessions on exhaustively listing an organization's heirarchical structure, budget, and history with Plone. This information is interesting for one slide, and then gets boring. You may want to counsel your presenters to stay on their topic - which is almost invariably how to replicate whatever cool thing they've accomplished, not how to relive whatever history they've lived through.
Great job - not a lot to improve on, really.
Many of the speakers were lousy presenters...great Plone programmers/developers but poor presentation skills, especially to large groups. Poorly prepared/researched presentations ruin the overall value of the session and when several of these occur back-to-back it makes for a lousy day. Also I felt that each session needed an extra 5-10 minutes added on...they were all rushed to finish their presentation due to lack of time.
The pre-conference workshops were excellent. I would have taken both Andy and Joel's if it was possible! Perhaps doing morning & afternoon tracks for an additional day?
By far the best conference I have ever attended. Thank you so much to the organizers and volunteers. I will be back next year with others.
Only thing I wish I got more of was hardcore detailed technical data. But I know that is easier said than done.
There was a gap between content for the "new to Plone" crowd and the experts/developers crowd. Most of the "Integrators" sessions and "Developers" sessions were highly technical.
try putting up a big signup sheet at the registration desk for spontaneous bof formations.
I made a choice what sessions I plan to visit before the conference. And I think I was not alone. If organizers have prior estimation who will be where (at least fuzzy), they will have easier task for allocating the appropiately sized rooms (like you did for t-shirts). Another important thing is session speaker, session participants, and attendees. It would be good to keep a connection between them even while they've finished the session and left the conference. Either some tools can emerge (wiki page per session with discussion attached and attendees subscribed to a page), or existing ones reused (one Google Group per session).
Very nice job of putting the right sessions in the right rooms. Videotaping was a super idea, and I'm eager to use the online versions to catch up on the sessions I missed due to conflicts.
It was tough enough to decided between sessions each day, but I feel like the BOF vs. Lightening Talks was very difficult. Some of the BOF sessions could lead to long-term partnerships, but many fewer people attended them due to Lightening Talks.
it was positive that conference organisers were Plone users. The involvement of users in the organisation makes the program closer to users expectations. We should continue to involve and have talks related to field experience of NGO's, Elearning and Public organisation.
Make sure you have the proceedings (slides, notes) on-line before each talk. It is not more work than doing it afterwards, but does add to the work directly before/during the conference.
if possible, don't have multiple developer tutorials at the same time but mix them with talks, that developers can benefit as much as possible and also users or ppl new to plone can attend the different talks and case studies
I had a completely awesome time. It was wonderful. I hope to be able to get to the next sessions and contribute more to the community in the future.
Great job! I can't wait for the next one.
you have to check the speakers materials before accepting them
When you say a tutorial the class should be like one of Joel Burtons pre-conference training sessions. Time for hands on learning via ones own laptop. If there is not time for this activity don't call it a tutorial - call it a "talk" or a "demo". I took Joels training and expected the in conference tutorials to be the same - none of them were.
I think the balance of long and short talks, workshops, tutorials was about right this time.
The case studies were particularly interesting to newbies, but they were all on the first day, running against each other. Maybe spread them out?
Having all/most of the case studies one day meant that the Friday was very conflict-filled. I don't know how feasible it is, but perhaps there could be some kind of survey before the schedule is finalised that asks what things people would more likely attend to ensure the more popular options are not up against one another. I realise it is impossible to please everyone, though!
While I enjoyed the sessions I attended, not everything applied to me as a non-developer. I'd like to see a few more sessions that are less techie...but by no means do less of the developer sessions at all!
I think having a set of initiatives to volunteer (post conference) would be good. I would love to promote Plone as I learn more and more about it. I think a Plone Job Board would help too.
There were hard decisions to make each day about which of two simultaneous sessions to attend. I think the organizers did yeoman's effort in keeping these kinds of collisions to a minimum. Future conferences should aim for this level of planning. One might consider subdividing the four-tracked color coding of sessions by adding a level of difficulty estimate.
amazing closing plenary.
Just ditch the panel discussions. They are a waste of time. Escrow presentations beforehand. Make presenters practice ahead of time by submitting video tapes.
If near a major release date, say within one or two months, consider holding the release for the conference while doing more debug/features and then theme on track of the conference on Plone 3.X
In general, I'd like to see a little more agenda "editing." Fewer sessions overall ... just the best stuff. Some sessions could've been combined. More coordinated panel sessions, fewer one-person presentations. But I'm nitpicking here. Again: Great job!
More intermediate tutorial hands on sessions.
More hands on work. some learn much more by doing. If we had someone walking us through more of the complex stuff we could learn more and possibly contribute more to the community.
The topics were great. The speakers I attended were exceptional. The information was amazing.
more lightening talk sessions please
Have the agenda ready month in advance, so travel plans can be made accordingly. I would have flown out later if I'd known ahead of time what the Friday schedule was. I might have skipped Wednesday and stayed all day Friday to attend appropriate sessions.
Emulating Jon Stahl and the ONE/Northwest people are quite simply the most optimal things to do!
Most of the talks/sessions were very well put together, which highlighted those that were not.
i didn't like having to choose between birds of a feather and lighting talks. maybe spread lighting talks out before and after keynotes in the morning so everyone can be there. birds of a feather were very valuable to me for making connections. it was easier to hear each other when we had them at the rooms rather than going out to a noisy restaurant. the restaurant gatherings were great for getting to know people and getting a lot of different subjects going.
Agenda was great, a good mix between levels of expertise.
Tutorials weren't as good as they could be due to not having advanced notice of pre-reqs or anyway of coming up to speed (or setting up Plone) prior to the tutorial.
Two days of Sprints are not enough. 3-4 days are ideal when trying to integrate newbies (which is a primary goal of conference-associated sprints).
I really liked the multi-track approach to organizing the schedule and so forth. For the most part, I think it made sure that there was always something to go to. I did think that there were a few to many case studies, but on the other hand I can't think of any that I could point at and say "yes, that one could go and no one would complain." So perhaps its more a matter of spanning them out over the three days than having most of them on the first day....
I participated in one workshop, which was an excellent way to get involved in the community.
The 45 minute talks were hurried. Extending them 15 mins would be helpful
my brain was full by the time the BoF sessions came, maybe we could schedule a noon BoF?
For "New to Plone" track, make sure there is enough demos of Plone itself and how to work with it, instead of the history of Plone, etc. Thanks!
I would like to see case studies presented in front of a more complete audience, i.e. as part of a keynote. I think it is incredibly important for folks of all abilities to gain an appreciation for what Plone has accomplished and the marketing effort Plone needs, which is difficult to do when technical session tracks conflict with case study sessions. I enjoyed having open access to the Plone Foundation meeting. Eben's keynote was fantastic, that will be difficult to top!
pack it less tight, and
* Don't do 3 hour tutorials anymore. No-one's attention span is that great, not even with breaks. You should be able to cover whatever you want to say in 90 minutes time. * Do 30 minute talks instead of 45 minutes. I think PyCON and the PloneConf risk having long and boring talks with sessions *= 45 minutes. 30 minutes serves the attention span of the attendees better, and it's an incentive for speakers to make their presentation more interesting by only covering what they really want to get across. It's worked out great at EuroPython and the DZUG (German Zope User Group) conferences. * The keynotes worked out great, however, I like them better in the evening (as EuroPython does it). Starting the second day, not everyone makes it to the conference on time...
Provide the "whip-em-up" keynote at the beginning of the conference to set the mood.
I thought it was a great mix. My only remark would be that a 3-hour tutorial *has* to be great. I demands a very high degree of preparation and skill as a presenter to justify it's large footprint. Joel Burton is of course the model for making great use of time - people learned more in his 45 minute Humane CMS talk than in many of the longer ones. I encourage future organizers to guard the 3-hour slot very carefully.