Introducing Conference Policies and Guidelines project

Hello everyone!

Continuing with the presentation of the various projects working in the Conferences Sphere, it’s with great delight that I introduce you to the Conference Policies and Guidelines project.

Back in time when the sphere was created, conferences were already taking place and had done so for years in various forms and shapes around the world but not much knowledge was gathered about how these were organized, which were the best practices and procedures to follow and seemed like everytime a conference was taking place, the wheel was re-invented.

Therefore, one of the highest priorities for us during the first years of work was to recollect this knowledge, see what the best practices around the world where, compile and share. Naturally, this process was not easy nor short. Getting in contact with over 20 conference organizers, gathering their thoughts, putting it all together, organizing that data into something useful, repeat, refine, repeat, refine, etc.

This process lead by Matteo Callegari and currently continued under the leadership of Johanna Virtanen has managed to produce some well defined process and tools, all of which you can see in the project page.

You’ll find three different documents there, all ready for use or organizers worldwide.

First is the Conference Policies and Guidelines document. In here you’ll find a comprehensive guidelines of all processes and steps needed to ensure organization of your conference runs as smooth as possible and that you have tackled every subject at it’s right time. A must read for first-time organizers and a good source of consultation and review for those with more experience.

Secondly, we have the Conference planning spreadsheet. Organizing a conference takes many steps that need to be planed and must take action at particular times and in most cases, organization is not done by one single person but rather between RC, one or two organizers, sometimes a local liaison and even TOs sometimes happen to take care of some of it! As such, it’s easy to lose track not only of what needs to be done but also when and who. Thanks to this spreadsheet all information is kept in a single place so all involved parties can keep track of things!

the last document I would like to introduce you all to is the Sample Feedback Form. As our effort to get organization out of the middle as the big problem, quality of conference itself, both in terms of organization and presenters became our next big milestone. And while this problem can be attacked from different perspectives (SPOILER), the necessity to know how we are performing in order to continue improving was imperious. With that in mind we crafted this form which can be handed out to attendants with the hopes of making each conference not only an education tool for the community but also a progressive improvement on for conferences in general.

To finish off, I want to thank everyone (and apologies to anyone who we’re missing on this list) who’s worked on this so far and continue to do so:

Members (as of August ’14):
Johanna Virtanen, Matteo Callegari, Ivan Petkovic, George Gavrilita, Jared Sylva, Gianluca Bonacchi, Billy San Juan, Patrick Cool, John Temple, Anniek Van der Peijl, Jorge Avendaño, Francois Grossi, Dennis Xiao.

Former members:
Sergio Perez, Charlotte Sable, Rodrigo Gimenez, Patrick Ericsson, Michael King.