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What is conference organization?

Conference organization guidelines

Some conference guidelines based on past experience organizing Drupal sprints/conferences.

- Decide on dates well in advance.This enables attendees to get cheaper tickets. You will not be able to pick a date that accommodates everyone. Also give some hints regarding cheap Hotels in the area and make sure that the directions are on drupal.org

- Plan for more attendees but make sure all expenses are covered with less.For example, for a conference we initially expected about 8 people to attend we booked a single meeting room. Two weeks before the conference, we had about 25 people attending and we ended up booking 3 meeting rooms.

- Internet.Make sure there is WIFI. Make sure you know the contract terms and the username/password in advance. One access point can cover up to 25 people. Also make sure that there is a DHCP server with DNS and an outbound connection that allows the following ports:

22 - SSH

80, 443 - HTTP and HTTPS

6667, 6679, 6697 - IRC (and secure IRC)

9418 - Git

143, 220, 993 - IMAP

25, 465, 587, 2525, 3535 - SMTP

- Arrange all food.At a minimum, have a restaurant to recommend for both lunch and dinner. Make sure the restaurant can accomodate the size of your group because nearly all people go with the recommendations. Don't expect people to go out on their own. If people go out for lunch, make sure to you have two-hour lunch breaks. We had one hour lunch breaks but never managed to be back in time.

- Sponsorship.Make sponsorship packages at fixed rates and with a well-defined return.

- Rates.Keep the conference and dinners cheap. When asked to choose between two restaurants, people favored cheap meals over expensive meals.

- Location.Make sure the venue can be reached easily by everyone and that restaurants/pubs are within walking distance. Avoid public transport.

- Communication.Have daily short large group times where working groups report on progress. Try to appoint one "secretary" for each group, if possible, to ensure that the many people following along on the internet get some feedback.

- Print some nice T-Shirts, have a design contest or hunt creative people to draw up a nice logo on IRC (#drupal). Printing T-shirts can take 2 weeks so plan this in advance. Around 50 percent will fit XL, 25 percent XXL and 25 percent L. Printing these shirts at a cafepress-a-like service, might be cheaper than printing local.

- Make sure there are enough power outletsand that there is enough power. Also send out a message to all people attending what power outlet (and hence what converter) to use.

- Setup a mailing list for the attendees and add a "I will attend XYZ" in the profile on drupal.org

- Setup a central place for taking notes during the conference.This might be a wiki or a page on drupal.org, drink own champagne preferred!

- Bring or hire a projector for the presentations and make sure that (external) presenters get a warm hand and maybe a T-shirt for their efforts

- Don’t ask a group generic questions if you want to get something decided, Ask them if they prefer A or B. If C comes along and is better, make sure to be able to switch to C.


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