FUDCon organization process

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This page is written for FUDCon organizers who have been accepted to run a FUDCon through the FUDCon bid process and documents things FUDCon organizers should think about when putting together an event. It covers the common style of FUDCon, which includes one or more days of group hackfest sessions as well as one or more days of BarCamp-style technical sessions.

Contents

Starting point: What you should already have

If you've been through the FUDCon bid process, you should already have the following:

  • Sufficient time - see the schedule below.
  • An local event owner/organizer (you!) with sufficient time and energy to devote to planning. You can expects to spend a maximum of approximately 8-15 hours a week on FUDCon tasks until 1 month prior to the event, when that number will jump to approximately 15-25 hours per week, including meetings
  • Dates for the FUDCon
  • A venue for the FUDCon event itself
  • A hotel location
  • A general budget-availability quote from one or more sources (usually this will be Red Hat's Community Architecture team), and a contact person for obtaining access to said budget. See the FUDCon budget template page for more information.

Communications

Important.png
Communication is essential.
Communication is central to planning a successful FUDCon. A good general motto is: "If it didn't get sent to the fudcon-planning list, it didn't happen."

Use the following communication channels:

FUDcon Team General Planning Schedule

Time
before event
Local team
Planning team
including local leader
Budget/resources team
FUDCon bid process begins
12 mo
Research With FPL or other accountable Fedora team members, decide milestone dates, post schedule, and open bids
Submits bid Submit bid Receives bids
Submission process ends
10.5 mo
Bids reviewed
Decision
10 mo
  • execute on FUDPub, hotel, location paperwork and sign deals.
  • Reserve specific space (rooms, etc.) at the location.
#FUDCon Planning FAD
10-9 mo
  • Investigate possibility of group airline discount.
  • Set up web presence (wiki) for event.
  • Schedule regular meetings.
  • Get all planners on fudcon-planning and start using that list.
  • Announce location to Fedora channels.
  • Ensure roles and responsibilities are clearly assigned for planning team.
  • Get Marketing started on the event.
  • Have a rough budget ("CommArch sets aside $X for this FUDCon") and a contact for that budget (Max).
  • Marketing team begins event marketing, very lightweight.
5 mo
  • Find lunch caterer.
  • Arrange transit-in-city if applicable (if special "conference transit passes" are offered, or a local shuttle will be provided for attendees).
  • Place food orders for lunch at FUDCon and for FUDPub.
  • Post local advertising, do local word of mouth.
  • Make list of local attractions and food for hotel handout later on.
  • Arrange for housing and feed of ponies.
  • Open registration.
  • Begin sponsorship process; set cutoff date for sponsorship that is more than 1 month in advance of the event.
  • Check in with Marketing about event marketing plan.
  • Place requests with Design team for shirt, sign, and badge designs.
  • Open hotel pairing signup (on the wiki or database system).
  • Open hackfests, usertrack, and sessions "CFP" discussion. Begin user track planning.
  • Find reliable pony breeder, select pony.
  • Pay sponsorships as they come up.
  • Pay FUDPub deposit, and other deposits as needed.
  • Design team makes shirt, sign, and badge designs.
  • Marketing does a push to local people/events.
  • Ensure budget for pony is sufficient to sustain pony for next fiscal year.
1 mo
  • Order shirts and swag after the people-who-get-swag cutoff number is reached (so you know sizes).
  • Contact Design team to turn map and list of restaurants and local attractions and event details into a nicely laid-out hotel handout.
  • First major review of registration list (the swag cutoff should have been hit by this point).
  • Look at the balance of attendees and make sure there aren't any gaping holes in terms of the types of people we want to attend.
  • Sponsorship should have been closed at least a week or two prior to the one-month mark.
  • Get all attendees on a fudcon-attendees mailing list and welcome them there.
  • Kickoff FUDCon Live planning.
  • Revise the wiki page event info so that walk-in registration is now marked as a clearer option and it's obvious that the swag cutoff has been reached.
  • Close user track planning (even if it's Barcamp-style, have slot times and enough detail to start advertising the user track to users).
  • Locally publicize the user track; contact the Marketing team for help.
  • Confirm hotel pairings are worked-out for sponsored attendees, and reminder-ping non-sponsored hotel attendees to check their own.
  • First detailed budget summary due to the planning mailing list at this point (ideally they will have started earlier, on a weekly basis).
  • Pay for food (lunch).
  • Design team generates nametag pdfs for registrants so far.
2 wk
  • Confirm transit-within-city availability and any special arrangements necessary.
  • Confirm food for FUDPub and FUDCon lunch, particularly that vegetarian/vegan options are sufficient.
  • Confirm hackfest sessions that are set so far.
  • Confirm transit-to-FUDCon is set for all sponsored attendees.
  • Get a barcamp leader (the person who stands up and explains Barcamp, drives the schedule creation on-site, etc.)
  • Get people to start discussion and refinement on sessions proposed to date.
  • Make materials and handouts needed for the user track.
  • Handle last minute hotel arrangements as needed.
  • Begin sending regular event updates to the attendees list if you haven't already. Ping sponsors and pre-emptively thank them.
  • Continue budget summaries.
  • Confirm the arrival of food, swag, location, etc.
1 wk
  • Answer questions about location on attendees list as needed.
  • Buffer sleep.
  • Last minute hotel arrangements continued.
  • Updates to attendees mailing list continued.
  • Buffer any last-minute conversation on the attendees list as needed.
  • Make sure we have swag and badge holders arriving at the event.
  • Design generates remaining nametags so far so we have files to print for nametags for all attendees registered at this point; they should also have the hotel handout done by this point.
2 days
  • Print badges, signs, and the hotel handout.
  • Give hotel handout to hotel.
  • Sleep a lot, and be contactable only by the (remote) remainder of the event team whenever possible to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
  • Continue to buffer last-minute requests on the attendees list and try to make sure local planners don't get overloaded.
  • Start being (literally) on-call - begin to have someone contactable by phone and someone contactable by IRC at all times, in shifts.
  • Make sure stuff is delivered and paid-for.
1 day
  • Post signs, setup wifi and power.
  • Sleep.
  • Arrive at the location city (if remote).
  • Start FUDCon Live (e.g., turn on IRC logging, announce streaming channels, etc); migrate on-callness to FUDCon live.
  • Test hotel handout (if coming from out of town).
  • Make sure stuff is delivered and paid-for.
Morning-of
  • Show non-local planners to location early.
  • Try to rest.
  • Make barcamp grid.
  • Ensure FUDCon Live is still up and running and ready for the load.
  • Be on-call for the day.
  • Open feedback surveys as needed.
  • Make sure stuff is delivered and paid for.
Right afterwards
  • Local thank-yous.
  • Make sure location is cleaned up.
  • Post-mortem meeting.
  • Wrap-up documentation (FUDCon Live).
  • Publicize FUDCon live doc results.
  • Thank everyone.
  • Open/publicize feedback surveys as needed.
  • Revise planning docs for the next round.
  • File receipts and close the books.

FUDCon Planning FAD

Once a venue, date, and planning team have been chosen, a FUDCon Planning FAD is held to give that team a chance to lay as much groundwork for the FUDCon ahead of time as possible.

Venue Setup

Welcome/Information Table

Needed:

  • Space to lay out (in at least one line, if not two or more):
    • Badges
    • Information kits (maps, wireless network information, lunch details, etc) you are handing out
    • Any swag you are making available
    • Shirts, at least one pile per size+style
  • Power strips for laptops
  • Wired access (temporary switches, etc) for backup to wireless access

Session Rooms

Barcamp

  • Video projector with VGA (15-pin sub-d input)
  • Whiteboard with pens or chalkboard with chalk
    • Optional but recommended: wired network access for presenter, in case wireless is swamped
  • Board erasers
  • Seating - various size rooms are fine, from 20 to 120
  • Wi-Fi access
  • Podium sign - place on podium/console or wall behind speaker so that pictures that end up on blogs/Flickr, blogs, etc as well as videos show the event name and year. 11x17" filled with the event logo is appropriate.

Hackfest

  • Small tables with 6-10 seats (round works well), small number of
  • Good network access -- consider wired as a backup/compliment to wireless
  • Whiteboards or easel pads

Hotel

  • Map/information at front desk
  • Hack room with network access and sign

Signage

Need:

  • Outdoor signs advertising the event (so attendees know they're in the right spot)
  • Signs to venue from parking and from transit
  • Signs at venue to direct people from the entrances most likely to be used to the information/registration table
  • Signs identifying room ranges and directions (Room A-E <- / Room F-H 5-8 ^ )
  • Room signs to identify room (consider ignoring the existing room numbers and assigning new ones, using a numbering/lettering scheme that can't be confused with the existing one -- for eexample, Room A, B, C ... H, vs. T1106, T1109, T1113, ... T2176)
  • Room signs for non-session locations (lounge, registration/information, lunch, To FUDpub)
  • Session schedules - blank grid that can be filled in with the session schedule for the room once the barcamp session is finalized, and then attached to each session room door)
  • Signs advertising events (FUDpub, side trips)

Badges

Include on the padge:

  1. The event logo
  2. Attendee name (in a large font size)
  3. Comment filled in by user (e.g., IRC nick, area of involvement, company, hiring _____)
  4. T-shirt size (use small font size, light coloured, or print on back to avoid embarassing anyone)
  5. Swag/non-swag status (e.g., eligible for lunch) - can be indicated by different-colour backgrounds
  6. Include any other personal-tied information on back, such as an individual wireless password

The gLabels package is a good tool for designing badges and merging in text from a CSV file. It can also shrink the font size to fit the space available for a field.

Handout

It is useful to provide a handout to attendees, including

  1. a map showing the route between the hotel and the venue
  2. a map showing the way around the venue
  3. recommendations for local restaurants
  4. local transit information
  5. any other information that would be useful for the attendees

These handouts should be available at the hotel and at the Information/Registration desk at the venue.

Design (for badges, signs, handouts, and so forth)

The design team is very helpful in designing preparing materials. However, there will undoubtedly be situations where the local team will need to produce materials on their own.

When designing for FUDcon, consistently:

  1. Use the Fedora and FUDcon event logos according to the Logo Usage Guidelines
  2. Use the MgOpen Modata font (from the mgopen-modata-fonts package). These fonts will work in Inkscape, OpenOffice.org, Gimp, and most other applications.

Meetings

  • Frequency:
    • More than 6 months in advance: monthly
    • 6-2 months in advance: bi-weekly
    • 1 months-2 weeks in advance: weekly
    • Last 2 weeks: daily
  • Use #fudcon-planning or telephone conference as appropriate.

Registration

FUDCon registration is done on-line. In the past, a wiki page was used, but we're encountering limitations in this approach -- specifically, it is hard to collect personal data (such as e-mail address, shirt size/style, and phone number) which the attendees may not wish to reveal to the world (including spam spiders). The wiki table has also grown to a width that is almost unmanageable.

The replacement should be a database system. One possibility may be the ConMan software, created for UTOSC by User:Herlo.

Lunch

Lunch is typically provided for attendees who meet the swag cutoff during the barcamp days. This is typically a bag- or box-lunch, but could be a buffet.

Lunch has not historically been provided for the hackfest days, but could be considered -- the loss of concentration and energy caused by organizing a delivered lunch (e.g., pizza) or going out for lunch reduces the efficiency of the hackfest.

Shirts

T-shirts are typically provided to attendees, based on the size (and, ideally, style - male/unisex or female) selected in the registration system.

Swag

Fedora swag (give-aways) are typically provided for all attendees, including Fedora stickers, pressed discs, case badges, or buttons.

Swag cutoff

In order to promote early registraion, provide a "thank-you" to attendees, and to keep costs predictable, the first X attendees to register are usually the only ones to:

  1. get a t-shirt
  2. receive lunch
  3. be invited to the FUDPub

The value of X has varied, but has typically been around 130 people for FUDCon NA.

The swag cutoff is reached when the number of attendees that will receive swag have registered online.

Post-mortem

The "post-mortem" meetings provide an opportunity to reflect on what worked well and should be kept for future events, and what could be improved (and how) in future FUDCons. It's a good idea to do this in two phases:

  1. Collect the observations of the FUDCon team immediately after the event, either in e-mail or (preferrably) by having an unwind-meeting after the event.
  2. Hold a post-mortem meeting after a bit of time has passed and the team has had an opportunity to reflect on the event, rest up, and hear feedback from the community -- perhaps a week after the event ends.

On-call

Immediately before and during the event, someone should be available 24 hours a day (or at least during local daytime and evening hours) via phone and/or IRC. Local team members should be assigned to cover the on-call role in shifts.

Current resources